Tuesday, July 17, 2007


final painting
Originally uploaded by josephthaddeus
I've conquered my fear.

For years, I was scared of the brush and paint thinking I was better off pencil sketches. The last time I painted was in elementary when we joined this competition open to Asian children. I think it was the Unicef which sponsored it. But I soon forgot about it. In high school, I joined several on-the-spot painting competitions but I limited myself with an easier medium which was the cray-pas.

Years moved on and adult responsibilities set in and I was farther away from my passion.

Until one time an opportunity came.

I was covering the Subic rape case last year and since court trials were off limits to camera -- I doodled, loose sketches actually, scenes from the trial. I showed it to Johnray who is Saksi's executive producer and floated the possibility of using it as video support. He liked the idea and that was when I was reunited with my long-ignored talent.

I remember feeling very balanced after that, that kind when you feel so peaceful you'd think you've subdued a tempest.

And so the passion was rekindled.

I remember the elation I bought my first set of acrylic paint, easel and brushes.

I remember how scared and at the same time thrilled to draw the outline. I almost turned back and nearly told myself I couldn't do it.

But even with a little trepidation -- I drew the first outlines of what would be my first self-portrait. I could almost hear the sound of the yellow color pencil touch the white canvass. And as with everything else in life, I risked, and with still incomplete abandon, I drew. I drew once again. Soon I filled up the outlines with ink, very tentative at first, until I've become familiar with the medium's behavior.

And so the first painting is done, a painting that waited for years to be born has finally been born, with it a fear has died. And I am reborn.

As with every thing in life, we shouldn't anticipate what would happen. Anticipating is a silly exercise. It is hopeless as it is tiring. And so we tread carefully, sometimes, carelessly, in the sometimes dark abyss that is our fear. We hold on - to the promise of a goal, or if not of at least becoming a better person after the journey.

Life, I guess, should be lived as a series of wonderful surprises, of conquering little demons in our heads, of breaking free of the fear.

Life is beautiful, they say, and it is, because we can make it so.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Work In Progress

work in progress
Originally uploaded by josephthaddeus
Making progress in my painting shit hahahahaha. Texted Mom I finally started with it (after much dilly-dallying for a couple of years hhehhehe). Can't wait to finish this one and start with a lot more, now that I've finally conquered the fear of the canvass (like fear of blank page hehehe). Wohoooooooo!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


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Started painting again. No, make that started with painting at last. Hehehe. Finally weaned myself out of my sketchpad and mustered courage to buy myself a canvass, some brushes and acrylic paint. Yey! I'm starting with a self-portrait (selfish hehehe). There's nothing like going back to one's passions. Ah, some life lesson.

Where Is Tracy Chapman?

The obsession started when I chanced upon Tracy's "For You" in T.P.'s ipod. After that, the spell was on me.

For two weeks now, I have been hunting down Tracy, any album would do, I thought, but her debut album from several decades ago would be better.

I had thought it would be an easy search but it is turning out to be very difficult.

I first tried looking for it in Robinson's Ermita. First stop, Odyssey. To save myself time, I asked the saleslady if they had Tracy's album, assuming of course that being the music salesperson that she was, she would know.

She replied with a "no" coupled with a certain duh look that said she probably didn't know who I was talking about (uhm, how about Yeng Constantino's album, perhaps? Or the Kris compilation?).

I was not amused and I didn't believe her.

I went to Astrovision at the first floor. The saleslady there was considerate enough to provide an explanation: Tracy is under Warner which has pulled out all of its artists from the shelves pending the change of distributor (?).

Still I was hopeful, I asked if there was any other music outlet. She said there was, an Odyssey outlet inside the department store. Having gone to a similar outlet, that would have been enough to douse my hopes but I was not about to give up.

And so I went and scoured the mini-outlet: there's the requisite OPM artists, some dance compilation by OPM artists, a sprinkling of DVDs, but no sign of Tracy.

That was my first defeat.

Yesterday, I checked with Music1 along Quezon Avenue thinking they'd have a wider selection of artists. Straight to the listening bar again. There was none. I ended up with Nina Simone. And a canvass and a new set of acrylic paint to jumpstart my painting sapi (but this is for another entry.)

Today, I hoped against hope that I would find one in Shangri-La. I remember going to Music1 there before and I expected I would find her there. But Tracy was not only there, the store had transferred to a still-buing-built nook in Mercury Drugstore.

I went to Touch Music and Video in Shang, a very high-tech record store I thought it was a cellphone store. Instead of rackful of CDs, what they have were listening stations where you could type the artists you're looking for and once you find it, you could listen to it right off the whatever that is.

Being new it, I didn't dare tinker with the device myself and instead asked the salesboy if they had Tracy.

"Tracy?" he asked.

"Yeah," I replied.

He started typing. "C...R...A...Z...Y..." "Uh," I interrupted, "I meant TTTracy." We had a good laugh about it. But still the only sign of Tracy was her "Fast Car" stuck in an acoustic compilation. And the album was unavailable.

Being in the area already, I decided to go to Megamall but was told that the last time Music1 had a stock of Tracy Chapman was five years ago.

I scoured Odyssey after that. Asked the saleslady again. I was pissed around this time so I didn't have much patience for non-chalance.

"Miss, would you have Tracy Chapman?" I asked.

The girl pretended she was asking another saleslady who told me they didn't have her. She didn't even look at whatever catalogue they should be having and she had the nerve to tell me, as a matter of fact, that they don't have her.

Where is Tracy Chapman?

"Kasi naman antagal na niyang nabubuhay, ngayon mo lang siya napansin," P. texted.

He had a point. And I don't blame Tracy if she hides from me forever. But I hope she doesn't. And some day soon she will spring out from nowhere and remind me that in this world, sometimes beautiful things come to those who wait.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Our inner demons are the fiercest kinds. They know and exploit our weaknesses. Sometimes, we call them fear. Other times, we just don't have a name.

Luckily, we have an antidote, like perhaps, wisdom of experience. Or hope. Or love. Or faith.

How fortunate it is to find, within ourselves at the same time: both the weapon and its enemy.