Let the Cat out of the Box and Be Free – A Doodle

Recently, I have come across an article from Scientific American. Falling in love does make people more creative. Because it makes us think differently. That triggers global processing, hence promotes creative thinking and interferes with analytic thinking. Sex though does the opposite. It triggers local processing, promotes analytic thinking, and interferes with creative thinking.

From now on, I shall not look at love and sex the same way.

Titled Let the Cat out of the Box and Be Free

This latest drawing of mine doesn’t have tons of hidden meaning. It is what it is – let the cat out of the box and be free.

In relationships, people often say something like, if you love someone, let him or her go. I think that is a bit not too pragmatic. The way I see it is that when you love (the roses) someone, let him or her have the freedom (a cat in an open box) within the boundaries (the frame) of what that relationship is or to be. And he or she will be happy looking for the things he or she likes (plenty of fish for the happy cat).

At the top left is a view of the port or the sea (I thought of the fish and hence, the ocean). The bottom right is a door. Why filament light bulb? I just happen to like its vintage feel.

When Cats Listen to Moonlight Sonata – A Doodle

The last few doodles I drew was rather serious and they were getting complex. Last night, it was a long day at work. Exhausted by the never-ending calls from nine in the morning till evening, exhausted by the endless paperwork from early evening till ten at night (alas, performance review period), all I wanted was to unwind. Perhaps play some video games as our guild members have been beaconing us to start our Diablo 3 season 22 journey but my wife was tired; perhaps watch some TV but I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to indulge into; perhaps drink more wine but I really couldn’t as I started early. So I have decided to doodle. The theme was: something cute.

Titled as When Cats Listen to Moonlight Sonata – first orientation when the pair of cats in the center are upright.

It didn’t take too long to complete the drawing. Two hours. And it was fun, especially the endless musical notes around the cats.

What I was and still am struggling with is the drawing’s orientation and that’s why I haven’t added my name onto the drawing. I would pick the first one if I want to see the cats in the center in the upright position, which is also where the spiral starts.

The second orientation gives perspective on the scoresheet

The second orientation is also good, especially when you want to focus on the partial sheet music inspired by Moonlight Sonata. And I like the pair of cats sitting at the bottom edge of the frame, upright.

The third orientation is perhaps the most balanced

I like the third orientation for the composition gives me a balanced feel. I can still make out of the sheet music. There is a certain ‘weight’ towards the bottom half of the drawing.

My favorite perhaps is the fourth orientation below. It seems most natural. Just that, the musical notes are upside down and it reverses the Moonlight Sonata.

Fourth orientation with a pair of cats sitting at the bottom of the frame.

Under the Watchful Eyes of Blue Giant Crab Love is in the Air – A Doodle

Last Friday, I was on leave. And it was extraordinary. I was happy. The weather shifted from cloudy in the early afternoon to rainy to sunshine back to the threat of thunderstorms ended with a partially cloudy evening. The moon was half-covered by the cloud giving me the illusion of staring at a half-moon.

I stumbled upon a printed drawing. It was a blue giant crab with very interesting web-like patterns that reminds me of a dreamcatcher. At that moment, I thought I was dreaming, caught by the blue giant crab. Maybe I was dreaming. It was just me and the drawing. I could not help but to make a mental note of the composition. I traced my fingers through the crab a few times. It helps me to memorize. My zodiac is cancer. That further captivates me.

Titled as Under the Watchful Eyes of a Blue Giant Crab Love is in the Air. It is a simple composition with three elements. This drawing can be viewed upside down as well.

These days, I think of young people in love. That was this song of mine I kept on humming as I composed this drawing. I thought of a theme park. I love theme parks. It is not that my parent did not bring me to a theme park when I was young. It is the desire to see and experience the world like kids do.

Kids from the park, I wish to be
To possess a sense of innocence
To take back all that has taken from me
All the joy take a look at their faces

Song #139 – Kids from the Park

While this drawing only has three elements – the crab, the couple, and the roses – it took me more than eight hours to complete. This is by far the longest I have spent in drawing. I like the roses that spiral from the center of the drawing. I also like the fact that I can hang this drawing upside down shifting the focus from the crab to the couple.

When viewed upside down, the focus of the drawing shifted.

While I was drawing, my wife was watching watercolor videos on YouTube. I don’t paint in watercolor. But from what I have picked up – since we share the common space, she watching TV in the living room and I drawing in the dining area – watercolor painting is somewhat similar to oil painting. You can do wet-on-wet. And there is an allowance to correct mistakes as you paint. The type of drawing I do, though is monochrome, is less forgiving. And I have to be very certain of the order of layering. My wife has this desire to add colors to my drawings. Perhaps one day, I will give in. For now, I still prefer black and white.

Towards the end of the drawing session, I said to my wife, “Why spent so much time watching watercolor videos when you could spend the time drawing instead?” I mean, she has the watercolor equipment and papers. To that, she replied, “Action faking psychology”. I Googled and it says, “Action faking is all the stuff we do that makes us feel good about our progress without actually making any meaningful progress.”


Operate Within Your Constraints And I Guarantee You That You’ll Be Happy Today

I have learned this when I first picked up photography. It was a life lesson I wish I had sooner. It is different from ‘be contented and be happy‘. That is reactive. This is proactive.

Our life is defined by constraints. Operate within them, you’ll be happy. Operate outside them, you’d feel unfulfilled.

Take photography as an example. Every camera, every piece of equipment, no matter how good they are, there are limitations beyond which, it won’t do. The camera body dictates the image resolution (amongst other things). Your printed photos may look great up to a certain size, like A3. But they won’t look good if you are to enlarge it and cover part of a building. You may need a very good sensor. Or film camera to get that done.

Your lens may have an f-stop to enable you handheld, take a still picture at night, and still look good. But to have higher quality, you would need a tripod. At times, even a tripod won’t do such as photographing animals at night. That would be a combination of a camera body, an f-stop or even vibration reduction telephoto lens, and a monopod.

You may have a telephoto lens that allows you to take great animal pictures during daylight. But that lens won’t do if you want to take sports photos or cosmic pictures.

It is to know the limitation of the camera body and the lens and the external conditions in order to take great photographs. Photographs that you are happy with. Don’t take pictures that beyond what your equipment can do. And it is always about compromise or balancing between different constraints (e.g. lower the quality for sharpness). Actively pursuing that and working within the boundaries of your limitation creates great photographs. Everyone can take great photos with what we have, even with a phone. Try to take photos beyond what our equipment can do stops us from taking photos.

Similar to life, we have constraints and tradeoffs. We cannot have everything. Yes, we could ponder upon the what-ifs. But this is the moment. Today is the day. Time moves forward and we live for today. If we can proactively live our life within the limitations we have, making the best out of what we have – and if we can do that, I believe, is how happiness is attained.

First step is, know your constraints. Second step is, tradeoff wisely.

Wounded Heart and the Incommunicado – A Doodle

I often joked with my younger friends and said, “Had I born into this era, my dating life would have been so different.” As in, with dating apps, I don’t think I would get married so early.

It’s a joke. As in, I am not born into this era.

But what if?

That would be a topic for another day. Meanwhile, I cannot help but think, heartbreaks in this era must suck way more than my era.

Titled as Wounded Heart and the Incommunicado

With instant messaging and all, I have no idea how people these days cope with heartbreaks. Say, you are trying to reach him or her. But you just can’t. Every message you receive throughout the day – which is a lot thanks to how connected we now are – would basically be a disappointment. Why isn’t the message come from him or her? And you can’t stop this thought whereby, the next message could be from him or her.

Back to this drawing, and I must say it once again. Drawing to me is therapeutic. It calms my mind. I like this particular one a lot. It took me close to four hours to conceptualize and complete the drawing, which is way longer than the previous ones. To complete this drawing on the same day (inspiration comes and goes), I had to rush to Art Friend and buy a set of replacement pens because mine went dry. I have also derived a special technical – unfortunately, you can’t see here – to ‘hang’ the objects onto a set of pre-determined frames. It was an experiment and I like how it turns out.

In the center, is a heart. Punctured by a spear and through it, the telephone coil is cut. Incommunicado at its most straightforward interpretation is one is unable to reach another on the phone. In this drawing, there is another meaning whereby the two could be separated (think life and death) and they just can’t talk to each other.

Layered on top of the heart are roses and thorns. So yes, there is a theme of love here (again, love in many forms). There is blood gushing out from the heart but what’s up there? Raindrops? Or tears? That’s for you to decide.