Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I love cats. Just watch any cat and their deliberate and graceful movements are art in motion and can entertain you for hours. KRuds and I have had four cats. Being childless, we considered them our children. They all had different personalities. Our first cat, Leila, was a gray violet Himalayan. She was a little princess who loved to cuddle with KRuds. She was very moody and antisocial with the rest of the humans. It took a while for her to warm up to us and we thought getting her a playmate will open her up. So we got Winston, a gold Persian. We told the breeder that we wanted a cat with loads of personality and Winston had it in spades. He was a cat that thought he was a dog and human at the same time. He loved dressing up in costumes. Winston was definitely a bully. He would not let Leila anywhere near us when he is around and he always wanted attention, If you are reading a newspaper, he would swat at it until you put it down and play with him. When KRuds is working on a project in the house such as carpentry or plumbing, he would be right on top of it. And he REALLY ate my niece's homework! He loved bringing us field mice as surprise presents (into our bedroom, no less) He always woke us up early by pulling on the blankets, and if we continued to ignore him, he plastered his 20 pound furry body on our faces. Because of that we finally had to ban him from our bedroom.

So obviously, Winston was not going to be the ideal companion for Leila, so we got another gold Persian we named Hugo, after the hurricane, since all he did was twirl around the house like a little hurricane, Hugo was the athlete of the group, constantly trying to beat his high jump records and taking laps around the house,

When Winston died of a heart attack, we got another cat, Annie was a tortoise Exotic, a cross between a Persian and an American shorthair. Of all the cats, Annie was the easiest to take care of because of her short hair. She was very sweet and always sang along when we do karaoke. She got along well with the other two cats but like the others she hated leaving the confines of our house. So there was always a lot of drama when we have to go to the vet or the groomers.

They are all gone now, and I miss them a lot. They were great company and were a welcome sight when we came home from work. When we open the door into the house, they would all be lined up in a row, waiting to greet us.

Here are some of my art projects where I featured cats:

Good Morning, Mama, Watercolor, 2010

Naughty Leila, Watercolor, 2010

Lazy afternoon, Watercolor, 2009

Leila, Quilt 2008

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Paper Mosaic

Every time I visit St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. I am in awe of the ‘paintings’ rendered in what must be hundreds and thousands of tiny glass beads in a myriad of subtle colorations that you really have to inspect them closely to see that they were not done with brush and paint on canvas or panel.

One of the most distinctive is this one, The Transfiguration of Christ. This altarpiece is a reproduction of Raphael's 'deathbed' painting, now in the Vatican Museum. de' Medici commissioned the painting for the French Cathedral of Narbonne, but it remained in Rome in San Pietro in Montorio after 1523. Napoleon had it taken to Paris in 1797, and it was brought back to the Vatican in 1815. It took a team of six artists nine years to execute the mosaic, finishing in 1767.

On a contemporary note, although I think this piece is based on the work of 16th century Italian Mannerist painter, Guiseppe Arcimboldo. here's a ceramic mosaic on display at a ceramic speciality store (ICIS) I spotted in Paris. It is a large piece, occupying almost the entire display window of the storefront.

On a recent visit to Chartres Cathedral, I was inspired to reproduce one of its most famous stained glass windows known as the Blue Virgin in one of my favorite medias, paper mosaic. This technique was taught to me by my daddy for a high school art project and holds precious memories for me.

My process starts out with sketching the piece on tracing paper. I prefer vellum since it is sturdy enough to stand up to erasures pretty well.

Once I am satisfied with the general dimensions, I copy it unto a black 1/8 in foam board using white transfer paper.

For my other materials, I use high gloss magazine pages ( I prefer fashion magazines since they present me with a large selection of color and hue), a pair of scissors and glue stick. I also use an awl and a long pin for precise positioning of the tiny mosaic pieces. I proceed to cut random small pieces of the desired color from the magazine pages and paste them to the board. Sometimes I have to cut a piece to fit in a given space. I take into consideration the values and subtle shading of color. It is a tedious and messy process but I think well worth the effort since the materials are cheap and readily available.

After the whole piece is done, I seal it with either varnish, Modpodge or a resin.

My finished piece and close up.

The final piece unframed is 22 3/4" x 6 1/4". (Notice, the bookmark I bought in Chartres that I used as a guide on the upper left hand corner.)