Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Heading South (part 1)

A little more than a week ago, I traveling south of Florence to immerse myself more into Italy. I stayed a night in Rome, and early in the following morning, I journeyed to San Giovanni Rotondo in Pulglia. There lies the body of Padre Pio in the basilica up on a hill where he spent the last 52 years of his life serving the community there.

Next stop is the sea town Bari. I met my Camino friend, Luca, who showed me his hometown. Very lively city filled with warm friendly and beautiful people. Next I journeyed across the country to Latina to meet schoolmate Roberto and friends to trek at the Abruzzo National Park.

(To be continued...)

A friar in a Magic Shop. That's something you don't see everyday!
What am I doing in a Magic Shop anyways?

Famous Column of Marcus Aurelius. Piazza Colonna.

Body of Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo

Streets in Bari Old Town

Monday, August 19, 2013

Self-watering Summers

We're more than half way past summer, and people are still travelling. For those of us who grow our own food, plants, fruit, etc, here's a very simple way to keep our pots or gardens watered while we're out of town exploring the rest of the planet. I've made some recently as I am getting ready to head south soon. There are plenty of these on the net, but I thought I'd share this in a less-than-a-minute digestible format. Enjoy earth, we've got just one of 'em!  =)

Here are the things you need: 
- Empty mineral bottle
- Plastic tubs from the DIY store
- Screwdriver

Puncture the bottle caps and make them wide enough for the tubes.

Make sure they're a snug fit.

Fill the bottle with water, cap it and place it in your pot or greens in the garden. Once the soil feels dry, water will self feed itself to keep the dirt moist. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

PLANE and Simple

Yes, the latest Disney movie called Planes is out.  Made by the team from Pixar who created Cars, I'm pretty sure I'll be seeing a lot of cameos!  : )  By the way, I'm still waiting patiently for Monsters Inc 2 to play here in the theaters on Aug 21. 

Well, the reason for this post is more about what I am focused on these days. Planes. As in facade. From the summer workshops I took, I realise how unfamiliar I am with about the miniscule changes of the human body surface. And yes, this includes the planes of the face too. And so timely because my summer homework is to study copies from the Bammes Anatomy book. This book is about body parts broken down into simplified segments. If you are interested in chiseling and fine-tuning this aspect of your art, check out some of the contents of the book here.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

D.I.Y. Art Board Stand

This past week I got to try out my new homemade art board stand in the beautiful city of Pisa in Tuscany. About 80 km west of Florence, the ride took about one hour on a fast regional train. It was a day trip and my very first to this city with the famous tower that leans. I've posted my works in my usual slot at https://www.facebook.com/alvinmark.art

In case you are interested in making yourself one of these portable stands to hold your paper while you are sketching, here's a step by step on how it's done! Being out there urban sketching on a touch and go basis, I find this contrivance very light and quick to set-up. Having a sturdy board like this frees my other hand to hold my palette if the terrain does not accommodate sitting down like in this case when the ground is wet. 

1) I bought a camera tripod from the local street vendors. Next, I removed the mount.

2) Find a thick and sturdy enough chip board. The one I bought is 3mm thick. 
3) Also get a small piece of wood that is similar to the height of the tripod mount and shave that down to size. I used a good pen knife for that and sandpaper to even out the edges.

 4) Last but not least locate the middle of the board and super glue the little piece of wood down. And Waaaa-laaaah!  You have got yourself a practical and economical art board stand. :) 

Baptistry, Pisa
Gouache on watercolour paper.

Here's one of my favourite pieces from that day.