Friday, 30 January 2015

The Animus in Fairytales

As a young girl I have always been fascinated with fairytales.

One of my posts was on the theme "Lost" and Hansel and Gretel was the picture I drew.

Recently I have been exploring psychologist Carl Jung's theory about anima and animus in oneself. The book Invisible Partners is also a very thought-provoking book that got me thinking about my relationships with men.

Do you know the witch in fairytales often represent the "bad mum" or "evil mum" that we perceive in our mothers? See the little black evil witch lurking around at the back of the gingerbread house below? More on the witch in the future :)

The animus is a psychological male entity that we create out of the first few significant male role models we've had growing up, that is to say, our father, brothers, close male relatives, caregivers etc. I am simplifying it a lot but this is so far my layman's understanding of the animus.

Hansel and Gretel

Gretel is a good role model for me because if the whole story is about my psyche getting lost in the shadows of my unknown self (the forest) with my animus (Hansel) - and then I (Gretel) actually used my wits to save my animus - that means that I am the smart one and actually, the one who is more powerful. Because in the beginning, Gretel relied on Hansel to rescue the both of them but Gretel turns out to be the heroine of the story. Bravo! Good story for the many of us females struggling with our self-esteem and our role in relation to males.

The best part is: Gretel continues to find her way back home (towards conscious life) together with Hansel. It means that she continued to have a balanced equal relationship with her animus without dominating him or letting him overpower her needs. She proved herself resourceful and capable, as well as the ability for care for others.

Nice, huh?

Of course, internally, I would need more time to explore this theme.

Until the next thought-provoking moment...


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Gustav Klimt in a Norwegian office

Picture of the Day!
Gustav Klimt is one of my favourite artists and just seeing one of his art pieces hung on the wall makes me happy. Pardon the poor quality, but it was taken with a phone camera.

What amazes me about Gustav Klimt is that he has this amazing ability to capture the fragility of his female subjects. Look at how thin and fragile the arm is, and the delicate bone structure of her cheek and nose. She looks on the border of being anorexic. The soft lines of the nightgown just melts the heart towards her - I want to hug her. At the same time, she looks almost defiant in her eyes, defensiveness shining through. Don't you dare touch me, her eyes say. I can take care of myself.

I am learning to decipher the intricacies of facial features of human beings now. What does the face really say about the person? Why is she standing like that? It seems she wants to protect herself.

But then, maybe she is a reflection of me. The way I see her is the way I see myself. Or maybe it is a past self - someone I was and recognised, but I have moved on.

I must apologise to my readers that for the past year, I did very little with my blog.
It was mostly because I had a lot of internal work that needed to be done, and three of the people closest to me passed away. I had a lot of self-reflecting done, exploring my relationship with men, and my own animus (which according to psychologist Carl Jung, is the inner man in me).

And of course, Death is a good theme to reflect on because it begs the question: 
What is Life?

With that, my dears, I leave you to think.
Feel free to leave comments.

I cannot promise that I will reply every comment, but I will check them regularly and answer in my blog when possible.

Much love and peace to all,
pixy :)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Exciting! My First Ever Children's Book is Out on!

It's not perfect, but it is my dream come true to make a children's book, maybe two or six... oh, why not more? Now my first ever is on sale at!

I'm glad I finally made it to the finished line. I don't know if it is because I am a Horse in Chinese zodiac or just the fact that I am an artist, but my life is full of unfinished projects. Right now, the thought of my almost-finished cross-stitch embroidery is bugging me....

Anyway I hope that you guys will buy it and those who have, I hope you like it and its message!
The cover was done by yours truly on Adobe Indesign, with the help of a good friend who educated me on the importance of typography and its pedagogic significance on young kids.

Great gift for a friend! Click on the picture to go to its page on!


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

New cover for children's book

This new cover came about after an increasingly nagging feeling that it can be improved.  The orange background did not grow on me. So I sat myself down one day to work and re-work it, agonizing over the pedagogical aspects of the type and how kids would perceive the book. Would they find the type/font easy to read? I scoured through throngs of fonts on internet with research and more research, experimented with font after font.

I also corresponded many times with the author, Jennifer, to discuss if we should change the format of the book - making it square instead of portrait. Having a proof copy in my hands from her, makes me think more - would kids like to open this book? Would they prefer a shape that is familiar and simple, like a square?

I tried to step back and look at my book cover from a different angle -  can it look better without any orange? What if I expanded the drawing to encompass the whole cover? With some Photoshop manipulation and dozens of layers of beach, sea and waves, I made a new cover.

The new cover looks deceptively simple. But if one takes a closer look at the original illustration inside the book, then one would discover that many elements have been tweaked - the island has grown bigger, boat and trees have been shifted, waves and water have been added.

The title of the book has been moved down an inch so as not to "tangle" with the coconut leaves above. The horizon creates a natural focus for the eyes, so having the title there would be natural for the eye movement. Plus, I am assuming that many of the children would be getting used to the alphabet so block letters that are "halved" would be nice (think the use of graph paper in technical drawings); the colour of "SAM" corresponds with the jacket of Sam in the picture, and "A" is emphasized as a familiar letter of ABC. The two "As" had to be identical as well for simplicity, although not in colour.

Fonts were also streamlined so that kids learning their ABCs have an easier time adapting to the shapes of letters in their minds. My previous font was too "splashy", creating unnecessary dots and undulations in the shape of the alphabet.

I'm now quite pleased with the effect - there is enough contrast of YIN / YANG effect i.e. cool vs warm colours; the title is at the 2/3 rule of photography; colours are well-thought out and correctly placed. I also enlarged both the author's and my photos to a medium close-up shot, so that unnecessary detail is left out. Bios are shortened to make more space. Fonts that are hard to read (i.e. serif fonts) are for the adults :)

What do you think of the cover now?
Leave a comment and let me know :)


Creativity on the loose

I was on a creative hiatus for quite a few months... went through a major life change that was quite a tough time for me but also very freeing. That doesn't mean that I stopped drawing or creating completely - I just didn't feel like blogging about it.

Now I am ready. Ready to face the world with my creative journey again.

A baby step I took is this photo in Oslo on a cold autumn evening....

... inspired by M83's "Reunion".

Will post more soon, including a painting I sold to my aunt in Singapore.

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