The Journey


17 January 2014 @ 06:18 hours

This is the most important moment for her.  A time to reflect of the present and of the past.


She had laid off painting for almost 1.5 years now. These days thoughts are mainly preoccupied with so many interesting events happening on a daily basis, mostly groovy encounters with day-to day work.  Experiences that made her laugh.  She is happy again despite all the distractions.  The same stuff mainly, by choice.  CL always made her very happy.  They enjoy certain kind of food and exhibits appreciation.  The last visit to Raffles hotel reminded her of PP’s wedding 3 or perhaps 4 years ago.  She could only remember the excitements in all the aunties faces and giggles when they were trying out the outfits she had brought back for them.  This time round passing though the East India room, beautifully decorated in preparation for “Agnes Oo’s Birthday celebration.

The instinct to hold a palette knife or having that visual spark, is not there…now….

Most of the “nicest’ artworks were produced in KK’s room.  After KK died, nobody was comfortable to use that room for the longest time.  A few months after KK left, she had removed everything in that room so that no one would remember it was occupied by someone who had once lived.  People fear death.  Any object used or occupied by someone who passed on seemed scary to them.

She had converted the room into a simple art studio. Minimal fixtures from Ikea and her easels, bought second hand from Yoshi when she was alive and giving up her art studio at Cluny just above the cold storage.  It has been taken over by some expat conducting some art classes to some ped kids.

In KK’s room, she started experimenting with fluid medium and acrylic.  The colours were incredibly brilliant.  KK had blessed her with creativity she had never imagined, she would even have.  KK was a very quiet and patient person.  Once she had a visitor, Mr. Moriwake and KK surprised everyone by communicating in Japanese.   Both of them were happy and sociable, the usual bit, KK would offer the pack of triple 5 to any visitor that smoke.  That was a courteous gesture coming from anyone who lived at his timeline.




Mr Moriwake is the son of the 84 year old lady she had taken care everyday except on Sundays for almost 8 months.  Okasan had a hip replaced after a fall.  She had declined taking that assignment at first after what popo had told her of events during the Japanese occupation.  It turned out to be a fabulous experience apart from enjoying the humongous pool that she used after work at their Flametree park condo.  Sometimes Okasan would be cranky and depressed and she was very challenge to care for.  She had a dog name Rico cha.  He is cute Pomenarian with a small appetite.  Okasan odored him totally and cooked him chicken in soya sauce and sugar.  When it was time to feed.  She would drain the dark sauce away and fed Rico with just the small chunks of meat.  Once Okasan took a taxi and ended up lost somewhere far in town.  She only spoke Japanese and the poor taxi driver had a hard time figuring where this amazing old lady wanted to go.  When the meter started clicking way above the normal cost of going to furthest location in Singapore.  Okasan was told to exit.  Somehow she ended in  Japanese department store and had the store manager send her home.



Okasan’s routine was exemplary.  Every morning she would rise early.  Her skin though wrinkled, was flawless. She would use her skin care diligently and powdered her face white.  Sometimes she got confused and used hair cream on her face instead of the bottle of moisturizer.



After applying her bright rouge lippy, she would smiled and gave her nod of approval.  Next, her lovely short black wig over the hair net; that made her look 15 years younger as opposed to the thinning scalp with her little strands of long hair twirled into a boring old lady’s bun.  After she had changed, she would put on her dignified pair of glasses with that dingy gold straps to hold them together at the edges, she would go  downstairs with her walking stick for a garden walk.

That was a long time ago.  Years later she received a greeting card from the Moriwake that the family had moved to Taiwan as with his job requirement.  Are they still alive?  Perhaps not.




Wings of life, The Journey,  Ocean, Liberation, Braveheart, Vanished were the few artworks she produced at KK’s room.  Those were bright yet muted vibrancy.  3 months after KK died, she received a call from dad at 8 o’clock that morning…..mum had died in her sleep………………….


She was totally void of grief, her relatives thought she was cold, brave, insanely detached. I suppose they have not seen her weeping in her sleep.



Moving on, her works with colours got bolder, more vibrant, move movements….she had used splashes of crimson, representing deep expression of love.  Rouge representing the state of living.



The people she loved had left.  When a person is lifeless, the body is cold, the skin is pale when blood had stopped circulating.


How does she express the state of being alive, or the feeling of joy being with someone she loves?

The rouge was present in almost each of the following series.




Passion, Outpouring, Joy, Cloud of Jewels, The Creation, The Gift, Gravitation…were among the rouge series.


So now …..she doesn’t know where to start again. She went to bed early.  Last night, she wore her red silk slip with black lace trimmings.  Once she got under the covers, she would need two layers of blanket to keep her comfortable and secure.  For the past few nights, she woke up a few times…perhaps the project was at the back of her mind and this time alone to reflect was what she needed most.  She had no time to think in the day.  Work and taken up almost all her waking hours and by the time she could have time to herself.  Her body was too tired to continue.

She got up in the middle of the night drinking Florida orange juice and started this entry… Now she is sleepy and had to be at work in 2 hours.



















It has been a while indeed.

So she will need to sort out her life before moving on to painting again.  Unless she starts to list each of them down.  She would stand a chance of breaking down and return to her cave in isolation.

Life has been extremely exciting since 2012/2013


Did her solo debut-huge success

Got her own warehouse to be used as an art studio

Planned and executed wedding celebration for N & J

Planned and executed English New Year 2013 for extended family of 30

Birth of B Hor’s son

Birth of Pat’s daughter

Planned and executed Chinese New Year for 50 friends and family

Death of popo as she turned 90 that year

Mum’s 3rd anniversary

Death of RP’s mum.  She did not even know until after the burial, so I would need to make a trip up north when time is right

Some crisis to sort out from DL family

English New Year with dad and B’s family

Helped a friend $$

Helped brother $$

Started a full-time job and painting activity had gone hiatus

Meeting amazing CL, a great friend anybody would dream to have

So she started her 2014, accepting a request from KT to do a probono production of artwork to be auctioned for charity.

Wedding plans for D and to travel with D to location de marriage.

Travel to BL in April.  Not too sure about that yet.  for now she is cash broke after the forced investment as advised. Plus the loan she had given out to others with no hope of return.  Hahahahaha.

For the last 2 weeks she had a happy time shopping for CL’s Ah ma and Mum.

The studio is now tidy, thanks to aunty for her amazing housekeeping skill.  She have yet to produce anything good at the studio.  Absolutely zero inspiration.  It has got to feel right, like in the mood for painting.

So she met another contact and BC was weeping as the mother is broke from financing sister’s family. Offering a listening ear is as good as being there, entering someone’s life, experiencing the same grief and trouble as others.

Met MN two occasions and was totally inspired to take up the challenge to paint again.  MN is an ole English gentleman. He would not allow her to open the cab door for him or walk after him.  A woman next to him is a dignified person.  These were his words

“what have you to lose?”

“never try, never know”

“in life there is only solutions”

“sketch your idea on a piece of paper”

“Silver represents 25th year”  But Silver is not a colour, it is a highlight often used for decorative art!!

“The neck of the swan, represents number 2, create symbolism in abstraction,  how about No 5?”

“No colours must harmonize, not chaotic”

While we were brain storming the theme, he MN suddenly suggest to me that I should watch this amazingly hilarious French comedy. hahahahahahahahahaha.  MN was very kind to stick to the schedule as I had mentioned that little ones need to be in bed by 9.  He looked at his watch and apologized profusely for taking the extra 30 minutes without realising it.

Boys turned 10 and 2. yes just ate the flea that fed on his blood.

White Linen

Finally I had the time to think through and plan my next visual.

The shop assistant commented my absence for the last 6 months and decided to give me a lesser discount until I persuaded her otherwise.  It was not too bad with the total bill of $545.00 for several bottles of strong hues I had in mind to work with.

The shop assistant sheepishly showed me a new range the shop will be bringing in.  She is probably testing the market. It is a swiss brand with the name Lascaux.  The pigment dries very quickly without fading.  It is very vibrant until I was told the price. $499 for a 450 mls bottle.  That was something new!

Honestly this is probably the priciest carvier of all pigments I have ever heard of. I would have bought it if I have tons of cash. The pigments are just so incredibly captivating and came with an expiry date with very low toxicity level. Amazing!

It is exhilarating to finally acquire a rolled canvas made of linen.   It has never dawn upon me that this would be far more portable than all the rest of the readily mounted and stretched pieces I have been painting on for the last 4.5 years.  I have decided large scale painting to be done on open space and on the floor; leaving smaller pieces of mounted canvas on the easel to work on.

Working on the floor is going to be back breaking; if i work on them 7-8 hours without stopping.  I would suffer an awful  body ache for the next few days. Yoshi had told me to avoid working on the floor.  Squatting, bending, kneeling, stretching and working on the floor will cause chronic pain unless one knows when to stop.  It has been a year past since she died of cancer. Her studio was momentarily taken over by expat art tutors.

Good artist paints, a good art-teacher teaches and perhaps paint. So between the two.  The former is the most privileged and loneliest.

I bought this flute music during my recent travel.  The raw beauty of the rice field and the large orange sunset; a calming sight I had wished to savor for the longest time in my memory . There are no rushing, no targets and no excessive worries written all over the people faces.  The visit to the art village was an extremely long ride.  It is all about trusting a chartered vehicle for $10/h to take a lone tourist to the sites.  The mountain and the lake next to it was another experience i had wished for more days to set my foot to scale 1475 feet to the peak, a relatively low mountain but revered spiritually by the inhabitant.  The conference seemed to be stressed free with plenty of pockets time for some planned sight seeing.

Mi told me my hair had grown longer, I guessed she had meant my visage is sunken from the last 2 days of excessive cough I had contracted during the trip.  I started bursting out in cold sweat and acute weakness upon taking the medication I found in the drawer.  I think it could be just a reaction to the antibiotics.  Removing the fan and air condition would  aggravate the cough and runny nose much less.  I am  unsure it is a good idea to continue self medicating with what is available but I could barely lift my legs to walk earlier so it is great to be able to bounce back so quickly with just some rest.

Coming back to the new canvas, I rested  on the canvas next to the floor to measure the width.  It is about my height. The length would probably reach 1.8 metres.  I could not remember how tall HM is, perhaps about there.  I think it is going to be the craziest attempt for  this time.  First, I need a very large floor space to work on.  Perhaps removing all the furniture could pave way for that purpose.  I guess the family will have to forgo the living room for the next few months.

I will need to use very good pigments and much less to enable rolling at the end of the artwork.  With that anyone could acquire a piece without the need to worry about the immediate logistics and wall space.

I had the opportunity to meet a local artist but the work has very little identity to the country she is residing and ‘still-art’ is far more static and stoic for my preference.  So I will stick to abstract for the movement and colours represent deep emotional experience in preparation for the journey.

For now I will need to rest more until the cough subside and my body to conserve as much energy to go about my day.


It has been a while, I took weeks off to exercise and walking or running between 3-8 km each day.  My feet has been in a pathetic state chronic blistering.

Day 3, into a full vegan diet.  It has been great and my energy level was better than before with the running. Met JK while having breakfast on Sunday. I was asked if I would be interested to be recommended to an agent who would certainly make a slaughter out of marketing me. I thought that was an absolutely hilarious comment.  Chugging along with a bad knee and a “Leki” walking aid, concealed as tendon tapper, JK suggested that I take a look at a concept store and see if I would be interested to place my art pieces there.  I am unsure if that concept compliments that of my fiery bold contemporary abstracts?? je ne sais pas.

I am going to dive out of the dark side of the moon and start kicking off by taking my own art directions.  I had been doing much other than getting some earlier works framed to protect the wood from further warping.  I have not been focusing much on painting other than exercising and vegan diet and working on earlier work I started in 2010.

I have not met anyone yet  ever genuinely helpful who did not expect anything in return!  Human are generally control freaked.  Once they start helping you, they make you feel indebted to them and tells you what to, where to go and where not to including cutting off your own relatives! So, I am back on my own now and only myself to answer to.


The impasto and Titanum White layering is drying up really nice.  The rough edges and terrain is a characteristic  in its own right.  I will probably be able to attempt my first layer of brush work tomorrow.

The stomach inflammation has not settled in yet despite rest.  It must be a bad case of food poisoning. I probably need to rest a little more and allow it to settle by itself

Face-to-face encounter with nature

I did well with no FB distraction.  The first layer of impasto and grains were applied quite effortlessly with no defined predetermined contours. It will take another 2 days for it to be completely dry, meanwhile, I could start painting on my metal canvas later. Once the canvas is primed, painting over the impasto would be a spontaneous flow of surprises with controlled brush movements and calculated blending of mixed hues in warm shades.  I got a few nature inspired music CDs.  This should keep me occupied for quite a while.

Milenko had suggested that I write to his student  MK if I wish to go further into exploring my technical skills. I shall drop him a line once I am more settled with my running routine and training for the competition in 2 weeks time. I have seen M’s work at Ode de Art online catalogue.  It is nice with a call for controlled lines and curves with special colours and effects.  Works an interior designer will recommend as opposed to self induced vertigo works I would produce.

Asymmetry vs Symmetry

Free flow vs Defined

Vibrant vs Muted hues

Abstract vs Realism

Unpredictible vs Predictible

Looks like I am completely at the opposite pole.


It is not easy staying focused and do what is needed to get the artwork composed.  For once, I hated social network that kept me out of line with anything but  intellectually enlarged activities.  Martin once told he never spend time on such activities rather, a good book or any reading material is always a wiser choice.

The smooth surface of the metal is just not my style.  Tomorrow, I will have them all covered with impasto.  The weight of the metal is way above my physical ability to manuever on my own.

So I have just eaten  “Kettle”-Dijon Mustard chips.  I last ate in  a year and those oily crisp aunty fried.  You could just watch those stuff enlarge while socking in the oil.I had ice cream as well.  All those stuff within a span of 10 minutes. Blame them on the hormones!

M.Y cooked today.  She is a creative cook.  The whole pot of stew was completely devoured by everyone includung her friends. Mushroom, spare ribs in dark sauce, herbs and something else I guess.  Tomorrow I am going to cook for her and her guests for a change. Not easy to please a discerning food taster though.

Timothy was running after a black snake this evening when I took him for a walk. It slitered into the drain and disappeared as quickly as it appeared.  Shaun was a lot more calmer but I could not walk another 2.5 km after the first round with Timothy. The sunset was glorious.  The clouds were streaks of bright orange against the pale blue skies. It has not rained in a while and the laundry gets back in by sunset which is always good.

Next week, I will need to start training for the 2 marathons I had signed up in July.  The thought of the crowd can be quite daunting.  Having solitary time for the longest time was indeed sacred treat. So, I am going to have this 9 kg metal on a table tomorrow and have them repainted.

Until I get the main composition done, there will be no social network with anyone  Just me, the canvas, the music and me hearing my own breath in the stillness of the night……………..

Got to get up by 6:00 tomorrow.  It is a school day again…So it is going to be busy.   The dogs will be charging in. Everyone rushing for their own activities and yes, I am going to the market.  You should have seen how the chicken seller knived and chop those poor carcass. The stench is so horribly strong. I only managed to suceed being a non meat eater for 2 years, many years ago until the dizzy and fainting spells got so bad and the red cross turned me away from blood donation drive, instead gave me iron tablets to go home with.