Goodbye February Hello March

butterfly with grasshopper

Today as the eve of the new month of March this is also the 58th day of my shopping bags make over. When I started this little art project on the first day of the year, I had no idea after two months I am still making it. Somehow it slowly evolve into something of a delight not just for my own amusement but also for the others seeing them.

Last week, I took down my paintings from one large wall in my studio and replaced them with the finished shopping bags. It fills up the whole wall and when I counted, I hang up 50 shopping bags and then I ran out of room. Today, at the end of the second month I had remade 57 bags in total.

Many of my friends are urging me to exhibit them in a gallery. I guess now is the hard part to find a gallery to show them!

guess beetle


My Magical tour of Winter Wonderland

 I don’t drive and my only transportation is the public transit. My trip to my downtown studio is first the bus, then RT and  transfer to the subway line. The bus ride to the RT Station usually takes about twenty minutes to half an hour depends on the traffic. I usually spent my time reading the paper or just think of idea for my art.

morning during the snow storm s

 After last night snowstorm somehow I was expecting the unexpected. I put on a extra layer of clothing ( a down vest) and packed a banana along with my  packed lunch. I was not surprise how much snow been piled up on our street. As I was approaching the bus stop I noticed a woman on my bus trip was standing right on the street corner instead of the bus stop. As I got closer I realized the reason:  the snowplow has built a three foot wall of snow right in front of our bus stop. She told me we should just wait on the corner and the bus will stop for us.

winter wonderland

Soon enough, our bus arrived and picked us up at the street corner I even found a seat at the back of the almost full bus. No more than five minutes later, before I even had time to read my newspaper, the bus driver announced our bus is out of service and she is turning back north, we all have to get off and wait for the next bus!

All the passengers started to get off the bus right into the strong wind and steady snow fall. There was not even a bus shelter close by

on the bus during the snow storm s

 I was about to leave the bus, I turned and ask the driver “is that mean eventually this bus would go to the RT Station?”

She answer “yes, but will take an hour”

“Well in that case I will stay on the bus and go for the ride” I explain to her with all those passengers  waiting for the next bus it will be impossible for me to even get on and I am not in a hurry to go any where.

 I was the only passenger going back north and before I even pull out my news paper I looked out the window and started to admire the magical scenery before me.

With the heavy snow fall last night it turned the city into a winter wonderland. Every trees, every blades of grass, every buildings been cover with snow. The housed looked like  the ones we  see in a Christmas card.

For the next half an hour, I was the only passenger on the bus, and the ever changing  winter scenery was so magical even the garbage cans looked pretty with the snow. The bus passed by highway, residence streets, parks, creeks, houses and commercial buildings. All those places I never been to and some I would love to explore later in the year when the weather is warmer.

follow that bus

The bus drove by many houses, I seen residence busy digging their cars out from the snow but still no one was taking the bus .Finally, when it approaching back to where I live a few passengers started to came on board and then I noticed our bus was right behind another bus!

As the two buses almost back to back driving on the snowy streets most of the passengers got on the first bus but not the one I was on. When both buses stopped for the light and then the first bus couldn’t start again, it got stuck in the snow!

After few more turn of its wheels the door of the first bus open and emptying all its passengers. They  started to come on to my bus. within minutes our bus was packed to the max and no more room of the at least a dozen and they were left behind. I was feeling rather lucky as I stay warm and had the best seat on the bus and watching all this going on.

sorry out of service s

As our bus drove pass the next few stops without even stopping because there was just no room anymore. I watch all those rejected faces looking at our bus drove by.

Finally, our bus pull into the RT Station it was a whole hour later than my usual trip but it was the magical hour of my life. I was happy to spent the hour to see the beauty of nature and to discover places otherwise I would not know, it was a hour of my life well spent.

 SRT train

Paper Architecture

When I was in Art College, one of my majors was print-making. I study etching, lithography and silkscreen. Every terms I have to produce an edition print with no less than 25 prints and every prints has to be exactly the same from number one to number 25. I sent countless hours working in the print studio. I enjoy the end result of the images created by inks and paper. On my graduate year, my hard work paid off, I was awarded the outstanding print maker of the year. However, as soon as left college my print making career was ended as well

paper architecture 2

art on paper

art on paper

I was busy to earn a living and to pay back my student loan and making print was the last thing Ion my mind. There was not much outlets to sell my prints or jobs for a print maker. The closest job for a print maker was silk screen t-shirt printer.

art on paper

For years, I kept most of those prints in my parent’s basement. All together I think I must have at least a couple hundred prints. Later, I moved out from home into my own apartment. I was too poor to purchase some blinds for my windows; I turned some of my prints into window blinds. Years later, some friends still comment on the beautiful hand-printed window blinds I had.

art on paper

art on paper

Last year, an idea came to me; I started to take some of those prints out of my parents’ basement and gave them a new life.  I turned them into paper architecture.

art on paper

Art Imitating Life


I paint and also take photo. One day after I finish painting a  Phalaenopsis orchid from an blooming orchid I grow in my studio. An idea came to me, why not taking a photo of the painting with the model?


Here is my art imitating life.

watercolor painting with orchid

watercolor painting with orchid

As Frida Kahlo said, “I paint flowers so they won’t die”.

Passion over Reason


paper cut out

paper cut out

Yesterday was Sunday; I spent the whole day in my studio. I worked on a little cut out pop up card of grasshopper. When it finished I was very please with the result and then realized I had spent almost the whole day on this 5”x7” card!

This got me thinking, if someone not an artist would not understand why I would spend that kind of time to produce something without any financial return? I could have used the time to do a painting and have better chance to selling it.

I guess many artists myself included often devoted countess hours to make art out of our passion for it.  In most cases, passion is more important than reason.


Shopping bags make over update

Here is little update on my shopping bags make over:

I still making them and the design has became more intricate. Sometime it would take a whole day to complete one.

Yeste3rday, I had this idea about, instead of just doing just the cut out on it, I would turn the cutout into 3D. The first one I made was the dragonfly; I spent a lot on time on the detail on its wings. When it was done I was quite please with it. It looks like the dragonfly just happens to landed on the bag.



Today, while I was looking at the Aritvia shopping bag which has a young woman riding on a bike at one side of the bag. I have this idea of a butterfly and turned her body as the body of the butterfly and the bicycle wheel into its tail

3D Butterfly

Now, the inside part of my middle finger on my left hand has develop tough skin due to holding the knife for long hour. Oh well, it is price to paid for my art



Snow storm and art making

I love snow fall  and been waiting for a big snow storm.  Last year it was a mild winter and we had so few snow.  Finally the wait was over, we has a big one with more than a foot last Friday. It was the most we had for at least five years. I love how the whole city turned into winter wonderland. With the gift of the snow I feel more inspired and been spending the last few days taking photos and work on the  shopping bags make over.

Here are some of my latest shopping bags.

ladyslipper orchids bag

hollister loonTNA bag


Cat and Mouse with Kingfisher

Every morning while riding the subway on my way to my studio, I would think of idea for my shopping bags make over. By the time I arrive, I already have a few ideas and ready to work.  I usually has at least one bag finished by the end of the day.. Every evening,  I would go home satisfied knowing I have archived what I wanted to do.

American  Eagle Outfitters  bag

American Eagle Outfitters bag


I really like the American Outfitters bag with the blue eagle logo, there are so much possibility to change it into something else. For this one, I change into a kingfisher.

The MAC Cosmetic bag it was just for fun, I like their simple logo so I position a cat hiding behind it in order to spy on this little mouse.

MAC bag

MAC bag


Not the Ikea Monkey

As I mentioned at my last post, some of my bags make over had in-jokes.  Usually, i use image either play along with the name of that store or the image/logo on it.

Here are two bags both from Starbucks coffee, the first one with a large Mermaid logo on the bag. I cut out a loon next to it and part of the logo became the loon and the grass around it. The loon is also a Canadian symbol it appears on our dollar coin. In Canada the name loonie often refers as a dollar or as whole the Canadian dollar. When Starbucks first came to Canadian market, one could buy a small coffee for a dollar however time has changed we need two dollar to get one now. So this Loon with the Mermaid is about our Canadian dollar going south to the mermaid/Starbucks.

loon with the mermaid


The second Starbucks bag is a Monkey: I got the idea to use the monkey because recently a woman in Toronto went shopping with her pet monkey at an Ikea store. When she was inside her Monkey got out from her car and was found wandering at the parking lot. The bystanders called animal control and they took away her monkey. The Toronto by law prohibits her to keep her monkey and she been trying to get her monkey back through the court since. She and her monkey has became rather famous on the web and the monkey been called the Ikea Monkey.

Starbucks shopping bag

Starbucks shopping bag

Last week, all day the radio was reporting on her court case with her Ikea monkey which gave me the idea of using the monkey for this bag.( so far the judge still would not let her have her monkey )