How a simple idea expanded

Last week, I was making some bookmarks mainly try to use up some of the small strips of paper I had saved in my studio. Somehow my simple paper cut bookmarks started to expand and more ideas unfold:

bookmarksbookmarks 2

At first, I made some bookmarks using the image of Dahlias and then I started to expand into paper cut pop up cards.

Here is the first one I made.

pop up card

Almost as soon as I finished the first, as I was looking at it and feel the need to make it better for the next one: instead of having the whole flower pop out, I let only the center part as the pop up part. It seems to make it more three dimensional.

pop up card 2
This morning, I decided to make envelop to go with the bookmarks and cards.

blue envelop

My one of a kind Christmas gift


one of a kind bookmark

I just finished my latest commissioned painting and have some free time on hand; I decided to have some fun and make some one of a kind Christmas gifts.
This Christmas bookmark is made from a large Starbucks coffee cup, the string is from an old calendar. Perfect for the book loves I know.
Merry Christmas everyone!

A book of three seasons

book art 1book art 2

During the recent move of my studio, I unearthed  some of my old art works which were  done my art school days. One of them were the little  booklets of how to use the school l library. One day, I found them outside the library in a boxful of them as discard. They are less than six inch square with twelve pages. I immediately attracted to them because of the size and picked up a large handful as not to let them end up in the landfill.

I created a different screen images for each page and  printed in one color except for the centerfold with two. My finished remade booklets were popular with my classmate which I had given most away.

book art 3book art 4

I was delighted to found the few remaining copies of the booklet  in my studio. Right away, I wanted to give it another make over.

My slow studio move took over six months started in winter, spring and into summer. During these times, each night after supper for relaxation I would work on my paper cut on the little booklet. Sometimes, I would worked on it few night in a row but then stopped for days or even week without  touching it.

Eventually when my move was done  I was able to finished the little booklet as well.

paper cut on book

paper cut on book


My private watercolor lesson

the kingfishers

the book


Few years ago, I went to a church book sale. I didn’t find any books I interested in but on my way out I spotted a book among the children’s book table. It was the book I been looking for over 35 years, “The Kingfishers”!

40 years ago, our family immigrated to Toronto, Canada. I was still a teenager and had not finished high school yet. I was sent to Central Technical School in Toronto to continue high school study.

 However, I spoken little English and was very shy. During my interview with the school principle I showed him my little sketch book. He must see something in me and allowed me to enter their post secondary three years art programs.

I never had any formal art lessons back in Hong Kong and my follow students are lot older and more advance in art training.

One of the classes we had to attend was art history which started from Greek period. Since my English was rather limited and all those Greek words were not just hard for me to follow. After a couple of those classes I deceived to avid it all together.

One afternoon, when I was skipping art history and my home room teacher saw me. After I told her my reason of not attend class, she invited me in to her  class room. She was about to give me a private lesson in watercolor.

She pulled out a book from her book case; it was “The Kingfishers” by Karel Novy and with beautiful illustrations by Mirko Hanak.  Hanak’s paintings were heavily influenced by Chinese and Japanese paintings. My teacher, Barbara Greene thinks being Chinese I would appreciate his works.  She gave me watercolor lesson on wet on wet technique. Noticed I did not own any decent brushes, she allowed me to use hers.

From then on, every week, I would learn watercolor from her instead of attending art history lesson.

Many years later, I discovered, Ms Greens was the president of the Canadian society of painter in watercolor. I only had her as teacher for two years as she retired before I finished the three years program.

This book is now my prize procession and reminds me the kindness of a great artist and teacher.

My painting in “Splash 14”

splash art

Oh my God, it is here.
Last year I was inform one of my paintings Parrot Tulip”  was included in “Splash 14, the best of watercolor” and the book will come out in June 2013.
Months went by and I almost forgot about it. Today, after being out most of the day when I returned to my studio my neighbor told me a package was waiting for me. Not knowing what it was until I open it what a wonderful surprise!
My painting is on page 19.