29 January 2010

Stop Thief!

Me (Charlie)

Hello! It's Charlie here. Mum's busy so I thought I'd help her out by writing a news story for her blog.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

Just a couple of nights ago I was in the kitchen helping Mum to prepare dinner, when, ever alert, I began to feel there was someone else there in the kitchen with us....

Yep, lo and behold, there behind us, bold as brass, was a monkey sitting on the counter!! I mean ... how cheeky can you get? And, he was helping himself from a bowl of rice, if you please!!!!!

Well, cheeky monkey !!

Yikes!! I was speechless and Mum was shrieking and waving the spoon and stir-fry chicken all over the place! Whilst pondering how best to approach this situation, i.e. whether to eat the chicken or chase the monkey, he scarpered! Phew, that was a close shave! Don't tell anyone, but I get a bit nervous around Monkeys - believe me, it's definitely best to keep a low profile if you meet one! After all, they're bigger than me and fierce ... and I have it on good authority from the mutt next door, that if they get really annoyed with you, they throw their poo at you!! Eeuw!! No manners!

Well, fortunately, this one was more concerned with his prize, though he had the audacity to hang around for a while on the wall by the kitchen door, gloating! We had the last laugh though - that rice must have been less than tasty , as it was just out of the freezer and still frozen solid , MOL!!!!

Here I am hot in pursuit - of course, I gave him a 5 minute head start!

272 Steps and Thaipusam

Yesterday, I visited the popular tourist attraction of Batu Caves, just north of the city of Kuala Lumpur. These huge limestone caves house a Hindu temple, where this weekend, throngs of people will be gathering for the Thaipusam festival. I went early to view the preparations and avoid the huge crowds - parking was bad enough yesterday, so goodness knows what it will be like tomorrow when hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees pay annual homage to Lord Murugan who vanquished the evil demon Soorapadman with a vel (spear).

Thaipusam will be a day for celebration and atonement for which devotees will have prepared with weeks of rigorous abstinence. Many will shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route ( including climbing the 272 steep steps up to the caves) while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens).

Some will simply carry a pot of milk, but others will shoulder a more elaborate, semi circular decorated canopy supported by a wooden rod.

Thaipusam - vel kavadi
Some devotees will even endure an austere penance by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers! Apparently in their trance-like state they feel no pain. How bizarre! I didn't spot any of these yesterday, unfortunately. I imagine the photo opportunities will be amazing tomorrow, providing you can handle the jostling crowds! For more startling images click here (if you can bear it!).

Hundreds of stall holders have set up to ply their wares. I bought a beautiful garland of chrysanthemums, orchids and sweet smelling jasmine from this cheerful chap!

Get your Kavadi here..

or fragrant Sambrani Incense there..

shop for Golden Deities,

sweet treats

and flashing, musical wall hangings!

Take in the exotic statues!

but watch out for food and bag snatchers at the top of the steps!

And last but definitely not least - is this Rapunzel?

Check out this lady's incredibly long locks! Now that surely must be quite a burden to carry up those steps!

26 January 2010

Illustration Friday - Clumsy

'Clumsy' watercolour

A little watercolour and pencil piece this week for the IF theme, Clumsy! Click to enlarge.

Art Hearts for Haiti

oil pastels

oil pastels and indian ink

oil pastels and indian ink

Here are some little ATCs I've made this week for the Art Hearts for Haiti project. Laure over at Painted Thoughts has initiated this project for artists to help those in Haiti - click the link to read all about it. Anyone is welcome to join in and make a small heart card, ATC size 2.5 x 3.5 inches and email it to Laure. The deadline is 29th Feb, so there's still time to participate!

18 January 2010

Illustration Friday - Wilderness

Wilderness - mixed water media

This week for IF I've painted a landscape - something I rarely do!! My version of this week's theme of Wildnerness is painted mostly with watercolour and ink, with some coloured pencil and a touch of gouache detail . See more wildnernesses here !

10 January 2010

Illustration Friday - Confined

'Confined' is this week's Illustration Friday theme. My offering is a net full of fishies - hope they escape - there are a few holes! Acrylic and oil pastel on mountboard.

7 January 2010

Reverse of my page for Lisa's book

Having posted Lisa's picture yesterday and put it together with the others in her book I felt the back of the page needed a little something to complete it - especially as it is the last in the book. So, I got cracking today with this postcard. I decided to use a watercolour painting of two cherries I had done some time back and cut these out to place over collaged papers (you may recognise my current favourite - a swirly white paper which seems to be popping up in lots of my pieces recently!). Thus 'Tumbling Cherries' was born! Although the colours are true, the scan does seem to have made the image look a bit flat - it just isn't doing the textures justice - pity :( !

6 January 2010

Another page for a travelling art book

Here's a page for Lisa's book - the last in her travelling book before it flies back to her! Knowing that Lisa is a nature lover I decided on a wild flower/plants theme and made this page with a lino cut printed onto some lovely delicate, lacy/spiderweb-like paper which I applied to coloured Japanese papers. I have to say I struggled a bit with the cutting of this design - lots of curves and zigzags here - and slipped with the tool to decapitate a poor little snail in the process :( Hence the addition of an origami butterfly to fill the gap left by my carelessness! Hope you like the print Lisa!

4 January 2010

Illustration Friday - Renewal

Happy New Year to you all! Here's my offering for this week's Illustration Friday. The theme is Renewal. It's probably quite appropriate as I'm sure many of us will be thinking about getting into shape again after the holiday season's indulgences! I thought a little spa and yoga therapy to renew the body and mind would be a good place to start! This year I WILL lose weight - there, I've made it public, so it has to be done!


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