Euphoria in Christmas

Week 13.

Submission of our final assignment: A scene in the story you wrote in class.

Two weeks prior, Professor Kelly gave us the topic for our final assignment. It wasn’t exactly a one word or a one sentence topic. Rather, she posed us with question prompts to craft a story based on our memory, triggered by ‘food’.

For my final piece, I’ve decided to embark on a composition triggered by Chimney Cakes, locally known as Kürtőskalács in Hungary. The flavour of the Chimney Cake I had was cinnamon and sugar.

Here goes my story:
Two years ago, I was at a Christmas market in Hungary. My purpose for being there was pleasure – a Christmas vacation with my parents. The time then was late afternoon/evening, where the skies were turning dark. Though the sun has set, there were still light from the sky. The bulbs from the street lights, as well as the Christmas lightings/decorations contributed to providing light around the area. The air felt cold – a comfortable, cozy cold – and smelled a little smokey due to food being cooked, and wine being mulled, in the stalls around us. I was marvelling at the way Chimney Cakes were made, as well as waiting for my opportunity to savour this lovely cake goodness. I saw people, Christmas lights, trees, and beautiful architecture. There were noises from the crowd and a hint of  varying Christmas songs. Cobblestone tiles were at my feet. Street lamps and the sky were above my head. The Christmas market was set up at an open space area.

Composition Sketches #01 – #03
Sketch #04
Sketch #05
Final Sketch

Euphoria – a feeling of intense excitement and happiness.

The title of my final piece is ‘Euphoria in Christmas‘ because I want to express the state of intense joy I feel during Christmas. Christmas has a euphoric magic on me that I can’t explain. I just feel, happy. The story of my final piece is not based on a dramatic scene. Rather, it is one that is ordinary and can be easily overlooked. It is simply soaking the Christmas atmosphere at a Christmas market. This scene, to me, is one of bliss where I get to enjoy the simplicity of life – being in the moment, not rushing through it, and being with my family.

A Chimney Cake is not a luxurious food item. It is a domestic delicacy one is able to get at an affordable price locally.

Coming from a commercialised, modern Asian city, I am often mesmerised by the architecture in Europe. Perhaps to the masses who grew up with these buildings, the European architecture is nothing special. But to me, the intricacies of these architectures – curves in its details, fascinates me. They contrast the uniform buildings filled with standard shapes and lines that I am used to. There are great details even in the street lamps. Instead of drawing the street lamp that is originally in the picture of the background of my final piece, I decided to draw another lamp which has more intricate details to encapsulate my awe with the details of Europe.

Why have I decided to draw a picture plane of a Christmas festive in Europe, you may wonder. Why not Christmas at home, or Christmas elsewhere – in other continents? Well, I find Christmas in Europe more homely, simplistically, in Europe, than the Christmas we have in Singapore. Not that the Christmas in Singapore isn’t exciting. Rather, it is a little too fancy for a fuzzy feel. Christmas in Europe feels warm and cozy, despite the chilly weather. It is truly a time where families gather. It is also a time I get to spend with my parents without the distractions of the hustle and bustle of the demands of work back home.

Christmas just feels so right to me. I get immensely happy even when I listen to Christmas songs. My final composition is one memory that I would like to keep and relive it. Hopefully it gives the same sense of tranquility and euphoria to you who see it too 🙂 .

As the semester concludes, so will our art class – DA1000. It has been an exciting journey filled with discovery. Art is something I’ve always wanted to try my hand at, but never had the chance to do so. Despite the short duration of thirteen weeks, I’ve learnt a great deal, and feel like I have a more intimate walk with art than I do in the past. Thank you Professor Kelly and all of my course mates for this interesting art journey. It gave me the opportunity for a couple of ‘first times’. From life drawing to clay sculpting, art is a lesson I always look forward to, and would be pumped about. All the best for your upcoming examinations, and your future endeavours. May you have a wonderful winter hauls, and a beautiful Christmas. Till we meet again (hopefully in the next art class), cheers!

Stephanie Composed

Week 12.

Stephanie Composed.

After the two mini activities we did at the start of the lesson, we begin to work on our composition of Stephanie. Unlike other life drawing sessions where we had to focus on the model’s poses, we had to focus on the details around the model – Stephanie, in this composition. In this class, we were taught to make use of the patterns we observe around our subject to bring our composition to life, instead of solely working on the subject itself.

Nature at its finest

The assignment given to us for week 10/11 (to be submitted on week 12) was “Our relationship to Nature“.

We were to talk about our relationship to nature with the aid of these question prompts:

  1. How or where do you interact with nature?
  2. What is nature to you?
  3. How does Singapore the city interact with nature?
  4. How does the commercialisation of nature effect the way you interact with nature?

(We were required to make three sketches investigating different compositions, then make one final drawing.)

Three composition sketches.
Final drawing.

The venue where I decide to base my composition on is Upper Seletar Reservoir.

Nature to me is simple. It is nothing complicated or ‘fancy’. Nature is somewhere I can be myself, be at peace, and appreciate the intricacies of life. Reflecting, I see myself interacting with nature (more so) when I’m abroad. Especially in winter. I remember walking on the pathway of a national park in Slovenia last December – listening to the sounds of water gushing don the stream, the birds chirping, and just taking a deep breath of the cold, fresh air. Bliss. I’m not sure how typical this may be, but my interaction with nature is rooted where the tranquility of it surrounds me. Nature, to me, is not limited to trees, flowers, animals, and water, but the magnanimity of the vast skies included. I love watching the clouds, sunsets, sunrises, and gazing at stars. To describe the sky in one word – breathtaking.

I would say Singapore interacts with nature in a unique way – somewhat like an obligation without (exactly) the negative connotation. For every road paved, or building built, one will notice trees and flowers planted within the vicinity. In fact, Singapore is pride to be a Garden City. Measures as such to incorporate nature into our commercialised state are taken to ensure nature is still present despite our rapid development.

The commercialisation of nature makes me appreciate and value nature – to not take it for granted. It serves as a reminder for me to ‘stop and smell the roses’, or in our context, stop and appreciate the flowers and plants – whatever they may be – and not brush pass them like how Singapore’s increasingly accelerated pace of life is carrying us. Because of the commercialisation of nature, authentic nature became my escape route.

Amongst the three composition sketches that I’ve done, I chose to base my final piece on composition sketch #02 as I found it most apt in describing my relationship to nature, as well as Singapore’s. The sign that displays ‘No fishing’ is an evidence of Singapore’s commercialisation of nature – that while you are given a scenic view and a serene environment, you are not allowed to engage in an activity associated with nature – fishing. Despite the restriction, however, this atmosphere of nature in the tropics is still tranquil – reflecting the authentic nature I seek. One is still able to hear the swishing of the water, observe the reflection of the sun rays glistening on water, see the clouds and birds in the sky, and feel the cozy warm heat on your skin. Albeit the commercialisation of nature in my city, such a venue where authentic nature can be felt exists!

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These are some pictures I took at Upper Seletar Reservoir. Do give this lovely place a visit if you’re ever keen! It’s a scenic place to go for a jog in the early morning and catch the sunrise.

Night Drawing

Week 11.

Class started late for this week’s tutorial as we were doing a night drawing.

Night drawing from the perspective of the road opposite ADM.

We used crayons, pastels, and charcoal on brown paper, to compose this piece of drawing. We were taught to observe the middle tones, light tones, and dark tones of our picture plane. It was fascinating how the night scene of our drawings are brought to life with the use of the appropriate colours. I’m not sure about you, but these days when I walk about at night, I’ll start to take notice of the lights that affect our surroundings, and (possibly) compose a similar picture plane, or a rough sketch, as with the one above, in my head. The wonders that art does to one is curiously amazing.

Life Drawing – IV

Week 10.
(We had no lesson on week 9.)

As the title of this post suggests, we had our fourth life drawing! Only this time, we had a male model instead of a female model as per the previous three life drawing sessions. It was a tricky challenge drawing this week’s life model as he had a muscular and well-defined body. Many details had to be looked into for his features to be brought out. The following are the sketches I did during the lesson (in sequential order – from the start to the end of the tutorial):

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