Evelien Lohbeck

The award-winning video below is from Evelien Lohbeck, an animation study graduate from the Netherlands. I watched it for the first time only today, although it’s been around the web for quite some time now. When I saw the video, I was blown away! I couldn’t believe the imagination and creativity I was seeing! And I’ve seen quite a lot of stunning, creative animations already! This one surprised me in that it’s somehow a crossing point for traditional drawing, cel and stop-motion animation, and computer animation; only, I can’t quite place which one is the dominant process. At time 0:13 when she pressed the “on” button, to 0:16 when XP started to boot up (complete with that familiar Microsoft sound) and down to 0:34 when she started typing YouTube’s URL in the Google search bar, I was mumbling to myself, “What the #%$*, how the heck did she do that??!”  Well, that’s just the start of her amazing work! And the way she incorporated her hands in this video is akin to witnessing an unbelievable sleight-of-hand show! It’s like magic! Why, even the design of her website is fantastic! I take my hat off to you, Evelien!!! Brilliant work!!!

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Earth Day

I was checking my mail in AOL when I came across an article about archived images that NASA released recently in celebration of Earth Day. The pictures serve as both reminders and warnings of how beautiful– and at the same time, fragile– our planet Earth is. The message is simple: Earth is the only planet we live in. It is beautiful! So let us protect it and keep it preciously that way.

NASA infrared photo of Morenci Mine, AZ

NASA infrared photo of Morenci Mine in Arizona, U.S.A.

Original Caption Released with Image:
The Morenci open-pit copper mine in southeast Arizona is North America’s leading producer of copper. In the 1860s, prospectors arrived looking for gold; instead they found copper. Underground mining began in the 1870s, and the first pit was opened in 1939. Phelps Dodge employs over 200 people in the mining and refining operations. Around-the-clock removal of 700,000 tons of rock per day results in production of 382 thousand tons of copper per year. Phelps Dodge is now developing the Safford Mine, about 12 km southwest of Morenci. It will be the first new copper mine in the US in more than 30 years. When production starts in 2008, the Safford Mine will produce 109 thousand tons of copper. This ASTER image uses shortwavelength infrared bands to highlight in bright pink the altered rocks in the Morenci pit associated with copper mineralization.

The image covers an area of 21 x 16.9 km, was acquired on July 14, 2007, and is centered near 33.1 degrees north latitude, 109.5 degrees west longitude.

The U.S. science team is located at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Image Credit:
NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

I find the picture above sooo beautiful and it reminded me of the colorful abstract/expressionist works of de Kooning, Kandinsky, Rouault, Pollock and Gorky. Who would have thought that an infrared shot of an open-pit copper mine could produce such stunning image?! It is no doubt that the deeper we look into nature, the more beauty we can find. That is, if there is still anything left in nature that we can look at– considering the dire state of the environment we are in now. If we treat our planet Earth as our “home” in the same way we treat our own house as our abode, then we would have made the first step in our constructive efforts sympathetic to Earth’s survival. Save and conserve energy, recycle, plant trees, don’t throw trash into the river, turn the lights off when not in use, etc.– yes, these phrases might be clichés already. But they are also irrevocably, undeniably true. If we don’t see the truth in these tasks, then we as a people will all perish first long before the non-biodegradable trash we throw wantonly around shows up on top of our ashes and graves.

a man and his abstract future

a man and his abstract future, 11″x14″, acrylic, colored pencil, marker and crayon on Strathmore Sketch 400-series, 60-lb paper

And since earth rotates on its axis every day and revolves around the sun every year, then let’s give our own share and keep practicing Earth Day 24/7,  365.25 days, year in and year out.

How Sweet It Is…!

Here are two drawings that I did while listening to James Taylor‘s “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You.”  It is the title of a song written by the Motown songwriting trio of Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian Holland and Edward Holland, Jr.. It was originally recorded in 1964 by the great Marvin Gaye. But it was James Taylor’s version (from his 1975 Gorilla album) that I’ve come to know by heart.

how sweet it is to be loved by you!

how sweet it is to be loved by you!, 11"x8.5", pastel on Winsor & Newton 65-lb paper

How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you

I needed the shelter of someone’s arms, there you were
I needed someone to understand my ups and downs, there you were
With sweet love and devotion
Deeply touching my emotion
I want to stop and thank you baby
I want to stop and thank you baby (yes I do)

How sweet it is to be loved by you (feel so fine)
How sweet it is to be loved by you

I close my eyes at night
Wondering where would I be without you in my life
Everything I did was just a bore
Everywhere I went it seems I’d been there before
But you brighten up for me all of my days
With a love so sweet in so many ways
I want to stop and thank you baby
I just want to stop and thank you baby (whoa, yeah)

How sweet it is to be loved by you (it’s just like sugar sometimes)
How sweet it is to be loved by you

(Whoa, yeah)

You were better to me than I was to myself
For me, there’s you and there ain’t nobody else
I want to stop and thank you baby
I just want to stop and thank you baby (whoa, yes)

How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you (whoa, now)
How sweet it is to be loved by you (it’s like jelly, baby, whoa now)
How sweet it is to be loved by you (just like honey to the bee babe, yeah now)
How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you!

let me count the ways

let me count the ways, 12"x9", pen and ink on Strathmore 400-series, 60-lb Sketch paper

lyrics courtesy of :    http://www.sing365.com

Happy Easter!

If art were…

If art were a basketball team and I was the water boy– and I was given the reward of making my one, own wish come true (because I always kept the water and towels clean and readily available), then my wish would be to assemble a group of twelve players that will comprise my own “Dream Team.” So, here goes:

Leonardo da Vinci____________________________Center
Michelangelo Buonarroti_______________________Center
Rembrandt van Rijn___________________________Power Forward
Jackson Pollock______________________________Power Forward
Arshile Gorky________________________________Power Forward
Georges Rouault______________________________Power Forward/Sixth Man
Vincent van Gogh_____________________________Small Forward
Cesar Legaspi________________________________Small Forward
Willem de Kooning____________________________Shooting Guard
Jack Hamm__________________________________Shooting Guard
Pablo Picasso________________________________Point Guard
Wassily Kandinsky____________________________Point Guard

Giotto di Bondone____________________________Head Coach

My starting five would be Picasso, de Kooning, Rembrandt, van Gogh and da Vinci. And I would love my “first five” to play against any powerhouse first team composed of– maybe– Cezanne, Matisse, Raphael, Sargent and Dürer.  Wow! That game is surely going to be a blast, perhaps enough to pass as the ultimate dream match– with flying colors! Woohoo!!! (Somehow, I can hear some people asking, “What about Degas, Monet, Vermeer, Klee and Doré?…or Renoir, Klimt, Rubens, Schiele and Velázquez?”…Beats me!)

Why I like them:

Leonardo da Vinci – he is a tower of power, no doubt! I cannot imagine a team without him because he just dominates the paint area without equal!  As the last line of defense, nothing gets past his meticulous eye, and his ambidexterity enables him to block the ball from virtually any direction– a new kind of defensive approach called “the cross-hatch maneuver.”

Michelangelo Buonarroti – the same qualities as da Vinci’s, although Michelangelo’s much bigger, sculpted body gets in the way of his agility sometimes. He is a master of the “skyhook,” a hook shot so elegantly done it’s almost like watching an artist paint a fresco on a ceiling!

Rembrandt van Rijn – this guy can do almost anything. He is the current slam-dunk champion, and he can play the shaded area and the rainbow area with equal mastery. He is what I call a “chiaroscuro” player, “light” and “dark,”  finesse and power rolled into one.

Jackson Pollock – a real offensive threat, he can dribble around his defenders on the hardcourt much like an action painter drips paints on his canvas.

Arshile Gorky –  a pure shooter with tremendous post-up skills.

Georges Rouault – he is my sixth man and Mr. Instant Offense. He can guard the big guys and his offensive rebounding skill is unmatched. He is called “The Old King” by his teammates because of his mastery of the age-old skill of boxing out his opponents for the rebound.

Vincent van Gogh – known as the nut case of the team, he practically reinvented the ball game. His colorful antics off the court are overshadowed only by his prodigious output on the floor. He cuts the lane in so many different ways and drives to the hoop acrobatically, evading even a triple-team defense! His uncanny, creative ways of drawing foul every time he drives to the basket earned him the nickname “the artist.” And when he’s not making those easy twos, he’s painting the rainbow area with his three-point shots.

Cesar Legaspi – the first Filipino import to play in the big league, he hasn’t disappointed everyone with his offensive prowess, especially his fade-away three-point shots.

Willem de Kooning – arguably the best shooting guard in the league, he is essentially a shorter version of Gorky with an excellent dribbling ability to boot. When playing alongside Gorky, they constitute the best pick and roll tandem in the league.

Jack Hamm – one of the quickest guards in the league, he is the master of the “give and go” offensive play. And as the only player in the league with a perfect free-throw percentage, he is given the monicker “Mr. Charity”–  for all the free (charity) shots he made without miss.

Pablo Picasso – the ultimate point guard, he is by far the fastest player in the league. His court generalship is legendary in that his blind passes, crossover dribbling and bounce passes have yet to be telegraphed by any opposing team. Built like a 100-meter sprinter, his size is far bigger than the typical point guard, making it difficult for his defender(s) to overpower him.

Wassily Kandinsky – probably the only point guard that can match the versatility of Picasso in distributing the ball. He has the best defensive skills among all the point guards and leads the league in  steals. He can read the moves of the player he’s guarding much like reading into his opponent’s mind– earning him the nickname “Abstract.”

Giotto di Bondone – the head coach of the team, he is also known by his monicker, “Seven,” because he is the only player in the league’s history to have played all the positions during his career:  point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center, sixth man, and now, as head coach. Back during his playing days, he was known as “Mr. Perspective” because of his overall command in every aspect of the game. His natural position as a player was as a power forward.

My need for God

drop that metal, for your own sake!, 11"x14", ink and acrylic on Strathmore Drawing 400-series, 80-lb paper

drop that metal, for your own sake!, 11"x14", ink and acrylic on Strathmore Drawing 400-series, 80-lb paper

With all the news of murder that’s happening around us, it is disheartening to know that life seems that fleeting after all. One moment you are full of hopes and dreams and the next instant you’re gone– either as a result of someone else’s undoing, or worse, your own! Here in the U.S. (and probably elsewhere, too), one reads or watches the news and all that can be had is one bad economic news after another. Now, really, that is not at all that depressing, as economy is subject to the usual vicissitudes of market speculation. But to hear of news about a parent killing his/her own family (and then committing suicide) for any reason whatsoever, or someone going amuck because of personal grievances, is downright discouraging! I’m beginning to think that the line separating reason and insanity is but a thin one. Indeed, the hardest challenge one can ever face is his/her personal battle against his/her own demons– be they anxieties, jealousy, pride, lust, impatience, irascibility, etc. The effect of one’s own irresponsible action becomes a double-edged sword that causes harm to both that person and the others around him/her. It is mind-boggling to learn of seemingly normal people snapping out of their minds and doing inconceivable crimes! A bad time can really bring out the worst in anyone! And when really bad things really happen, I sometimes hear other people asking if there is ever really a God. But the more important question might well have been, “Did that person (who committed the wrongdoing) believe in God?” For one’s faith in a Divine power can surely put a righteous sense in one’s reasoning! I’m not arguing the fact that even non-believers are capable of good deeds. Because, certainly, they are also kindhearted individuals and some are even outstanding members in their respective communities! Moreover, I do not intend to be judgmental (even if I appear I do) for the simple reason that I have not walked in their shoes and therefore have no revealing idea how they came about their own beliefs. I’m just baffled by the thought of how they even manage to stay on the right track in times of great personal crisis! Perhaps, the answer lies in the abundance of God’s love. This proves that God sees through the clear conscience in our hearts and probes into the real motives in our intentions. Truly, God values more our character than our reputation. And all that is genuinely good is God’s! In fact, I believe He already knows who are His own– irrespective even of human understanding or how one perceives himself/herself to be. On the other hand, one who doesn’t believe in a Divine Being does not necessarily mean that he/she hates God. It just shows his/her indifference toward a greater power over the liberal views and capabilities of his/her mind– that which cannot be seen and proven scientifically is non-existent. Nevertheless, speaking just for myself, when I am faced with a very, very dispiriting challenge, I always call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for His help. Not that He has granted all that I’ve ever asked of Him. But He has answered my prayers on the most troubling periods of my life! And recalling those lowest moments, I realized He didn’t leave me at all anyhow! I am still alive and I believe in God!

hell ain't cool!

hell ain't cool!, 12"x9", ink and acrylic on Bienfang 70-lb white paper