A Proud Owner Of My Curl Bar Set

After acquiring my dumbbell set back in January, I needed something more. There are muscles that cannot be effectively trained by dumbbells. So I consulted my buddy Kwang Fei and he strongly recommended me to get a barbell or a curl bar set. One day he called me up as he was going to get more plates for his curl bar and asked if I was ready to get my own set. On! I said in an impulsive way and simple as that, I got my curl bar set.

Part of the deal was for him to teach me how to utilize this new investment of mine and for me to film him working out in his home. I have made two videos and uploaded them to YouTube for sharing (not director status so I can’t upload anything that is longer than 10 mins). If you are into weightlifting, I hope that these two videos are of value to you.

Weightlifting for Beginners: Part 1 of 2

Weightlifting for Beginners: Part 2 of 2

My 8th Oil Painting – Battle Of The Ancient

One day while I was chatting with one of my favourite friends whom I have worked with a while ago, she suggested to me that I shall paint her. I asked how? And she said however way she has inspired me to paint. She kept referring to the “Dark Side” (in a career sense) and just recently I have talked to one of my buddy who is still happily staying at one of the companies that is definitely not one of my top 10 favorable places to work at. He told me that he is happy inside because he feels that the outside world may not be as nice. All that prompted me to ponder upon how different organizations appeal to different people. At one end, bosses reward people with good performance and on the other end, because bosses rely on how relationship works with the clients and are able to get away with sub-standard performance, they reward those who treasure relationships like themselves too. To me, it is a battle between the two. What better way it is to paint this tension some of us face everyday?

My Canon camera has once again failed me (vowed not to buy another Canon product) and the picture above was taken by my Nokia N80. I have made a video while I was painting and have recorded the process via my camcorder. It is a less than 4 minutes video and I hope you enjoy watching that. Many have asked me how difficult it is to paint oils. And I hope this video says it all. “Battle Of The Ancient” is my first attempt to paint abstract art.

Click here for my oil painting “gallery”.

My 7th Oil Painting – Endless Ironing

Click to view a larger image

Let me show you how my Inspiration Factory works. One fine day I was staring at the big pile of folded clothes awaiting to be ironed. It was more than usual because of our Melbourne trip (note: this blog was written a while back). So I asked Cynthia casually …

Me: (Nodding at the direction of the pile of clothes) How long will it take to iron those?
Cynthia: (Looking at somewhere else doing something else) Usually about 15 minutes.
Me: No, no … I mean those (pointing at the pile)
Cynthia: Oh, that’s a lot. Half an hour I guess.
Me: Just half an hour?!
Cynthia: Ya (continued doing that thing she was doing)
Me: I have an idea …
Cynthia: (Paused what she was doing and thinking) Uh-oh …

And I told Cynthia that I wanted to paint her ironing. Her immediate response was, “Do I need to stand for FOUR HOURS?!” “No, no, no,” I waved my hands in mid-air and reassured her that she just needed to iron the clothes as per normal. All of a sudden, I was bombarded with questions such as “What should I wear?!”, “What if I look fat?!”, “Will it be shown in your blog?”, and etc. I was surprised that she did not ask if she needed to wear make-up (she did ask what to wear). The only person I can think of who does housework wearing make-up is Paris Hilton in her Simple Life. I explained to her that the main focus of the painting is the ironing board. I did not know if she was delighted or disappointed.

To paint this, I have to do all the sketching before the model stepped into the picture. Once the sketching was done, I worked as fast as possible to sketch the model and to start putting colors and shadows. Whenever the model stepped away, I painted the surroundings. Keeping the perspectives of the composition to me was the most challenging part because there were lots of lines. In the end, I think I needed a different kind of brush to draw those straight lines. It was really difficult for me using those that I have.

Click here for my oil painting “gallery”.

My 6th Oil Painting – 2 Dollar Flowers

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Last week, I have painted probably one of the most expensive oil painting to date. You will see why. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image and click here to view the real life composition.

So far, I have painted vegetables and fruits, sky and reservoir, teddy bear and human face, I have yet to try painting flowers. How difficult it was for me to paint flowers! There are just so much detail with the petals and stems, leaves and water.

This time, I calibrated both my viewfinder and the board that holds the oil painting tablet into a 8×8 grid so that I can replicate the composition as faithful to the reality as possible based on the coordinates of the objects. In layman’s term, it is much easier for me to paint the objects in the same way I see them through the viewfinder – for novice like myself in especially. It took me 45 minutes just to sketch the composition (which I am happy about). I made lots of mistake this time ended up have to scrap the oils time after time. I wanted to give up halfway because I did not have a clue on how to model the yellow and white flowers and how to fill in the gaps in between the stems.

Anyway, I managed to finish the painting. It is expensive because first, I paid two dollar for the flowers that cannot be consumed like vegetables and fruits. Cynthia looked at the bunch of flower over our meal and commented that they don’t look good nor smell nice. Well, it is no roses I suppose. Second, I have wasted a lot of paint on this and probably have to stock up more paints soon. Took me 4 hours to finish the painting. I wonder how much time I would spend on a canvas that is 4 times bigger.

Click here for my oil painting “gallery”.

My 5th Oil Painting – Intensity, A Self-Portrait (2007)

Click at your own risk!

I have a mixed feeling on this self-portrait oil painting and it is edging towards the borderline of disaster (click on thumbnail to view a larger image at your own risk). Perhaps I am not used to looking at my own image, having this somewhat intense guy who somewhat looks like me with a face larger than me staring back at me … it is sort of scary. When Cynthia returned from work and discovered my new oil painting, she couldn’t stop laughing. I reckon she knows my face better than I do (duh!) and she kept on asking how come this and how come that. I have to drag her into the bathroom and post “that look” to her. To demonstrate how I got “that look”, I positioned my shoulders 45 degrees relative to the mirror, I turned my head at a 30 degrees relative to my shoulders while my eyes looked straight ahead. Still, the questions of “how come” did not subside.

While the result could be disastrous, it was my intend to create a pair of eyes that captivate attention, lips that are redder than normal for contrast, and an overall texture of ruggedness. For that, I think I have achieved what I wanted. Hopefully my next self-portrait will be better.

To paint this self-portrait image, I have to turn my tiny bathroom into a painting studio because that is the only place in my home that has a huge mirror with 3 spot lights over my head. The easel was mounted right on top of the closed toilet bowl with a jar of turpentine to wash my brushes resting on top of the bowl’s lid. The paint tubes were lined up carefully along the side of the bathtub. The smell of the oils can be overwhelming at times because there was hardly any air circulation inside.

An excerpt of our conversation after Cynthia saw the painting.

Me: So, what do you think of this self-portrait?
Cyn: Erm …
Me: (looking at Cyn with anticipation)
Cyn: Well, the painting looks intense.
Me: Shall we frame this one then?
Cyn: Hmmm … how come you are not smiling?
Me: I can’t.
Cyn: You can’t?
Me: No, I can’t keep smiling for 3 hours. Besides it looks insane to smile at the mirror while painting.
Cyn: Hmmm … perhaps we can hang it somewhere that we don’t get to see first thing in the morning?
Me: …

Looking back, I don’t think I want to hang this painting in the bedroom either. Last night before I retired to bedroom, I dimmed the light, looking at that pair of eyes staring at me sort of freaked me out.

Click here for my oil painting “gallery”.