Two Ways to Make Your Creative Life Miserable

Walk in Peace and Serenity


Unleashing your creativity and finally deciding to do something about it is fun and exciting. However, every artist (regardless of your craft) is vulnerable to taking a dangerous path that leads to disillusionment. Here are two of the easiest ways to do it:

1. Compare yourself with others.

There’s a whole world of difference between having someone’s work as a source of inspiration and enviously looking at someone’s work as a point of unhealthy comparison.

Two things can happen when you start comparing yourself with others. It’s either : 1. You exalt yourself and believe that your work is superior (which is really pathetic) or 2. You get cranky for being “not good enough” and eventually find your way to discouragement (which kills your creativity).

I love the wisdom from the Desiderata: Do not compare yourself with others for you will become vain and bitter. For always there will be greater and lesser person than yourself.

2. Always seek external validation.

Just like how you spend hours refreshing your post on Facebook and Instagram for the sole purpose of checking how many likes and “nice” comments you get, convincing yourself that you are indeed likeable and everyone is really excited to see that duck-face selfie photo with a caption that says “just being me”. (Yes I know that kind of smile you have right now. A lot of us are guilty of it to some extent. Probably not the duck-face selfie.)

I want to make it clear that it’s not wrong to desire for appreciation. That’s part of us and we need something to satisfy our need for love and belonging. But if your core motivation in doing your creative stuff is praise and self-exaltation then I won’t be surprised if you need antidepressants later on. Because there’s no such thing as enough “praise” and “likes”.

Here’s my encouragement:

Do your craft to build meaningful connections and as a way to give back to the world for receiving such great talent and gift.

Always believe that you are good enough. No matter what. Because that’s how you were created in the first place. Remember that there was no one in the past and there will never be someone like you who could do the special things you are doing right now. You are unique, irreplaceable, and beautiful. Don’t let anyone steal that truth in your life.

Lastly, realize that your creative journey is not really all about you. It’s about connection and love.

And when you finally get it, you’ll walk in peace and serenity.



The Story of Mysteria Lucis

Mysteria Lucis (Oil on Canvas)

It was quite overwhelming just looking at the signage that had my name and exhibition title on it at the Thistle Hall Gallery. That was the moment I felt I finally reached my dream.  Five years back I was only imagining how it would be like to have my work displayed on a gallery and call myself an “artist”. Indeed I am so much blessed to be in position to tell a story of achievement by the grace of God.

 At Thistle Hall Gallery

So here I am today on the 6th day of my one-week show named “Mysteria Lucis: Unraveling the Mysteries of Light” – a body of work heavily inspired by the light we perceive in nature. It is my way of telling those stories that are familiar yet infrequently revisited – stories we keep in our hearts but remind us of our longing for higher things in life.

As an artist, I always believed that part of my purpose for existing is sharing the gifts I received and celebrating life with exuberance. I am deeply grateful to the wonderful people who offered so much of themselves to help fulfill this purpose.

Thank you for joining with me in my artistic journey. If you couldn’t come to the gallery, these photos are for you.



PS: You can view photos of all my paintings HERE

Mysteria Lucis



Sunset Meditation


Joys of the Terrible Artist

I was so ecstatic last night

after finishing the dead layer of my Magdalena painting. I couldn’t believe I could do a decent looking painting of a human figure. I always said to myself that I’m terrible with portraits (even if I haven’t really tried it). I think such belief stemmed from my attempts to sketch my mom’s graduation picture when I was a kid and ended up deeply frustrated because I couldn’t even see her face coming out of my drawing despite my best efforts to replicate what was on the photo. So I grew up believing that I am not good at sketching portraits and faces. After painting a few landscapes, I had this feeling of sadness, realizing that I have limitations as an artist – I couldn’t paint people. So I decided to give it a try.

It was hard work

just as I expected. But I never thought it is this exciting and wonderful especially when I see my painting coming to life. When I go for a break I sit on my recliner, just staring at my unfinished work with utter disbelief that I was the one who actually painted it. It makes me almost want to cry simply because I am deliriously happy that I have finally overcome that fear of not being able to achieve something I wanted to accomplish. I guess my Magdalena painting isn’t as perfect as the maters’ but I would definitely say it’s not bad for a first timer.

Now I am even more excited

to do the next few layers which will probably be a bit of a challenge considering that I am still learning to decipher the appropriate colors (particularly the skin tone) to make my painting look how it should be. But I’m sure it’s going to be fun. It’s something I could do the whole day without even realizing that I’ve been painting for hours. It enlivens me and makes me look forward to waking up every morning because I can’t wait to start painting again. There is never a day in my life that I do not think about painting. Observing color tones, hues, shades and potential subject is a constant spontaneous process happening in my mind. I just couldn’t help myself but think about it all the time.

Someone told me I am an “artist by heart”.

I asked him what made him say that. He said it’s because I am serious and passionate about it. Well, I am in agreement with my friend’s remark. In fact, I wanted to say that I am an “artist by heart, mind and soul”. I am convinced that arts and creativity has always been with me even when I was still a kid. When I look back through the years of my life I realized I’ve always been creative in so many ways and art is something which “I couldn’t get enough”. That’s why I become very restless when I don’t do any form of artistic expression. I think it’s in the blood circulating within my veins, driving me to satisfy such unquenchable desire to create.

I’ll post a photo of Magdalena when it’s completed (which would take a while given that I have to let every layer dry for at least two weeks – I am using the Flemish Technique). For the meantime, here’s a teaser:


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