Sep 30, 2021

The Animals I Met


This is a mini oil pastel series about the animals I met. 

How does this series begin? Well, initially I just wanted to try some art materials I seldom use. Oil pastel has always been a medium I am interested at. Painting with oil pastels makes me feel like I was going back to childhood drawing with crayons. The art-creating process is very “straightforward”: me holding the pastels, the distance between myself and paper is very close. I paint as I think, my emotions could simultaneously reflect on paper, as I paint it hard or gently. The whole process is intuitive, and I like the texture and crumbs of oil pastels. 

So, I gave oil pastels a try! 


And the oil pastels I used also had a history. I have had this box set since I was in high school. It is at least 15-years old and still functions well, haha! The only oil pastel technique I know is what my high school art teacher had taught me: blending colors by applying a second color directly on the first color. Just one technique for this animal series.

At the beginning, I took my cats, Richard and Albert as my models. I observed their face and painted. Then I thought, maybe. I could do an animals series, starting from the animals I have/had met. I was planing to complete 9 animals but ended up with 6, because I was out of paper 😂. These animals, I have continued living with them or had met them shortly. But all of them have unique personality. As I paint, I try to think what kinds of animal are they? What do I see from them?

Yup! I should write stories about each animals. For next blog! 😂

***

最近完成了一組動物迷你系列作品。這系列是用油性粉彩創作的~

當初想做這系列,算是突發奇想😂。我想玩玩平常少用的媒材,油彩是我一直很想嘗試的(很像小時候的蠟筆)。怎麼說呢?我覺得油彩是很接近「原始」的創作,手握著它,我和畫布的距離變得好近,短短的3到5公分,想到什麼直接畫,非常直覺。力道大或小,情緒張力反應在畫布上;刷刷刷地筆觸摩擦,散落的屑屑,感覺很原汁原味!(很多小孩也是從蠟筆開始畫畫,就是這種原始味吧!😂)

所以就決定來玩玩~

我使用的這盒油彩也有典故,因為它可是我高中美術課留下來的工具。過了十幾年還可以用,太神奇了😂。每次下筆,都想起美術老師說用筆推顏色去做混色。我不知道還有什麼其他技巧,只知道一直推,哈哈!

一開始不知道畫什麼,就拿家裡的貓Richard和Albert當模特兒,觀察牠們的臉,塗塗推推抹抹。畫著畫著,突然覺得可以畫個動物系列!但要畫什麼呢?......從身邊的動物開始比較有感覺。本來預計畫9個,可惜紙張不足,只畫了6個。這6隻動物,我跟牠們或長或短的生活過。牠們在我心中都有一種個性。畫著他們,想著牠是一隻什麼樣的動物?我從牠們身上看到了什麼?......

之後再來寫寫小故事,分享我和牠們的生活☺️。

Thanks for reading!
Jenny☺

Aug 22, 2021

1st Anniversary



This year, on August 1st, is our 1st anniversary! Yes, I got married last year. We had a virtual marriage ceremony held at Zoom by a judge from Austin. Well, I think this should be a very special marriage thing because of the pandemic. We invited friends in the US to join this big day with us. And I wanted to make something special for our wedding, not just sending them a link. So, I designed our wedding invitation.

It was painted by Posca markers. My husband and I both love bright, summer-like colors, so from the limited markers I have, I chose sky-blue, grass-green and pink as theme color palette. I also added some cute animals to the picture because I imagined our wedding would be a fun, happy and relaxed event. It definitely must included our two cats, Albert and Richard, and my friend’s dachshund, Sweet Potato. I also drew squirrel and deer, because my husband and I often saw them when we had a walk in the neighborhood. 






Our marriage ceremony took place at my friend’s apartment. They had a go-pro to shoot our wedding and we had a bottle of Bollinger champagne to celebrate after the event. Later I found out Bollinger was featured in Jame Pond’s movies. Well, it tasted great! My friend also took a lovely picture for us. I really love it!




I hope that if we are going to hold a wedding in Taiwan in the near future, we could both wear wedding outfit similar to the ones on the pic. I feel my husband will definitely look awesome on this blue suit!

***

今年8月1日是我和petit ami結婚一週年的日子。是的~我們結婚啦!不過很低調,因為去年是疫情年,我們在美國透過視訊,由法官為我們證婚。這應該是疫情之下特有的方式吧。當天證婚時,我們邀請一些在美國的好朋友參加,而我想分享的,就是我們的結婚邀請卡。

這是用Posca marker畫的。我和petit ami都喜歡明亮清爽的顏色,所以當初在選主題色時,從我現有的色筆中,選了天空藍、草地綠和粉紅色為主色調。另外,我想讓畫面俏皮活潑,因為我喜歡婚禮的氣氛是輕鬆的,很像參加朋友聚會,所以加了小動物。一定會有我們的兩隻貓Albert和Richard,另外還有好朋友的臘腸狗寒吉,以及我們傍晚散步常會看到的松鼠和鹿。

視訊證婚當天,我們是在朋友家舉行,結束後一起喝Bollinger香檳慶祝!這瓶香檳據說在龐德007電影有出現,蠻好喝的。朋友替我們拍了結婚照。哈!希望未來在台灣辦實體婚禮時,我和petit ami可以穿上類似圖畫中的禮服。我自己覺得petit ami穿淺藍色的西裝一定很好看!

Thanks for reading!
Jenny☺︎



Aug 8, 2021

Friendship


搬來Bloomington快一個月了,沒有車的新生活,好多事情都在適應。有時候會回想在Austin的生活和老朋友。在搬家之前,我畫了我們家的兩隻貓,送給在德州兩對很喜歡的朋友。

一張送給詹閔和柏亨。他們是在一年前,我在FB上拍賣小傢俱時認識的。那時候他們剛從台灣來Austin,又正值疫情嚴重的時候,沒有車,感覺很多事情都不方便。看到他們就想到以前在Penn State剛是新生,矇矇懂懂的樣子😂。哈哈,我和petit ami就提議,有空可以一起去Ranch 99買菜。(以前我們也是受學長姐的買菜團照顧,所以看到新生就想載他們去買菜)。後來也就有機會多認識,相約吃飯、玩switch、甚至到他們買車時,換我們搭便車買菜。我和petit ami就在Austin的最後一年,交了很棒的朋友❤️

然而,患難見真情,讓我們最感謝他們的地方,是在搬家前3天幫了我們最重要的忙。我們當時車子變速器出了問題,原本要開車跨州搬到Indiana的計畫整個被打壞,我們一邊要搬家上貨櫃,一邊要想怎麼解決車子問題,還好有詹閔和柏亨幫忙搬家,讓我們好好思考Plan B方案。他們細心的把傢俱上貨櫃,用最牢實的繩法固定我們的家當。家當一路安全晃到Indiana,都沒有撞歪哦!我之前跟他們許願,希望在離開Austin的前一晚一起吃飯。因為車子的突發狀況,靠著他們的幫忙在兩天內處理完畢,那天在Austin最後的晚餐,我覺得吃起來格外感恩、格外有革命情感。老天爺送我和Petit Ami在Austin最後的禮物,就是朋友。🥰

另一張畫呢,是送給洋鼎和蓓蓓,他們是我從Penn State到現在,很重要的老朋友😊。Petit Ami剛來Austin不久時,他們也因為工作搬到San Antonio,距離我們一個半小時車程。在德州這段日子,每逢節日,像是感恩節、聖誕節或過年,有空我們就會開車去找他們.看看可愛的寒吉。之前Petit Ami回台灣放假,我待在Austin時,洋鼎蓓蓓也說無聊就可以來找他們!他們可是我剛來Austin時,給我像家的溫暖的地方。每次去找他們,也沒特別去哪走走,就是待在他們家,一起做菜、聊天、陪寒吉,很簡單而心裡很滿足。

去年疫情當中,我和Petit ami公證結婚,那時我和Petit Ami說,我最想要洋鼎和蓓蓓當我們的證人,因為他們就像是家人。然後,我們就在洋鼎蓓蓓家,透過與法官視訊公證,以及在美國的好友們遠端參與,我們就結婚啦!有好朋友在身邊見證,我想要的簡單溫馨,許願成真😊!(當然之後回台灣,還是要跟爸爸媽媽一起慶祝)。🥰

除了兩隻貓的插畫,以前也畫了不少圖送給喜歡的朋友,像是采薇、Angela、安賊、老伴...這個以後有機會再分享。想想以前在申請研究所時,寫到我為什麼喜歡繪本插畫,我說我喜歡插畫傳遞的溫暖,就像畫畫送給好朋友那樣。嗯,現在也持續在做這樣的事耶!😆

p.s. 原本有存檔送朋友的完稿,可惜電腦壞了檔案不見了。這張是原始的初稿。一開始是想畫兩隻貓麻吉,後來就借花獻佛了😂

Apr 1, 2021

Richard’s Afternoon Walk

My husband and I have two cats, Albert and Richard. We start walking our cats after the pandemic. We have a lot of time staying at home (working), and sometimes we feel we need fresh air and sunshine, so do our cats.🌞

Our cats have different preferences when they stay outside. Albert likes to stay at the patio enjoying the sun, while Richard loves to walk around, exploring the parking lot in the community, peeking neighbors (within a safe social distancing 😂), or trying to hide under a car. I would usually stay outside with Richard, in case he runs away. 


Albert enjoying sunshine
Albert enjoying the sunshine.


Richard watching the neighbor.


I used to walk Richard with a harness and leash. Initially, he hated the harness. I remembered the first few times I got him to wear harness, he was so mad that he just sat there and would not want to walk. Then, gradually, he walked in a weird way, lowering his body while walking. Now, he could walk in a normal way with harness, but he still doesn’t like it. 😂

As I walk Richard, I get to know his behavior and he seems to enjoy my company. When he is going out from the patio and I’m still in the house, he would wait for me outside for a short time. If he is exploring the neighborhood and I call his name, he would come back and rub against me. So lovely! 

Recently, it’s getting warmer and warmer in Austin. Richard loves going outside and sometimes doesn’t want to go home. Then he would do his CUTE trick, asking me to let him stay outside: 





This is one of my happy and cutest moments with Richard. ❤️

Jenny 


Mar 7, 2021

Our Chinese New Year Feast of 2021

Well, this should have been my monthly blog for February, but I didn’t post it in time 😂. Anyway, I still want to share with you the fun thing I did in Feb, which was celebrating Chinese New Year with my family, Petit Ami(my husband), our two cats and me!

We usually would have a big meal with our friends in the US. But this year, because of the pandemic, we decided to celebrate at home. We still planned to cook a big meal and were going to challenge ourselves: cooking seven dishes for two adults and one chicken for two cats.

Here was our menu:

- Fish soup with pickled mustard greens 酸菜鮮魚湯
- Honey ham/bacon with toast 桂花蜜汁火腿佐吐司
- Stewed tofu with crab meat 蟹黃豆腐煲
- Drunken chicken 花雕醉雞
- Black fungus and cucumber salad 黃瓜木耳
- Peruvian ceviche with fish roe 秘魯生魚片佐魚子
- Stir fry Chinese cabbage 清炒白菜
- Unsalted baked chicken 無鹽烤雞

We spent a whole afternoon cooking these dishes, and…TA-DA!



 


Great teamwork to Petit Ami and me. ðŸŽ‰

My favorite dish was stewed tofu with crab meat (蟹黃豆腐煲). This cuisine usually appears in restaurants, so I thought it might not be easy to cook. As I followed the instruction from Youtube, it was not that hard! And I had an interesting discovery: originally I thought the yellowish appearance of this dish is from crab roe (蟹黃), but actually it is the carrots and egg yolk that create the yummy yellow 💛.

I did two sketches for our Lunar New Year feast:





Also, to wish for a Happy New Year and full of love and happiness for my family, I drew a spring couple (春聯) and stuck it on the door. 




2021 is the year of Ox in Chinese zodiac. I wrote 好旺牛, wishing we will have a promising and fulfilling year! We are a happy family of four :D

Thanks for reading! Jenny 


Jan 31, 2021

Behind the Art: My Halloween in 2020


I would like to share some behind-the-scene story about my illustrations. My Halloween picture would be a perfect one as the first for Behind the Art series. 

2020 was the second year of me living in Austin, and because of Covid-19, my husband and I had a long time working from home, staying at home... We couldn't go out having a Halloween party with friends. So, for me, a safe way to celebrate Halloween is to draw a Halloween party! 😆

In Chinese culture, Lunar July is known as Ghost Month, in which the gate of hell will be open and ghosts will come out and wandering around in the human world. I feel that Halloween is like Lunar July, which it is a special day for western ghosts to have fun and celebrate. What if they are having a party in an Asian/Taiwanese style? What would it be like? This is my inspiration. 

Also, when I think of the most-iconic-halloween product, no doubt it should be pumpkins. But I think in Taiwan we have a seasonal food which is similar to pumpkin--it is Persimmon! Haha 😄 I think persimmons would be a great element for a Halloween party in a Taiwanese style. 

So, I searched for some references: Sanheyuan, persimmons and dried persimmons. And an easy and perfect cuisine for having a party in Asian way would be Hot Pot!  


My references. Sanheyuan is from Taiwanese TV drama A Boy Named Flora A.
The persimmons photos are from google search. 







It's a lot of fun creating a Halloween illustration by combining western and eastern elements. As I painted, I felt like I am having a Halloween party too!

To end my memory of Halloween in 2020, let me share with you my jack-o-lantern. 






Thanks for reading! Jenny ☺