Sketching from the Neck Up #9

Sketching Ruins Vicariously

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I like ruins. When I was younger (that is, my walking days), I had plans of going to Europe with several grades of pencils and a sketch pad in my hand. I wanted to draw castles, old structures and ruins. But those plans did not fall through. Forty years later, I’m more of a vicarious tourist. Thank the Lord for Google Earth and everybody else’s camera lens.

In the countryside outside Rome is the remnants of an ancient and remarkable feat of Roman engineering, the ruins of an aqueduct. This sketch is a little tricky since I always have trouble when water is involved. Hopefully, I got this right.

Expect more drawings of ruins.

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Sketching from the Neck Up #8

Django @ M-O-M

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This Saturday, I would like to invite you to join me at Mara’s Organic Market (M-O-M). Oops! M-O-M is actually Mara’s ORIGINAL Market now. It’s located where 3rd Avenue and 25th Street converge unto De Jesus Oval (BGC, Taguig) with a green park in the middle of it. I want you to meet Django Valmores who I always jokingly refer to as the displaced Prince of Boracay.

When at M-O-M’s and you hear a symphony of tribal drums in the breezy air, that is Django. He and a group of enthusiasts are usually tapping away on stretched bovine skin drums… made by him. You see… Django is craft leather worker and in my humble opinion, a very good one. But don’t take my word for it, check out his table at the market.

My sketch subject is a composite of drawings of Django himself and his crafts. By the way, that is also Django dancing at the background with a native metal drum or gong.

See you all Saturday.

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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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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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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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