Sketching from the Neck Up #7

Reclining at the Park

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I just made a discovery. I spent sometime at the park under the shade of a tree. I was on my electric wheelchair. Ok… you want specifics. I spent sometime at the park on my Quantum 6 Edge power chair with its upgraded SRS (Smooth Ride Suspension) which means I can have a smooth, comfortable ride and advanced stability. This is the same chair that (by the Lord’s grace) all the proceeds were raised by the generosity of family, my church, close friends and those that I will not call strangers anymore. Would you believe that it took 5 months to raise the funds? Anyway, back to my discovery.

My Quantum 6 Edge power chair with its upgraded SRS has an electric reclining feature which allows me to lay back and sun-bathe… which is not a good idea since I burn easily. But that is not the discovery. I really like reclining under that tree… and watch the leaves move on the breeze. I have to do it again. Of course, I have to stay out of the way of the joggers.

Anyone want to join me.

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Sketching from the Neck Up #6

M-O-M @ BGC

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Last Saturday, I drove my powerchair almost six blocks from my place to where 3rd Avenue and 25th Street converge unto an oval with a green park in the middle of it. I’m afraid my poor companion had to ‘hoof’ it a bit as I was going about 3-4 miles an hour. Anyway, that Saturday (& on every Saturday hence) the oval driveway is cordoned off to allow an open-air market. But it’s just not another bazaar. This market was something I was hoping for since I was hospitalized and permanently moved here to Bonifacio Global City. This particular market is organized by a very good friend of almost 25 years. Her name is Mara Pardo de Tavera and her advocacy is bringing organic/natural products to us. She is actually the one that started the first organic market in Manila. When I was still ambulatory, I was a frequent goer. And now, she has set up shop here. Happy days for me and organic lovers of BGC.

I encourage folks to come by on Saturday to shop, talk and mingle. You’ll find organic produce, craft products from natural materials, and ready-to-take-home prepared meals. There is music and of course, Mara who is always willing to impart her lore of good healthy food.

For my sketch subject, I decided to do a composite of some of the products you can find at Mara’s Organic Market (M-O-M). Hope to see ya there.

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch10 – part 3

THE SIGN – Wilderness East of the Lake of GalileeCG-book-cover-w

Jesus raised his hand and everyone went silent. “Do you know what I see?” Everyone seemed to lean toward him in anticipation. In a quiet voice, he said, “Sheep with no shepherd.” Then he slowly walked back to the encampment.

The disciples were whispering among themselves as they followed Jesus back to the encampment. Then from the farthest group an excited buzz was quickly spreading among the followers. Cornelius started to hear snatches of what was being spread around: ‘Will he claim himself King of Israel?’

Cestus, who was looking somewhat confused, asked Jacob, “I do not understand the excitement? What is the meaning behind his words, ‘sheep with no shepherd’?”

Jacob explained, “In our holy Scriptures, it is written that when the nation of Israel was wandering the wilderness for forty years and the Prophet Moses who was very old went to God and pleaded that He appoint a man over the congregation, who will lead them to the promised land, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd. It is also written that the Prophet Micaiah, during the time when Israel was divided, spoke unto King Jehoshaphat that he saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd. He was speaking about the northern tribes of Israel who was then ruled by the apostate King Ahab.”

Cornelius interjected, “Do these people think that Jesus was making a claim to be king?”

“It is the hope that the Messiah would take up his rightful place as ruler. If he openly declares himself Messiah, then the people will rally around him.” Jacob paused in his thinking. “But I do not think he will make that claim and there are people here who know it! They are abiding their time. Waiting… for a sign… a big miracle…”

Cornelius finished his thought and said, “… for them to force the issue and declare him king whether he liked it or not. This is what I fear.”

For the rest of the afternoon, Jesus and his twelve disciples went among the people. He preached about the kingdom of heaven again in parables. As he moved among them, he would often pause to comfort the sick and the infirm. Most of that time, they were so happy to be just around him that when he walked away they were not even aware that they were healed. He laughed with them and cried with them. In a deep gully between two hills, Jesus came upon ten weary lepers who took refuge in it away from the taunts of the masses. The crowd was dismayed when he, closely followed by Peter, John and James went down into the gully to speak to them. He approached them until he was among them. Words could not be heard for Jesus was speaking to them quietly. When he climbed out of the gully what followed him were not ten decrepit men with skin eating disease but whole men.

The next day was pretty much the same.
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The story continues on in my next post.

If you are interested in reading the entire ebook, you can find my ebook in Amazon.com for only $1.99. Just click the link below.

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Johann Q

Sketching from the Neck Up #5

Remember the Kids of Smokey Mountain

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I found this photo journal blog by a gal named Sab (short for Sabrina – http://www.justonewayticket.com) titled SMOKEY MOUNTAIN: A WALK THROUGH THE SLUMS OF MANILA, PHILIPPINES. Below  are her words. In the sketch I present is from 2 of Sab’s photos, a lone shack in the midst of a mountain  of trash and kid who struck me profoundly that I had to include him.

Smokey Mountain is a world you’d rather don’t want to see. In Manila’s largest dumpsite the poorest of the poor are making their livelihood by picking up garbage.

Smokey Mountain is a completely different world. It’s a gigantic 50-meter high mountain of garbage that consists more than 2 million tons of waste. It’s insane. If you get closer to the mountain you can see all the layers of rubbish: plastic bags, wood, metal, bottles, iron, fabrics, tires and more plastic bags. All squashed together. It’s heartbreaking.

The place is called Smokey Mountain because of the constant fire. They burn tires and wood. The air smells rotten and is heavily polluted. I have no doubts that breathing this air every day is poisonous for anyone. It’s hard to believe that over 25,000 people are living there. Families with kids. Every day people die here and babies are born.

The scavengers are all dirty, their faces are covered in mud, their clothes are worn out, their arms have scratches….

The living conditions are unbearable.

They live in simple shanties or shelters, some of them in huts made of wood, iron, plastic or whatever they can find to build walls.

One thing that really struck me was the fact that I barely saw old people. It’s a very young population.

And then I thought about the children I met at Smokey Mountain. They don’t have a future. But they laugh. They run around with their dirty faces and worn out clothes and they seem happy.

Seeing their joyful faces has changed my mind and enlightened me. Happiness has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with wealth. Humanity shines even brighter amidst poverty. These kids can bear more difficulties in life than we can ever imagine.

https://www.justonewayticket.com/2014/05/11/smokey-mountain-a-walk-through-the-slums-of-manila-philippines/

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Sketching from the Neck Up #4

Boodle-ing Away

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Boodlers is such a funny word. The dictionary defined a boodler as one (especially a politician) who seeks or receives a bribe or other illicit payment. In other words, a boodler is a political grafter. It is also a 19th century baseball slang of a person displaying unsportsmanlike behavior. In addition, the root word ‘boodle’ is also defined ‘the lot, pack, or crowd’.

Well, once a week, I enjoy meeting with a ‘pack’ of bikers (the peddling types) for breakfast who call themselves “Boodlers & Bikers Club”. No! They are NOT political grafters. Though they do have a lot to say about politics. They are actually a bicycling club of mostly fun loving retirees who love to eat hearty breakfasts and talk a variety of popular topics. What first attracted me to them was their neat little bikes. They all rode Bromptons which are cool British-made folding bikes with their characteristic tiny wheels. I always loved it how they parked their Bromptons with the back tires folded tightly into the frames. The club partakes in community events throughout the country. One of their latest escapades was a fun ride somewhere way up north of Manila.

My sketch subject is made up from 2 photos. The foreground is a boodler who rode her Brompton at an event. In the background is the group happily lounging and planning for their next adventure… down south somewhere.

If you want a Brompton yourself click here.

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch10 – part 2

THE SIGN – Wilderness East of the Lake of GalileeCG-book-cover-w

The patchy sail was drawing well on a westerly breeze. The inland sea was not too choppy and the sky was slightly overcast. The boat was an old one and double the price of its original value. Cornelius was at first speculatively concerned about a growing pool of water along its transom even after Jacob’s assurance that all boats leak. But seeing that it was manageable with Trax bailing the water out every so often, Cornelius forgot his initial nervousness. Cestus was on the tiller and quite adept in handling a boat since he grew up in a fishing village. He chose two other men, Nacob, the Syrian and Lyca, the Cypran.

It was around noon when they reached the eastern shore. There were six other boats drawn up on the pebbly beach. Cornelius was amazed of what he could only describe as a multitude which has gathered with more still coming.

After working their way through the throng, Cornelius found Jesus on the tallest hill surrounded by his closest followers. As they came closer, it was Jesus who came forward to greet them. Though some faces showed disapproval.

“Welcome my friends.” Jesus said.

Cornelius took a step closer. “Teacher, I have grave news. John the Baptist is dead!”

“Yes, I know. His followers came to me yesterday. Be not concerned, Cornelius. His death was not in vain.”

“Teacher! All these people…?”

“Yes! I came here to be with my disciples in solitude and to ask of my Father in heaven of his will. When we arrived many have already gathered. I received my answer.”

Then Jacob asked, “Rabbi? What is the answer?”

Jesus turned to Jacob, “Do you not see?”

Jesus then beckoned them all to follow him to a ridge where they can see the hills and valleys covered with milling people. Cornelius calculated that there may be about eight even ten thousand people that have gathered.

“What do you see?”

A number of his followers called out their answers, “a multitude…”; “a nation…”; “followers of Jesus…”; and so on. Cornelius even heard someone, a Zealot, more than likely, call out “…an army for God!”

Jesus raised his hand and everyone went silent. “Do you know what I see?” Everyone seemed to lean toward him in anticipation. In a quiet voice, he said, “Sheep with no shepherd.” Then he slowly walked back to the encampment.

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The story continues on in my next post.

If you are interested in reading the entire ebook, you can find my ebook in Amazon.com for only $1.99. Just click the link below.

If you want to support my writing, you can donate by clicking below…

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Thank you

Johann Q

Sketching from the Neck Up #3

Phone Booth in the Countryside

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I truly appreciate the many photographers throughout the world that have contributed their work in the internet. I found an e-magazine that featured 40 of the “Most Beautiful Pictures of Villages around the World”. Of course, I could not help saving several landscape photographs that would make neat sketch/illustration subjects. Today’s subject is an English country landscape. How did I know it was English? Check out the only distinctive RED object across the country lane from the village church. That is clearly a phone booth, which is rarely seen these days, except maybe in England.

So, I thought how neat would this illustration be if I included an English phone booth in the foreground. I found a good photograph and sketched it out into an illustration. I have to say, I had fun with this project. By the way, if anyone recognizes this English village, please email me back, so that I can pinpoint it in Google Earth.

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Sketching from the Neck Up #2

Waiting for an Order

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It was just one of those days, as I was heading home, when I noticed a group of young people waiting on the sidewalk with their bicycles. They all wore the deep pink shirt uniforms of the delivery service of Foodpanda. This was evident from the bulky insulated delivery boxes strapped on the back ends of their bicycles which also were colored a deep pink with a big smiling smiling panda. I have been noticing a lot of them lately through out Bonifacio Global City. According to their website, Foodpanda is the leading global online food delivery marketplace. They have provided users to conveniently discover food around their neighbourhood and directly order their favourite meals online or via their mobile phones. Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, they operate in more than 40 countries across 5 continents. In the Philippines, foodpanda was launched in June 2014 and has since grown to over 1,000 partner restaurants nationwide. [Click here to check out their website]

Anyway, these guys and a gal had their noses in their cell phones. My guess was, they were waiting for orders or playing games. I asked my companion to get his own cell phone out and take a quick picture (after I asked permission, of course).

When I got home, I went straight to work on my Photoshop program. The subject I chose was a young man sitting on the sidewalk with his bicycle propped up behind him. I decided to keep this illustration simple. The first thing I did was cropped out the subject I wanted to focus on. Then, I made the picture go transparent about 50%. After which, I more or less free handed the outline which started out rough. Then, I re-did the outline with cleaner lines. From there, I implemented some Photoshop magic and got the results that I was looking for. The final touch was the pink color of both the bag and the rider’s shirt.

Foodpanda anybody? Enjoy!

An Alleyway Somewhere in EuropeEU-alley-with-steps-w.jpg

Because of my spinal condition, the chances of me ever going to Europe is realistically quite slim. But I am not really depressed about it. I thank the Lord for Google Earth where sometimes I can spend hours touring different parts of the world. One of the features that I appreciate about Google Earth is that contributors had posted thousands upon thousands of photographs of their travels; a great number of which I saved. Well, I was going over those pictures to pick my next drawing exercise. One picture jumped out at me. It was a picture of a quaint alleyway with brick steps going up. Unfortunately, I am not exactly sure where this picture was shot. But I remember was that this place was somewhere in a village in Eastern Europe.

 

This drawing was somewhat a challenge. The photograph was in low resolution and somewhat pixelated. Drawing the outline was a little time-consuming but I managed to get it done in about three hours. In the original photo, it was empty of people. So, I sketched in a man up the alley. All in all, the outline looked good and this gave me inspiration to play with different mediums. Photoshop have a neat filter feature called the Paint Daubs that I wanted to experiment with. It looked pretty good. I wish I could have painted it myself but Photoshop gets all the credit.

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In my next drawing, I used the outline and super imposed it over another image of a brown crumpled parchment. I then applied Photoshop’s charcoal filter and then finished it with light shadows.
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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch10 – part 1

THE SIGN – Wilderness East of the Lake of GalileeCG-book-cover-w

“Where is Jesus now?” Cornelius asked as he walked into his house after some hard riding.

Jacob goes to the table and pulls out the map of Galilee. “A great number of people seem to be heading to this part here.” Jacob circles an area south-east of Bethsaida. “I remember that area as a boy. From the lake shore up, it is quite hilly. Hardly any trees, mostly dried brown grass especially at this time of the year.”

Cornelius studied the map. “Too far to walk and if we are to be incognito we cannot bring horses. Did you say that Jesus has been going back and forth across the lake lately?”

“Yes,” said Jacob. Then he knowingly looked up at Cornelius. “We need a boat!”
Cornelius called for Cestus. A minute later, Cestus marched in and snapped to attention. “Sir!”

Cornelius hands a bag of coins, “Go to town and acquire us a boat. Bring two of our men who know how to handle it. We leave in two hours!” Cestus left.

“Well, I better pack some things.” Jacob gets up but then he pauses and peered toward a curtained off alcove.

Cornelius followed his gaze and noticed a slight movement on the curtain. He looked down and could just make out little dirty toes just sticking out.

Cornelius humorously ask, “What are we to do with young Trax? Hmmm?”

“Oh, I think we should leave him behind,” Jacob joins the jest. “He will be a troublesome handful in the boat!” They heard an obvious groan behind the curtain.

Jacob quickly pulls the curtain aside to reveal a startled Trax. “Behold,” Jacob exaggerates. “A spy among us!” They both laughed at Trax’s concerned face.

“How can we leave behind such a resourceful spy?” Cornelius laughingly declares.

Trax’s face quickly brightens. “I can come!”

“Come,” Jacob leads the lad toward the other room. “We have much to pack.”
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The story continues on in my next post.

If you are interested in reading the entire ebook, you can find my ebook in Amazon.com for only $1.99. Just click the link below.

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Johann Q

Sketching from the Neck Up #1

The Interactive Statuette

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In my world of being a quadriplegic, I have developed an aesthetic appreciation of my surroundings. I look at an object and say to myself, “that would make a good sketch!” I thought about trying to teach myself to sketch and paint using my mouth. After all, there are many PWD artists out there who do exactly that. However, most of those artists have enough muscles in their backs to support their heads, so that they can beautifully manipulate pencils/brushes to create fantastic masterpieces. Here lies my dilemma. Even if I can hold a pencil in my mouth, I am unable to execute the right pencil strokes for sketching. I hated the thought that I could not sketch. Fortunately, by God’s grace, there is a digital solution for me.

One day, a social media penpal of mine from Norway posted a picture of a snow clad tree that I liked. I opened up my Photoshop program and using my camera mouse setup, I proceeded to manually sketch the tree. When I say “manually”, I mean I tried my darndest to avoid using Photoshop’s magical features that automatically transform a photograph into a sketched out drawing. Okay, I cheated just a little.

Anyway, after a number of practice runs, another idea popped into my head to publish my sketches/illustrations into my blog titled “Sketching from the Neck Up”. In fact, that title was actually coined by my wife, Mavis, who is a genius in this kind of thing. As my first subject, I focused on a statuette that I noticed a bunch of little kids having so much fun with. It was a concrete interactive statuette of an oversized chameleon perched on a black boulder. I called it interactive mainly because built on the chameleon sides and tail are almost 400 little rollers each of which had 4 color facets (green, yellow, blue and red). A nearby teacher of the kids would call out saying that the chameleon is standing by a specific fruit like an apple or a banana. She would ask what color would the chameleon be and the kids would laughingly turn each of the multicolored rollers to either red or yellow. This statuette can be found at the 28th Terra Park, Bonifacio Global City. Come and check it out for yourself. Be a kid again and enjoy.

PWD – person with disability

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