Friday, May 30, 2014

Sketch 22/30 - Gawai

This is a long weekend for us in Sarawak as it is the Harvest Festival or "Gawai Dayak" - I completed this sketch of Iban dancers Gawais ago when I waited for Michael Wong's girls to join me for sketching (lessons) at the waterfront amphitheatre.

Sketch 21/30 - Cafe Torpanranta (Sept 2012)

 On the last morning of our stay in Helsinki, we took the No. 4 tram to the seaside town of Munkkiniemi to visit Aalto's house and Studio. Unfortunately, the studio has shut for the winter - but we discovered this cafe by the sea. Its floor plan is made up of several octagons merged together. One cluster is the kitchen and servery while the free-standing larger one is the main dining space, with the entry in between. When we arrived, the place was almost empty except for a table of seafaring types in yellow jackets and ruddy faces.

From my seat by the window, I could see a large expanse of forest across the water dotted with low apartments buildings and small houses. I imagined my self living in one of them for an hour and caught to tram back to the city.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sketch 20/30 - Architecture in Amsterdam (2013)

Sketch 19/30 - St. Thomas Cathedral (Oct 2012)

This building is an emotional landmark of my childhood, located at the foot of McDougall Hill facing the Central Padang. As students, we would sometimes walk through the church yard as a shortcut to the bus station. At the time of this sketch, I was with another group of students; my own. I took the design class on a sketching expedition to discover and record our local architectural heritage.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sketch 18/30 - Rangoon War Memorial

The quotes below is from another war memorial - I have always been moved by it, so I ll share it here.

“Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

Sketch 17/30 - View from Robyn's balcony

This sketch brings back a wonderful memory - we had just met Robyn for breakfast at the Mercato Sant'Ambrogio and we walked back to her apartment near the Duomo. The apartment was a single room with a book shelf dividing the kitchen and bedroom with a small balcony, from which I could look down at the roofs and terraces of the neighbourhood houses. A lovely but typical view of Florence. It was when I looked up that I realised how close I was to Brunelleschi's Duomo - it seemed close enough to touch. To see the details up close; the massive tiled dome in shadow and light, the white marble of the campanile speckled with the little silhouettes of doves. It felt close to heaven.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sketch 16/30 - St. Joseph's Cathedral

14 sketches away from a full month of posting sketches daily.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sketch 11/30 - Witzli Poetzli, Antwerp (April 2013)

..continuing my promise to post stray sketches from my visual journals for 30 consecutive days.

I remember this winter morning in April 2013 when our group of travelers were dropped off at the Antwerp Old Town, everything was shut or just about to open, just like someone getting a really good stretch and yawn before waking up. There is only so much Gothic cathedral one can take, so we sidled into a side lane looking for refuge from the cold and the madding 'crowd'.

And this is the place that we came into - it was quiet, it was warm and it looked quite arty - exactly the kind of place arty types would seek refuge in and as it turns out, I discovered (while posting this entry) that this is quite a popular place with the arty types. I should have guessed - one of the people we chatted with while waiting for our coffee to cool is an artist, Media who showed us some of her work.  

small and intimate bar downstairs with dining rooms up a steep flight of stairs

Irene checking her work

We are next to the Cathedral of Our Lady - too early and too cold for sitting outside.

Sketch 10/30 - Frankfurt Cathedral (2013)

This is a quick five-minute sketch inside the Frankfurt Cathedral located off the Romer Platz - we were on the way to dinner after our River Main cruise. If I recall correctly, the Cathedral was not particularly impressive but it was good to capture it on paper while the others wandered around taking photos. Peggy took the photo of me while Irene took the one of us.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sketch 9/30 - FATA Hotel Kuching (2012)

The Fata Hotel is one of the earliest hotel in Kuching

As I was growing up, this was my 'neck of the wood' - my school was next to the hotel but back then, I did not appreciate the hotel's clever planning and form; how the guest room modules step back progressively to negotiate the turn in the road and the way the upper floors are distinguished from the commercial ground floor with a deep recess in the facade.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sketch 8/30 - Billy Joel (Feb 2014)

Life works in cycles and ones has to take the good with the bad - I remind myself to enjoy the good stuff when they happen.

Recently, I had to travel out of town for long period of time and this meant time away from my family and I missed the simple sequence of my day; the early morning run to breakfast, designing and the USK sketching excursions.
At the end of another long day, I worked in the hotel lounge instead of returning to my room - trying to find comfort in the company of strangers. The piano player started playing -  familiar tune, I know this one, work was set aside as I tried to recall the tune, I know the words...
"she can kill with her smile,
she can wound with her eyes"

And as I listened and sketched, the evening passed very pleasantly..with a little help from Billy Joel.

Sketch 7/30 - Blood letting (Oct 2012)

I am ashamed to say that I have never given blood until Joanna organised one in the office. I had little choice really because as a firm believer in "leadership by example", I cannot encourage my colleagues to donate blood until I did.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sketch 6/30 - Kuching (Dec 2012)

....continuing my search through old journals for stray sketches and posting them for 30 consecutive days

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sketch 4/30 - Tiong Bahru (November 2010)

Tiong Bahru Estate was primarily a Chinese area so I thought the use of Chinese ink for the tree was appropriate.
This is Tiong Bahru - the venue of a new friendship formed one evening in 2010 over hawker food. I-Jin introduced to Kok Ming who kindly brought me to the neighbourhood where he grew up. Most of it has changed and road names altered but the Streamline Moderne flats with the rounded balconies and flat roofs are still there. So are the Straits Settlement shop-houses - I liked what I saw, so I went back the next morning to sketch.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sketch 3/30 - Chair Affair (Nov 2013)

at the 'Essentially Eames" exhibition at the ArtScience Museum Marina Bay Sands
Poster at the exhibition - for Chadwick Modular Seating 1974 -
"..allows you to wind seating around an immobile Norwegian pine tree, keep your people from the dreaded 'stuck in the corner' disease, ensure that you'll be the centre of attention, curve seating around a column that come with the house, hide that coffee stain in the centre of your carpet, place furniture around a space wasting corner and provide opportunity for people to look at people"

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sketch 2/30 - Hoi An (Jan 2012)

We traveled to Hoi An on a whim - after reading about this UNESCO World Heritage Site on many occasions. The four of us flew to Danang cheaply via AirAsia and were driven to Hoi An. In the car ride there, we were able to see the construction of several large seaside resorts and compare this development with the quaint, 'frozen in time' quality of Hoi An's Old Quarter. The Old Quarter is small compared to other UNESCO site, Georgetown for example and is unlikely to withstand the pressure of new tourist development nudging up against its borders.
This is a destination more memorable for the people we met such as the local university students who took us on a bicycle tour of Kim Bong fishing village and for time spent amongst just the four of us; eating and walking and talking and cycling and shopping for lanterns.

Sketch 1/30 - Fiumicino Airport (Sept 2012)

I have been sketching in these A5 booklets for the past three years now; using them as my visual journals. The paper has a nice bite with an off-white complexion and takes a light wash quite well. They are not too thick so they are handy to carry around yet thick enough to contain at least a month's thoughts and sketches. At RM 5 each, they are cheap enough to doodle on all the time.

I like to look through them once in a while - to see what was on my mind in 2011 and to recall where I was in 2009 and what I was looking at then. Sometimes I discover a stray sketch or writing.

Over the next 30 days, I ll try to post these "strays" and give them some exposure and what better sketch to start with then this one on the cusp of great adventure :-

Fiumicino Airport
Going through the customs check point of the Rome Airport on the way to Helsinki. The airport looked a bit tired and world weary from all that traffic traveling through her corridors each day, but I thought this added to her charm. I thanked the officer who inspected me for the 'massage' as he was very vigorous and thorough - I think he got the joke.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Sunday well spent

I injured my foot recently and have not been able to run for the past two weeks. It is frustrating but as I told one of my runner friends - I now have an extra 7 hours each week. So, the other hobbies have encroached and my Sunday has evolved somewhat...

4:30 - 7:00 a.m. Sunday 
- finished reading Yasmin Ahmad's 'memoir' loaned to me by another Yasmin - I enjoyed it tremendously as it is funny and sad, poignant and pointed in parts. It is told in a series of encounters and conversations with her close friends and colleagues. One gets a sense of having known Yasmin after reading this book - I am going out and buying one for myself and a few more to give to friends.

9:00 - 10:30 a.m. 
After a quick breakfast with Sam and Sara, we headed off across the river to join the Urban Sketcher's Kuching Sketch-crawl at the old Dewan Undangan Negeri Complex. Our little group was started by Peggy and Azie, both fellow architects and it has since grown to include several graphic designers, Yvonne who teaches sign langauge, Helena the Interior Designer, Adam the plastic surgeon and local students. Peggy is the dynamo behind our activities and has recently set up a page on FaceBook. 

Ink and wash on site - using a water brush filled with Chinese Ink

Started on site, finished at home

The outcome of one hour's sketching on site

Notice how they sit in the shade ?

11:30 - 1:30 a.m.
It was a bit hot to do gardening but the grass needed cutting and I needed to burn calories - so I cut grass while Sam joined me to weed. Our vegie patch and herb garden has gone to weed suffering from neglect during our time in Europe - next week's assignment is to re-plant some of them.

Add caption
2:30 - 3:30 a.m.
Sam shaved her hair a few years ago as part of Kuching's GO BALD campaign to raise money for our local Children's Cancer Society - so she is a avid supporter of friends who are game to do the same.  Several of our friends were taking part so we dropped by to lend our moral support - especially for the women in the group when they get their hair shaved off. This is the 6th installment of the GO BALD campaign in Kuching  and I was very touched to see that the number of young people taking part have increased - meaning that the event has raised their awareness in the plight of others. I was very proud to be in their company, I was told that they raised RM 400, 000.00 (USD 100,000) on Sunday.

Claudia is an architect working with me

From front - Sofia, Claudia, Freddie, Ah-Fook and Louis

7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
Dinner and off to bed