Monday, March 31, 2014

The Bohemian Diet:
Joe Kuan's Laki Mangkok

      A recent visit to Las Piñas City gave me the chance to savor a favorite noodle soup that I used to order when I was working in the area. Joe Kuan has been around for decades. I remember their contemporaries like Kowloon house, and also Chow King that grew into a fast food chain.

     Joe Kwan, however, continued serving their good food in kiosks and food court stalls in some malls around the Metro. The one I visited is their old kiosk at the corner of CV Starr Avenue. and Alabang-Zapote Road. I ordered their Laki Mangkok which is a noodle soup that has "everything" on it. So in this big bowl you get noodles, wanton, chunks of beef, strips of chicken meat, slices of hard broiled egg, and also pork asado which sauce adds a special taste to the broth. An order of this delicious and filling noodle soup is only Php 110. Very Bohemian!

      Most of you would probably think of big restaurants like North Park or  Luk Yuen for noodle soup. I really suggest that you try Joe Kuan's Laki Mangkok if there's a branch near you. You'll really be surprised by what a small kiosk can offer you.  ^_^

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Experimental Art: Paintings Made
Using Old Screen-printing Inks

      I got some old screen printing inks, a couple of stretched canvas panels, and, blank walls in my room. What would you expect an artist to do? 



     These inks have a shelf life of only 2 years. Beyond that, you can't be sure of its washing fastness. Rubberized inks are thick in consistency. I've observed that the dry ink smudges on my work table didn't flatten down - like thick oil paints or acrylic mixed with modeling paste. Only they don't dry hard but rubbery, of course. I thought, why not use it for a painting? So what if they're expired? You don't put a painting in the washing machine anyway. 


      I happen to have two 20" x 20" stretched canvas prints here that are rejects. I kept the wood and stretched new canvas sheets on them. I didn't prime the canvas because rubberized screen-print inks will need a porous and absorbent surface to adhere to (they peel off from smooth surfaces). I used a 4" squeegee and only a straight downward direction in applying the ink.

So this is what I made yesterday, which just took the entire afternoon:

Colorscape 1

Colorscape 2

      What do you think? They are already hanging on my wall and I decided to keep it unsealed for some time to observe the medium's integrity. Actually, while writing this post I also researched about the basic formula of water-based rubberized silkscreen inks. If I'm not mistaken, these inks are a kind of acrylic paint that is mixed with other compounds to make it suitable for silkscreen printing.

       So I can say that these two artworks are acrylic paintings hehe. Well I'm certainly glad to know that the inks I can no longer use on shirts can still be used in another, even more artful way. Good think I kept all of them! I should make more experiments like these. ^_^

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Feelin' Fine at Thirty-nine

       I've  just turned 39 last Thursday and I wasn't able to write a birthday post sooner. Well as you may have guessed, I've been busy with my creative undertakings and some errands, like the registration of my old motorcycle and the renewal of my driver's license. 

        I was also  busy feeling blessed and loved for the past week. At the family dinner celebration my sister-in-law brought this reggae inspired chocolate flavored cake. She baked it herself and it was really good!  Topher is my nickname at home, by the way. 

        I also received some cash presents from my folks and that gave me the chance to buy some of my little wants,  like the throw blanket with a North-American Indian pattern that I was eyeing for my bed. Maybe I'll do the rest of the retail therapy next week hehe.

       All the greetings on my Facebook wall was just heart-warming so I did my best to reply to each one. It's nice to know you got friends who, despite their busy scheds, would take a few seconds of their time to type "happy birthday" for you. Even an "HBD" is very much appreciated hehe.

      It feels like the universe is also doing it's share in making my special day a happy one. I'm inclined to believe that God also gives me a present at this time of the year. Usually days before or after my birthday there's always good news.  Some problems got fixed, and just recently some opportunities came my way. I'll tell you guys about it soon. ^_^

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Reviving an Old Aquarium

I bought this fish tank in the early 2000's and maintained it only for 2 years. Because it gets really hot in my former room during summer, the water becomes warm  and it kills the fish. I used to keep small goldfish in it. My favorite kind is the black moor.

Well the temperature in my new room is better and I decided to bring in this tank as part of the make-over. This vertical type tank has a built-in lighting receptacle and I placed it at arm's reach from my bed so it will also serve as a side table lamp. I already put water and I'm glad that the electric under-water filter and aerator still works fine.

There's no fish yet. I'm still deciding of what breed to put that is ideal for a 6-gallon vertical tank. I don't think I'll  go as far as Cartimar for aquarium fish even if the choices there are a river wide but I'll check the big Bioresearch branch in Parañaque City. ^_^

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What Highly Creative People
Do Differently

One of my creative friends, who's also into graphic arts, shared on Facebook this article that listed down 18 things that highly creative people do differently. Well considering myself as one, I got curious and checked if I actually do every single item on the list. Eighteen is quite a lot. But some items could be a subject under another item. Like "people-watch" under "observe everything"; and "daydream" under "get out of their own heads". 

Anyway, I can say that I did everything that's on the list. Only some I do too much for my own good. LOL! Seeking out new experiences is something I wish I do often. 

What about you? Click on the list above to read more about each item. ^_^

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Historic Church
in San Juan City

     It's rare that I visit the City of San Juan and on our way to Chef Guevarra's restaurant last Thursday we saw this church. With its adobe walls and imposing buttresses at the facade, we just couldn't help to check it out. 

       I really didn't know that the city keeps such an architectural treasure. This church was built in 1774. The original church was built in 1604, burned during the Chinese uprising in 1639, rebuilt in 1641 then was set on fire again in 1763 during the British occupation of Manila. Cool huh?

       It's the Lenten season already. You guys might want to include this in your Visita Iglesia this year.

Friday, March 7, 2014

American Colonial Style Dining
at Chef Laudico Guevarra's

     Sometimes the bohemian would just like to reward himself for his frugality, that he has maintained for many months, and would like to enjoy an occational pig-out in the company of good friends. This is what I did yesterday in a despedida dinner for our friend Cholo who will be back on-board a cruise ship. That's him right in front.

     So our jolly group decided to head for the City of San Juan, to Chef Laudico Guevarra's located at 387 Guevarra Street. There we found this charming 1920's house-turned-restaurant that had just celebrated their 1st year this month. (Click on the photos for a closer look.)

     The ceilings are high, the floors are of wooden planks, and  the wood partitions have moldings and panels that are typical of American colonial homes in this part of the Metro. Because it was a house, rooms are made into separate dining areas that's perfect for private meetings and other functions.

      If you come a bit early before dining hours, you get to appreciate better all the artworks that adorn every room. The paintings that I saw are of Khristina Manansala. I'm not certain if it's a permanent feature of the restaurant but it might as well be because the still-life paintings of food is just perfect for the place.

     If you're eyes are pleased by what you see in Guevarra's, you're taste buds will certainly be pleased as well. With a remarkably wide variety of dishes, you will be caught in an indecision on which of your favorites you will skip because your stomach could only take so much. I skipped the pasta and other carb-loaded faves.

     I really like kare-kare and dinuguan. After trying their's, ahhh, I now know what I shouldn't miss on my next visit. Their maja blaca dessert is just awesome! Soft and creamy!

      Take note of their buffet schedules and rates at their Facebook page as the buffet is not available at times on particular days of the week. The rates are relatively the same as other known restaurants you'll find in malls but the historic feel of their ambiance, combined with their great-tasting food and good service, is certainly their edge above others.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Monsignor Painting Project

     One of the portraits I enjoyed making  is this one of a cardinal. Well he's not really a cardinal. Kelvin is just wearing a costume here. When he visited the Philippines last year with my client, they went to Batangas and availed the heritage tour at Villa Tortuga in Taal, that includes a photography session where you get to wear Spanish colonial costumes. Instead of a gentleman's barong or a Franciscan friar's robe, or a Spanish general's uniform,  he wore a cardinal's black garment that pretty much suits him. 

      The artwork was printed on a 25" x 30" sized canvas. The print was sent to Qatar and was nicely framed there. Thanks again Kokoy!

     Hover the mouse cursor on the image to see the original photo. Click for a closer look of the artwork.

      The reason why I enjoyed making this portrait is because I always have a fascination for 19th Century and older portraiture. One of my dreams, actually, is to create a studio that specializes in making antique style digital portrait paintings. And for that I will need a lot of  olden time European and Asian costumes!

      Well for the meantime, I could only wish for more portrait projects of this style. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Duplicating an Existing
Portrait Painting

      One of the digital painting projects of last month is of this couple which is copy of a real oil painting from the 70's. I can tell by the man's collar hehe. A watermark at the lower right of painting says Mermaid Art, Manila. Probably a portraiture company of the time. 

      Anyway, my client wanted a smaller copy of the original painting  (of her in-laws). So she took a picture of the portrait with her smart phone and sent it to me. (Hover your mouse cursor on the image above to see the original painting.)

      Though the source image is already a painting I still added brushstrokes and canvas texture, and enhanced the color as well. Oh and I also gave the mister more hair and made him smile a bit hehe. Thanks to today's imaging technology, old portraits, be it a photo or painting, can be duplicated, re-sized  with a chance for improvement.

       So is there a portrait you want copied and enhanced? Contact me! ^_^

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Three Years of Bohemianism

     This same day 3 years ago I created this blog. It was also the day I started my journey to becoming self-employed. It also marks the beginning of my bohemian life. You'll know that you're bohemian when your unconventionality has led you to follow your creative passion and embrace the consequences for doing so, and that usually includes the sacrificing of your financial well-being. And at hard times like these, bohemianism certainly isn't for everybody.

      Of course every bohemian hopes that their long standing sacrifice will pay off in the future. We've quit our nine-to-five jobs, spent our money, time and energy in becoming an expert in what we love to do - the craft that will generate the money to sustain itself and the artist behind it as well.

     So, how's everything after 3 years on this quest? Well let's start with this blog. It already has 447 posts including this one. There are yet so many things I'd like to feature and talk about here, other than my own works. But I cannot be a full-time blogger as my time is divided among many other endeavors.

 Silkscreen stencils and fabric inks accumulated in 3 years.

    Buhay Bohemio Shirts has more than 20 designs available and new designs are waiting to be released. I probably have printed more than 400 shirts (retail and customized bulk orders) since 2011. So I can say that I am quite an experienced serigraph artist, specializing on water-based textile inks. 

     I've been meaning to expand my screen-printed products.  Like tank tops, tote bags, scarves, wall art, and a lot more. But I feel that I must first open my new online store before I start making new products. Since the demise of Multiply I only have Facebook  to showcase my stuff. You really can't do a category search in a Facebook album plus a lot of other limitations. So I really need a website that is specially made for e-commerce. Well anyway I'm currently working on the new online store and I hope to launch it with new shirt designs this month.

     I also need to build a new website for my digital portrait painting services. This other business of mine is still under-developed after 3 years. No problem with art style techniques - that's just a fraction of the process. The printing, canvas stretching, and framing are all outsourced and the business is dependent on these suppliers. You  know, their limits become your limits as well. But I am still hopeful that I find a solution to this and eventually become a leader in this potentially lucrative medium.

     There is yet so much to do! And I must really work hard if I want to realize my goals. But of course I shouldn't let the pursuit of my dreams suck the life out of me. Bohemianism has taught me how to enjoy life to the fullest even with half-filled pockets. The freedom and limitations in being a boho shaped a better me, I must say. I saw that life is tough and also saw that there is a lot to be thankful for.

     By the way, I'd like to take this chance to thank YOU - my readers, customers and clients for the support that you have given me in the past 3 years. I hope that you guys continue to be a source of inspiration and encouragement for me in the coming years! ^_^