Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Life around trash

There is a place outside of Jakarta where houses were built on stilts above water.  The houses were made of wood and lined the slough that connects to the ocean.  It was a fishing village where the boats were colored bright yellow, green, blue, and red. The birds were abundant but so was the trash that lined the slough.  Most of the trash comes in from the ocean from Jakarta's neighborhoods and since the slough was a dead end, it accumulates.  Beautiful herons were hunting from the floating pile of plastic.  Fishermen were fixing their nets and their boats and kids were swimming in the filthy waters.  It was a mix of beauty (birds) and sadness (filth) but also full of life.  There was this old fisherman who gave me a smile and went on with his business of fixing his boat and his net.  Life has to go on. "The fisherman", gouache on 14"x20" cold-pressed paper.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Young Jakarta

I was waiting for my sister at a mega-mall in Jakarta, Indonesia last year.  It was supposed to be a quick, souvenir shopping stop that turned out to be 3 hours long.  Nevertheless, it was fascinating watching well-dressed, young, and hip Jakartans strolling along this 10 level mall.  Interestingly, they weren’t really purchasing anything from the shops.  Even though I enjoyed the youth and the vibrant people in the big city, I was more fascinated by the aged, the ones who probably saw the city grow under a dictatorship and develop into this democratic (so it seemed) megalopolis. This painting is of an old Jakartan.  "Woman from Jakarta", watercolor 9"x12".

Monday, December 10, 2012

In Gabon, women held the family together.  They leave for the fields first thing in the morning and come back before dark.  They tend the fields all day and still find the energy to cook at night.  It was an uneven division of labor.  I tried to show the Gabonese woman's resilience in this painting.  "Mama Antoinette", gouache 10"x14"

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sleeping child

A common sight in Gabonese villages is a mother with a sleeping child wrapped in a sheet. I recall my mother in the Philippines carrying my youngest brother this way also.  This painting is titled "Sleeping child", watercolor on 9"x12" Lanaquarelle paper.   

Monday, October 1, 2012

My younger daughter, who just turned 9 a week ago, has been riding since she was about 5 years old. I thought her love for horses was a just a phase since girls go through their "my little pony" phase all the time.  But, it was a love affair that's going really strong. She thinks everyone who's from Kentucky is really lucky. This is a painting of her when she was 6, titled "Waiting her turn", gouache 11"x14".

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I lived with two Muslim families in Africa: a Fulani family in Cameroon and a Fang family in Gabon. It was interesting seeing the difference in the two families even though they were both Muslim. My Cameroonian host-father's affluence was measured by the number of children and number of cattle he owned. My Gabonese host-father's, on the other hand, was measured by the fancy SUV and cars driven and the success of his company. Both were really good men and did provide for their numerous children. Both did the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that all able-bodied Muslims are supposed to do.  This painting is a dedication to my Hajji host-dads. "The pilgrim", 9"x12" watercolor on hot pressed paper.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


A beignet in Gabon is a circular, deep-fried dough that is covered in sugar.  In the cities, it is as common as manioc or cassava.  In the village, it was a treat.  There was only one woman, the village chief's wife, in the village of Ebe that made beignets and when she was not there, the sweet tooth waited.  This is a small painting of the chief's wife.  "Making beignets", watercolor.