This is where I share a mix of my illustration and a touch of pretty things and places I've discovered in my day.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Tapei on bikes.

It was a beautiful sunny day at the start of winter so we rented bikes underneath a bridge by the river park in Banqiao. There's a cycling path that runs all along the river into Tapei - it's flat all the way and easy for a two and a half hour ride. It was great cycling and singing in the sun.

We cycled to meet another friend close to the National University - had some dumplings for lunch and went to relax in Daan park - a big green park with lots of unknown trees as well as locals engaging in all kinds of strange activities. We took it easy for a while and then cycled through central Tapei - It was wonderful - the Taiwanese people are extremely tolerant towards people on vehicles - so we could cycle with ease on the city pavements. We passed the National Palace Theatre, Chiang Kai Shek memorial, and then stopped at a GREAT second hand shop for some vintage purchases.

We cycled halfway back - over the river and on the little cycling path in the dark - It felt as if the city belonged to me. After dropping off the bikes we had hotpot for dinner - the Taiwanese love this dish - veggies, seafood and all kinds of meat are dropped into a big pot of boiling water and then mixed with different sauces. I was so tired I almost fell face first in the hotpot after an extremely tiring and satisfying day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The reason.

So if my blogging updates seems to be a bit slow at times... here is the reason why - my kindergarden class - I love every one of them - but they suck up my energy like a thirsty vacuum cleaner, so let me introduce them to you:

Ian is a funny little boy, quiet most times - but then sometimes he gets a little naughty grin and tell me things like "teacher Roro you're fat" - and then runs away. Eva is a very sweet girl - a bit of a pretty tomboy and very much loved by the rest of her classmates. Shelley is a very emotional little girl - she will be happy, she'll cry, and be seriously angry every day...oo I wonder what her teenage years will be like. Iris is a sweet little girl who loves to draw rabbits and hearts - she wears such cute clothes some days. Andrew is a touchy feely boy - he always kiss the girls and tells me who he wants to marry (last week it was Eva). Donald is a good kid - he's mom is a teacher so he's pretty good - he gets alot of nosebleeds. Ethan makes me laugh - he's really chilled out and funny, I'd totally be his friend.

Joanne is a quiet girl - but likes to come sit close to me some days - very sweet. Jolin is Iris's best friend - also very girly - but pretty shy and soft spoken - she really likes to draw and I really like that. If someone is in a boyband someday it'll be Robert, he likes to sing and do the moves - and he has the looks too. He's good at drawing too and at the moment draws police officers everyday.

Steven is a clever boy - he's creative and draws interesting pictures, he's very cool at the moment and I have to tell him to pack his sunglasses away quite often. Tiger's grandma knits really nice cardigans - he said I was too big unfortunately she can't knit me one. Justin was thrown with a water bottle by the previous teacher..who's no longer there..shame, he's a happy bouncy little boy. Shawn and I are working on our relationship. Eric is a little star - he's just great in class, and lastly there is Wilson - phew too tired - gotta go..

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Scary Gods.

First we heard the music. It sounded like all the worst soul wrenching sounds in the world combined into one LOUD trumpet. Terrible.
Then we saw the succession. It was really weird. Little lighted trucks carrying huge signs with elaborate embroidering on, kids with
drums, hopping altars with little dolls on, dragons and the huge scary puppets representing the Gods - amongst others.
It was a Taoist ceremony and the reason could've been one of many: It was a special day on their calender and they were pleasing
the Gods (who apparently love the worst music in the world) They were moving the Gods from one temple to another - or some
political candidate rented them to bring good luck with the upcoming election (another story in itself). What makes it even more strange
is the fact that you are such an outsider - you can't ask anyone what is going on? - why why why? - and when it's over and you talk to
someone that you can ask - they won't necessarily know all the detail. There are so many people in this city that one weird festival
can be one of any Taoist sect with their own dogma and hardcore beliefs. It fascinates me to see how people develop an idea over
centuries to find their religion and set of beliefs around it - and the end result is often HUH!?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's raining it's raining.

What to do on a listless weekend.. It had been raining for more than a week. So I decided to make a necklace and buy some stationary to send as gifts and to use in my sketchbook. The stationary shop near Taipower Building is huge and packed with anything you can think of. The have SO MANY little books it's really hard to choose - then there are the pens and the stickers, the cards, all the erasers and the tape! I'm very happy when I actually need something from there...

The necklace turned out to be really easy to make - All the jewelery here is very dainty so I was happy to add a some chunky colour to my wardrobe. I'll be opening an etsy shop soon - so I'm exploring with different product this space.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I love the weekend.

It started with a high speed train journey out of Taipei and some good pizza (hard to find) in Hsinchu. We spent the night in Miaoli - a breather away from the crazy bussiness of Banqiao. Onwards with a wonderful scooter outing to a little woodcarving town. The streets were filled with a distinctive wooden incense - the wood is as fine as powder and it burns in a little bowl. There were cute plants in little sidewalk gardens and a woodcarving museum (slight yawn). Off too another small quaint ( also hard to find - the Chinese don't really do quaint) old railway village. All while munching on sweet fresh pineapple while riding on the scooter. The village was filled with wooden tea houses and restaurants in between the trees, with fairy lights and the smell of sesame sweets. When we arrived it was a bit late to explore - we will be back! We finished the weekend off with a big meal in a cool retro restaurant - with our good company and host of the weekend :). Then back to the working week.. with boring meetings and were our dreams are sometimes the most exciting happening of the day. Sigh.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tucheng forest.

Tapei is surrounded with beautiful forests and mountains - it's not far away and your'e bound to pass a temple and some interesting
stalls on the way up the winding road. The forest is dark, wet, quiet and green.
The plants are extremely happy and the forest feels so alive - the perfect place to escape to and get some peace after a crazy week
- with kids, traffic, and just the general busyness of big city life.
While we were sitting on a wooden deck in a little cafe in the forest it started pouring down with rain. HEAVY rain.
It was so peaceful with a bottle of wine and some time with my sketchbook.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wow! Macau!

So we took a little forced trip to Macau for a visa run. What a weird place - and HOT - it was sweltering!
HUGE Casino's everywhere with crazy lights and very modern architecture (some terribly kitch) The weird contrast about it all is once you go inside the casino's it is so B O R I N G.
The Chinese people don't drink - so everyone sips tea while playing the same card game - everywhere. It's very serious.
No music - no dancing - no crazziness and no laughing. You definetly wouldn't have foundd Hunter S Thompson here. But if you dis he defintelywouldn't have blend in, ha. Luckily there where delicious egg tarts! Something the Portugese left behind - Lovely savoury/sweet crumbly pastry with an dark yellow custard type filling, mmmmmm!
We spend a lot of time on foot exploring - stopping for some beer, eggtarts and drawing at the delightful Magaret's Cafe.
Something terrible here: Abalone restaurants - I'm pretty sure some of our SA poached abalone and rhino horn end up here - there's lots of shops with disgusting dried things (???) where I'm sure you'll find some rhino horn too x-( .
I also came across something else to eat... mmmm glove fish!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lo' Taiwan

After arriving in Taiwan, one of the first little towns we set out to explore is Yingge - A little pottery town on the outskirts of Tapei. It's quite commercial - though it was way to hot to explore to find hidden gems. I spotted one beautiful studio we walked passed - how beautiful is the water lilly in a traditional Chinese ceramic bowl in the dark wood studio!
The place we had lunch was an inspiration for a sketchbook page - it was filled with retro objects - scarce here - and the food was delicious - lots of freash veggies with a hot chilli sauce, washed down with an iced coffee and rum. yum.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Goodbye Cape Town studio

Hello and welcome to my blog!
I'm starting off with a tribute to my studio I've left behind in Cape Town - or more like packed up and dismantled - as I'm making my way towards Taipei.
We're (my boyfriend and I) traveling to teach, draw, get inspired and explore the East in the year or so to come.

Well first to the things I love which (some of) is left behind:
  1. Illustrated poster of Andrew Rae - I've had it up on different walls in different places close to me for the past 4 years.
  2. Lights I bought in Camden Town ( they were inspired by a previous trip to Laos ).
  3. Ikea sketch figure ( I've used it once ).
  4. My favourite little plant - it's planted inside an Neil's Yard remedies glass pot and it looks like huge ticks stacked on top of each other.
  5. My latest self portrait.
  6. Radio / CD player from Muji - I love it.
  7. "Two savanna bottles and an avocado" a drawing done by my nephew, Gianni - he was 8 at the time.
  8. Drawing by my niece Liya she was 6 at the time - it's depressed little walking bird - we've since recognised that walk in people in different situations.
  9. Inherited from my grandad - I keep all my art materials in there.
  10. Illustration on a cork tile done by kronk. I bought it at rocking the daisies.
  11. My most treasured drawing pen and sketchbook. I use a rotring pen with a .35 nib and carry it around with me wherever I go. I often get pen paranoia and start scratching around scared that I've lost it ( It has happened ).
  12. A miffy bag for my stationary - I bought it at a cute shop in Notting Hill.
  13. I inherited this pencil sharpener from my grandad. It's super cool!
  14. Another piece from my grandad - an old school magazine rack.
  15. The vital scanner.
  16. Old dairy belle milk bottle - I have two, a friend gave them to me ( :) thanks!)
  17. A Japanese doll that belonged to my gran.
  18. A few books by Oliver Jeffers he's my total favourite at the moment.
  19. An album cover my Nouvelle Vaque with drawings by Julie Verhoeven and great use of a spot varnish (kudos Johnny).
  20. One of many photo's and illustrations sent regularly to me by a friend in Iceland.