of artists and portraits

khao san road

khao san road with our tuk-tuk driver. he doesn’t look half-bad! =)

for the record, i like to believe that i am not vain. sure, i like to doll myself up once in a while and i love painting my nails with whatever color i currently fancy but most girls are guilty of that.

although i doubt if most girls like having their portraits drawn. because i kind of had mine done somewhere in khao san road, bangkok. by an artist of 10 years who had bob marley hair and has a daughter in her toddler years.

khao san road

not so restless yet. the first two minutes.

the sign on his little shop lured me. i thought it would be fun to have a caricature of myself done in 15 minutes. in thailand, of all places! (in my head, i was already imagining showing the framed work of art to friends who would “ooh” and “aah” and i’d modestly tell them, when they ask me, that i had it done it thailand. lol. don’t hate me. i’m kidding.) but then the artist decided that he wouldn’t do a caricature. he thought it would be best to do a portrait instead.

so anyway, 15 minutes stretched into what, 30 or 45 minutes? the first 30 seconds i sat as still as i could, smiling as charmingly as i could. sitting still made it very, very, very difficult for me. not to mention awkward, with people passing by and looking down at the sketch and then looking up at me looking like a moron.

khao san road

starting to get restless. thought bubble: can we just stop now?

he started with my eyes, explaining how the eyes capture the beauty of the whole face. the eyes being the windows of one’s soul. for about 5 minutes he looked, stared, and studied my eyes. i have never had anyone, other than ram and henie, stare at me as intensely as he did. even then, it was a different kind of stare. like he was looking deep within me. probing right into my soul.

khao san road

with all the intense staring, i thought he was doing a pretty good job at it. when suddenly he put down his pencil on the board, looked at me, and said: “your eyes is very difficult. i start again.”

five minutes on my eyes and this artist of 10 years couldn’t sketch them right on the first go. i was getting tired of sitting still, my face held up in an angle that he wanted. i just wanted it to end already. i didn’t care if it was finished or not.

khao san road

sketching me the second time around. i loved this dog. so cute.

to ease the discomfort hanging in my butt and in the air, i engaged him in a little conversation, with the dog sleeping right there on the floor. he asked me questions, i asked him questions. his questions were pretty thought-provoking. like what is the population of the philippines and how big the country is. if it is as big as thailand. questions that had me speechless. questions i dodged by asking him the same questions in return. the same questions he was able to answer like he’s keeping track of thailand’s birth rate on a regular basis.

“i love my king. i love my country. i love my daughter. i love to draw. this is what i want to do with my life. what about you?”

of all his questions, that was the one that struck me. i mean, how the hell do you answer that with the same amount of sincerity and certainty he gave when he said those lines?

huh? tell me.

khao san road

wee! almost done!

i’m not gonna lie. when he showed me the finished sketch, the very first thing i thought was somewhere in the lines of oh, wow! is that really how i look like? it’s official, then. i AM ugly!

no kidding. i didn’t wanna show it to anybody. i still don’t. i don’t even care anymore that i had it done in thailand. that sketch is hidden somewhere in my room now. hidden, not framed.

in the middle of the plane ride back home, i thought about how i should just accept the fact that i’m not as pretty as i like to think i am. lol. i got it all worked out. acceptance is the first step to recovery, so they say. this is me, take it or leave it.

i told ram about all that and he asked to see the sketch. i told him to just look at my face since this face was the model of that damn sketch anyway. he was indignant that i show it to him because he doesn’t want it messing with my self-esteem anymore. so i did.

ram: no, this doesn’t look like you at all.
hopeful me: you mean i’m better-looking in person?


ram: well, your face looks kind of long here.
confused me: yeah, but that doesn’t answer my question.
ram (laughs): what do you want me to say?!

bastard. lol.

he was joking, though. he said that yeah, i look so much better than that sketch. that’s why he loves me. love sure is blind. =p

khao san road

but for what it’s worth, i learned a lot from that artist: love yourself, no matter how ugly you are. and for crying out loud, study your country’s history, as well as its demographics. you never know when an artist would be asking you all these questions while he’s trying to look deep into your soul searching for some form of covert beauty in there that he couldn’t find outside. lol.

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