This particular piece of artwork was specially done with my mother in mind.
She came to me one day and asked whether I will be willing to create a piece of artwork for a charity auction. It was a no brainer, for my mom, absolutely A OK.
Immediately I knew what the subject will be. My mother, dedicates her life after my father’s passing, actively doing the Lord’s work. The very first thing when she wakes up at 5am in the morning, is to go through the daily reading from the bible. And her bible, is really, a sight to behold! The cover is almost falling apart and was secured with cellophane tape.
I did not see it as just an old worn out bible. I see and feel her dedications, her faith in what she believes in. An image that is strongly imbedded in my mind.
I somehow deleted the original photo reference of the subject. It was just an ordinary photo of the bible and the rosary but I knew how I want it to look like as an art piece.
This was done on a 300gsm hot pressed Arches watercolour paper with Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer (water soluble pencil for the underpainting) and the rest, Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils.
Before I begin on the artwork, I first had to do a bit of Photoshop to eliminate all the busy background. I want to highlight the worn-out bible by emphasising the cellophane tape and the rosary. Just simple corrections and I started off with the luminance background.
The background was first applied using the water soluble pencils, which acts as an underpainting. That will give a smooth finish before I layer the whole background with the dry pencils.
After the background was done, next was the spine of the bible, which I thought will be easy but turned out to be not. Struggled a bit because of the transparency of the cellophane tape. Took me quite a while to accept my defeat with it.
The rest of the bible surface was not as challenging as it was all about layering of tones. I left the most challenging part last. The rosary beads. And boy, it was tough.
This rosary beads was handmade by my late father, using coral stones. It has all types of tones and colours which is really beautiful and colourful. It is the highlight of the whole piece, not too loud or glaring, just enough to add some colours and gave movement to the whole muted piece of artwork.
While working on the rosary beads, I felt as though I was praying the rosary, but many many time over. I guess it was good for me as my mother is always reminding or nagging me to find time to say the rosary. So you know how slacking I am of my duty as a Catholic. Well, I guess this piece sort of made up for it, a wee bit.
I rarely create religious artworks as I want my art to be relatable, irregardless of race and creed. But this piece was created with specific purpose in mind; for my mother. It will be auctioned off during the fund raising dinner in April this year by the National Society of St. Vincent De Paul, an organisation that my mother holds dear.
As for the title… I wanted something that reflects faith mainly. Nothing too deep, something that is very easy to understand and interpret. And I found this…
“Though earthly friends may fail you; forsake you; misunderstand you, you have one heavenly Companion, Who will walk every step with you.. through time and into eternity.”
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