Friday, 23 December 2016

Season's Greetings!

Merry Christmas everyone! Ho ho ho! I wish you all happiness for this Christmas.

I haven't been really active with this blog lately because the last quarter of this year was so full of action that it kept me busy at work.

There was this new wholesale company that our mother company had set up this year. It required me to come up with an inventory system of some sort and an online website from whence our client could visit and check out our new products.

There were also some challenges regarding our ailing hardware that needed repairs or replacements. Telikom has also migrated to GSM recently and as a result, twice in just a couple of months we've had some serious disruptions to our telephones lines which took some days to reinstate.

But the majority of these challenges are solved now and I have once again, shifted my focus to the normal routines in the company. For example, I am back to assisting the floor managers for any POS machines issues, inventory queries and did some programming for tanGosoft.

And just recently, making some designs for the posters and banner for our Lucky Chance promo.

This is the first design that I drew with a Hanvon Art Media using Paint Tool SAI+ and Adobe Photoshop. It did not get a thumbs up from the management. Later on that day, it has come to my knowledge that it was considered too sexist for the general audience to appreciate, hence it was dropped.

Here's a revised poster to which the management has agreed on getting printed. I used a lot of blue here to establish a connection between the promo and our company's logo, which is also blue.

The Lucky Chance being mentioned is all compressed into this little space we call the Lucky Chance booth. The mechanics of which is to give a chance to any customer who has bought a minimum of K100.00 (P1,400.00) to win a prize or get sorry. I created a program that will select the prize automatically once a finger is scanned on a biometric machine attached to this computer.

Here are the certificates that I designed in Photoshop. The awardees are carefully selected through the recommendations from the floor managers. The awards for this year are Perfect Attendance Award and the Long Service Award. Not all of whom had been recommended would be given awards but only those who had passed through the careful scrutiny of our Branch Manager.

That's all for this week. Happy holidays everyone! 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Drawing and Coloring with Prismacolor Color Pencil

Just recently, I've thought about creating a Youtube channel to broadcast my "How I Draw Portraits" work in progress. The aim of which is to feature speed-videos of me drawing portraits with color pencils, charcoals or watercolor.

At the bottom of this post is a video showing how I added colors on this sketch. I later uploaded that video on the channel. I used the Prismacolor 24 PCS color pencils that my cousin, kuya Jun, had sent me a week ago. He has three identical sets of this so I asked if he could sell me one. He actually ordered the Prismacolor 72 pieces on Ebay but got slightly disappointed when the seller sent a package of three Prismacolor 24 pieces instead.

So, 24 x 3 = 72. Seems valid, right?
I'm not sure if it was false advertising or a lack of clarity from the part of the seller that has misled my cousin into believing he was getting the right thing but the whole bunch of problem could have never happened if things were right in the first place, like putting in the correct description, for example.

Anyhow, he did send an email to the seller, politely informing him of the ruckus. I don't know what has happened after that but I have volunteered to buy one from my cousin so that I could try it. Here's the video of that test.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Painting and Mont Marte Watercolor Paints Review

Painting is an extension of drawing. It adds life to a pencil sketch or an inked art. While almost all of us have started as children who can doodle vivid images straight away from our little visual imagery with just about anything in hand, not all will grow up as descendants of Picasso or Da Vinci.

Perhaps as we grow older, our fondness for art subsides to a cryogenically preserved state due to intervening circumstances. The quest for getting good grades, house chores, new found friendship or even having unsupportive parents are just some of the things that may get in the way.

But why revive a hibernating fascination to art, you say?

Well, uhm, according to some scientific studies, getting oneself immersed in some artistic undertakings can have a positive effect to our brain and to our well-being. Sketching, for instance, increases our creativity and improves motor skills.

Painting, on the other hand, can have more beneficial impacts than drawing alone. According to Fox Hill Residences, painting could improve the overall quality of life. The following are six great benefits of painting that promotes mental health and life in general:

·         Fosters creative growth.
·         Strengthens memory.
·         Builds Problem-Solving and Motor Skills
·         Offers Stress Relief
·         Promotes Optimistic Attitude.
·         Nurtures Emotional Growth.

I guess I was in the right direction when, in the latter months of 2014, I began to scale down on other stressful activities and chose to resuscitate the dying artistic side of me.

Having said too much about painting, I feel a bit guilty for blowing up the introduction. Hence, let’s move on to our simple review of the Mont Marte Paints in 12 tubes.

Pinoy in Papua New Guinea by Glen Villar
Here are my Mont Marte watercolor brushes that I bought from Theodist. As opposed to acrylic or oil brushes, these have soft bristles. I originally did not know that watercolor needs particular brushes, until I noticed that I had been damaging papers from using the wrong brush. 

There are four ingredients to a good watercolor painting: perseverance, the quality of paints, the strength of paper and the right set of brushes.  If you have any of these, consider yourself lucky. 

Pinoy in Papua New Guinea by Glen Villar
Just recently, I discovered these two items at Theodist. I’m not sure why other stationery shops here in Papua New Guinea do not bother selling quality art materials like these, but I’m thankful that Theodist does.

The Mont Marte Watercolour Pad, in A4 size, is a 300-gsm cold press paper. It’s thicker than the average photocopy paper and is textured. The Mont Marte Watercolour paints come in 12 tubes filled with richly pigmented colors.

Pinoy in Papua New Guinea by Glen Villar
That is a good addition to my Mont Marte Two Seasons watercolors, which has 18 tubes of more subtle colors. I have a similar post about the Two Seasons which you can read on this link.

Pinoy in Papua New Guinea by Glen Villar
Here’s my sketch on the Mont Marte Watercolour paper for this painting. After some experimenting, I have established four types of pencil sketches for different media. For anime-inspired sketch, pencil sketch is more sharper. For charcoal portrait, it needs to be firm but subtle. For color pencil, the sketch should be almost invisible and for watercolour, the lines have to be sharp and the shades sketched roughly or a little bluntly.

The model that I’m about to paint is of someone that I browsed from Google by typing “Beautiful Face” on the search bar. It’s funny that when I browse this again, her photo doesn’t show up in the list anymore.

I hope she doesn’t get on me if she finds out that I made a watercolor portrait of her.

Pinoy in Papua New Guinea by Glen Villar
Here’s the sketch taped on the board. The board is just the backboard of an ordinary A4 photo frame. I’m using a masking tape to stretch the paper on the board. The paper usually warps when applied on with too much water. This technique, somehow, reduces that effect.

Pinoy in Papua New Guinea by Glen Villar
I love to use the medium-sized brush in the beginning. I usually start with applying transparent colors on areas that I expect to have darker shades.

Here’s the final product of using Mont Marte Watercolour Paints and Mont Marte Two Seasons Watercolour. Both watercolors complement each other very well and adheres nicely on the Mont Marte Watercolour paper.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

A Men’s Day Special and a Tent Review

A week before the Father’s Day, many storeowners in Port Moresby have probably thought of this as a good time to ramp up sales while disposing off slow moving items. The idea manifested itself through a barrage of promotional gimmicks offering big discounts on selected items.

Of the particular targets whose marketing strategists have in mind for the special occasion are men in general and a more socially acknowledged title for such promotion is “Father’s Day Special.”  But I somehow feel that such title is restrictive on its sense and is just specifically aimed at enticing all fathers alone.

It was probably one of those widely approved, yet hastily thought of millennial catch phrases and I think that this, in particular, has a downside of potentially alienating married men who haven’t had the luck of producing offspring.

Therefore, to appreciate married men of all sort, childless or with children, legally separated or not, divorced or still counting years, this young blogger shall refer to this event as “A Men’s Day Special” instead.

During such occasions, shops are full of surprises indeed. I bought this tent for K50 ($16 USD) at City Pharmacy, which is just next to our office. The regular price is probably around twice the amount. I have misplaced a small paper that is attached to its bag. It has its brand name of Chinese origin, which I find too verbose to remember.

I’ll edit this post up once I found that piece of paper.

This tent has frames like that of an umbrella which is visible once spread out. As much as possible, I refrain from buying things that I have no need for the time being. But I got some friends from other companies who were planning a camping trip to Koitaki and it was probably wise to buy a tent ahead of the schedule. It was one of a kind, to say the least.

I have never slept an entire night out on a camping site away from the safety of familiar sleeping quarter. But during my younger days, I used to sleep out the nights close to rice paddies on the harvest season if you could count that as camping.

The tent did not come with an instruction manual so I had to sit down and figure this thing out for a while. There is a string that went to the bottom of the frame and was knotted at the end. I thought that if I pulled it all the way up, it might do some wonder.

And it did, to my surprise.

Just like that and the tent is set in an instant all after literally pulling some strings up.Some tents are not so hard to assemble after all.

There were plenty of grounds in which our cute tent could be tested and an ideal location was our parking area but I did not want to risk looking silly so I set it up on my bed instead. A 1-Person tent has a standard size of 7x5 feet but I think that this one is a bit smaller. There is a tiny window at the opposite of the door and a mesh to screen off bugs.

The screen mesh alludes to the idea of having the tent fortified with basic protection against malaria or dengue-carrying mosquitoes buzzing around the camping area.

The door has a sufficient opening to which I could comfortably go in and out.

It can be zipped up from either sides. Similarly, there is a mesh to filter off insects when you decide to snug in.

Here’s the view from the inside overlooking the, uhm, grandiose view of my study table.

Looking forward to that camping trip.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Filipino Associations In PNG: FAPNG and LFAI

One of the prominent Filipino associations that I know of in Papua New Guinea is the FAPNG whose office is in Port Moresby. There is a similar association based in Lae called LFAI or the Lae Filipino Association, Inc. 

While it's a fact that they have been functioning around for quite some time, I haven’t been too concern about joining. Perhaps during the past few years, I was fine with doing things by myself and I didn’t see the merit of being in one of the group.

Just recently, the talks about an election of officers for FAPNG have reached our doorsteps through a co-worker named Levi, who is also a candidate for the secretarial position. And a few days ago, kuya Tony, who is an old-timer in PNG has sent us a couple of membership forms.

Now that I have started blogging about my experiences in PNG, I might as well try and blog about the good things that FAPNG is doing to promote camaraderie among the Filipinos living in this country.  But I am more interested to blog about their projects and community services that directly relate to the betterment of local communities.

So it has come to pass that I’ve decided to join.

This is the logo of the FAPNG (pronounced as fapnang) and I took this shot during one of our company’s Christmas Staff Parties which was held at FAPNG’s Club House.

A couple of days ago, I received this receipt from them confirming my payment for the membership fee. The document behind is a list of certain privileges that a Filipino can get as benefits for being an active member of the association.  The paper with colorful prints just behind the receipt is, I guess, a flyer from one of the aspiring parties trying to inform us of their good intention to serve in administrative positions if they win the polls this upcoming FAPNG officer election.

That will be on the 30th of October, 2016. I am off by then so I’m looking forward to drop by the Club House and cast my vote.

This is one of the activities that happened during our Staff Party at FAPNG Club House: a few staffs are seen enjoying the music while some are lining up at the background to check on the free food.

What I love about our company is that it makes sure that all of the staffs are not going to go home hungry. Here’s one of the staff with his fair share of the freebies.

Mmmm, isn't that cake lovely?

Like how a party venue should look like in the end, we actually have left behind some garbage around despite our efforts to keep the place clean.  But it’s a good thing there’s not much of rubbish to clean for these two gentlemen who immediately came to sweep around as soon as everyone was out.

Thank you guys!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Mont Marte Two Seasons Watercolor

Two years ago, I posted on my Facebook page that I would not be painting portraits anytime soon. This is because during that time, my accompanying art skills were on par with that of a Kindergarten learning to draw. My favourite tool back then was a mechanical pencil, which was a gift from my friend, Ali, who came to work for our branch in Daru. Nowadays, I believe that my art skill is still around the Kindergarten level, but with a slightly pronounced improvement. I have also welcomed the opportunity to try out other art mediums, like the watercolor in particular.

This is the Two Seasons watercolor from Mont Marte, which I bought for K30+ kina from Theodist. The paints come in tubes that look pretty durable. Cheaper watercolor brands in tubes are often plaqued by unnecessary problems like a leak from the bottom and breakage along the lines near the cap. But with Two Seasons, you can get your money’s worth and you couldn’t be happier.

Here’s a pencil sketch that I drew for this blog entry. Most of the art pieces that belong to a watercolor artist begin from a simple pencil sketch.  I drew mine with less shade and a little subtle so the lines wouldn’t show up too much in the end product.

I have a well lit custom-made drawing table where I carry out my sketching. However, it doesn’t have enough space to accommodate all these panting tools so I had to clear up the things on my laptop table and did the setup there.

This brush holder is the latest addition to my painting tools. The price is around K9+ from Theodist. Those watercolor brushes are new ones too. My first impression of brushes is that all brushes are the same and are all suitable for water-based paints. My updated realization is that not all brushes are cut out for watercolor painting. There are brushes that look subtle in appearance, but can become a threat to the paper in an instance so it is always a good thing to check the labels before making the purchase.

These brushes have a “watercolor” label on the package.

I’m very new to watercolor painting. Having said that, I guess I am allowed to use a “scratch pad” for testing the intensity of paints before I actually apply them on the drawing. One surprising advantage of watercolor painting is that you can easily dismiss a mistake for style.

As the scratch pad is filled up with psychedelic swatches of paints, the art piece itself is slowly taking form. The pencil strokes becomes less visible and the once two-dimensional drawing becomes a bit alive from the constant application of shades.

Here’s the end product. Overall, I have spent roughly thirty minutes for the pencil sketch and some two hours for the application of watercolor paints.

Happy painting everyone! 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

One Sunny Day in Adventure Park

“Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
Hans Christian Andersen

To live a life that is gratifying in most respects requires a good insight, a warm approach to what is at hand, and a clever anticipation of what is yet to come.  But the secret to happiness, as Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes has once said in the past, is learning to appreciate the moment and taking great pleasure in being right where we are, right now, doing what we’re doing.

Just recently, my co-workers and I had gone off to a picnic at Pacific Adventist University (PAU). That day, we also agreed on checking out the Port Moresby’s Adventure Park that was just a walking distance across PAU.

This is the entrance to the Park. That fountain in the middle was not functioning when I took this photo. Later on that day, it was shooting water in every direction. I guess we just came in a little early. While I am not a fan of basking under the sun, those who do will probably drool over the place for getting such a generous serving of sunlight. At 9:00 am, on a clear weather, the heat is still tolerable in Adventure Park but wearing a cap or a brim hat is probably the next important thing to bringing a camera.

Like the trails that I found in Port Moresby Nature Park, most of the trails here are bordered with plants and lofty trees. There are a couple of bench and tables on the sides to which we can sit down and get acclimatized to the surrounding temperature  before going further to other areas around the park.

I love that the leaves form an arc overhead, they remind me of saber arch where the bride and groom shall pass under during a wedding ceremony.

There is a pond with enough water to float a yacht located in the center of the park. These paddle boats moored to the shoal can be rented for a minimal price. I actually thought it would be much easier to get across the other end of the park by way of this boat rather than walking around the pond, but I figured I hadn’t been in a boat since 1999 and I was a bit thalassaphobic.

But I consider myself to be a fairly good swimmer. During my younger days in Cagayan De Oro City, my two older brothers and cousins have enjoyed the liberty of swimming back and forth from the edges of Cagayan De Oro River to a small islet on its center in many occasions. I have swum with them once after getting a good assurance that all of them would save me if I drowned. I managed to have done the same without drowning.

In retrospect, it was worth the try.

 The Cagayan De Oro River. Photo Credits: Kuwentos 

In this picture says, “Tree Kangaro, an icon of PNG.” I’m actually more inclined to think of the Paradise Bird as an iconic representation of PNG but I guess the Tree Kangaroo is a good contender.

Thriving within the large aviaries are the Victoria Crowned Pigeons or the Royal Bird of PNG. These are really big pigeons that looked more like a peacock than a pigeon. The feathers on their heads are formed in such a way that it characterizes a crown.

Going deeper through the densely planted aviaries, I came across these birds that were being fed at that time. These birds are called the Goldie Lorikeets.

These are the Stella Lorikeets. Like the Goldie Lorikeets, these birds are also full of colours but the dominating shade is red. Those wooden boxes attached to the walls serve as their house, which encourage breeding.

Metal arch trellis are mounted on chosen footpaths to encourage the growth of vines and to cast a shadow of comfort to those would walk underneath.

Here’s a resident tree kangaroo munching on his breakfast. Each of these has a dedicated space of more than 20 square meters of fenced ground and a tree to climb.

Here’s a Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo, resting on a branch with its tail dangling down. Let’s assume that this particular kangaroo is a male and in the meantime, let’s pay no attention to other visual factors that might link it to being a female so we can conveniently refer to it as  a cute little “him.”

He was resting obliviously like this when walked past underneath. How many of us would sometimes wish that we were a happy-go-lucky kangaroo like him?

Uhm, how about a panda, anyone?

Here’s how these tree kangaroos are well taken care off. Large roaming space and big tree to hang onto.

In an apparent bid to make the habitat of the denizen birds to be as natural and as comforting to them as possible, the aviaries are built to be large enough to allow such trees to grow inside. These trees get a regular trimming to prevent branches from protruding through the ceiling.

When I was a child, I thought of an ideal Christmas scene as a snow-laden street with various Christmas lights hanging on every corner. This is usually with a presence of someone who is plump enough to dress like Santa Claus who gets munificently compensated to hang around and to greet everyone  with “Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas” in a loud but gleefully modulated voice. Such a scene is not always without a piƱata of one or two reindeers. Now that I think about it, this is the first time that I saw a deer alive.

Here’s a wild flower that I found in the park. They say that our personality is reflected by the kind of flowers we tend to like. Say, for example, if one is more likely to get drawn to the colour of red rose, then one is probably an enthusiastic person and oftentimes the life of the party.

I like pink orchids and I like to sleep.

And here’s a diorama of an epic battle featuring an unfortunate herbivore dinosaur that has fallen prey to the ferocity of blue Velociraptors. The ‘raptors are predatory carnivores that opportunely munch on anything that walks on Earth including the T-Rex if given the chance during the Cretaceous period.  As opposed to what we see in this picture, no one really knows exactly what a dinosaurs’ colors originally were. However, recent studies suggested that the most probable color they might have had, like the T-Rex in particular, was purple.

Barney was the closest to the real thing after all.

Walking around the park during a hot and sunny day is like one of any strenuous activities that may occasionally require the doer a rest and go somewhere less hot; like a bench under a tree, for example. The metal fixtures in this photo are actually garden tables retrofitted with planes on both sides to serve as seats. They looked like floating seats actually.

While kuya Levi is relishing the refreshing outcome of being a benchwarmer sitting in a lackadaisical manner, my thoughts are with the tables. Regular tables have flat and solid surface but I noticed that these ones were crafted with chain-link surfaces, which I find a bit baffling.  When I say baffling, I mean baffling enough to make me think of the following questions in mind.

Was it designed this way to...

... let the leftover foods or breadcrumbs fall down easily and feed any living things below?
... keep bird droppings from piling up on the table tops?
... let us see our legs if they are being bitten by mosquitoes?

The pond is probably the heart of this park, and sitting closely to it feels like I’m part of the picturesque view.

A park is not without a recreational equipment. Here’s a caring dad tending to his kids on a swingset. It’s probably one of the sweetest things a father can do for his children.

Although a picture is not the best way to depict an amusement ride in action such as a spinning Ferris wheel or a rotating carousel, these two were operating nicely when we walked past by. One can go to these rides for a minimal fee. We did not try and board one but I would convince my friends to try these out on our unscheduled next visit.

Positioned near the parking area next to the roadside are these life-sized statues of various animals. In the wild, it is not common to see a panda resting next to a Siberian tiger but perhaps it is for some educational reason that they were placed altogether in one setting.

This fenced area is an orchid garden and a bird sanctuary. From the looks of it, I suppose that a large fraction of the park’s landscaping job is dedicated to this area. If it were not for our protesting tummies, we would have gone there and had a look of what were inside. But it was time to head back home and catch some sleep and check out our favorite TV dramas.
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