Stylin, Group Show

Time for another group show at LaBelle Salon.
So, if you’re in Hong Kong and want to see some of my new work (as well as some great stuff from other artists) stop by No1 Glenealy in Central.

homemade tonic


I like to make things. When I like something, I then want to know how to make it. Simple, right? I also really like studying the history of beverages. They are a nice and concise way at looking at the complicated and often convoluted development of culture. One of my favorites is root beer and its many resulting forms. I’ll save that for another time.
Right now, I’ll talk about gin and tonic. The first post I’ll look at the tonic. First, a bit of history.

Tonic water is called that because it was originally used as a medicine to treat malaria.  The active ingredient is quinine. It comes from Jesuit’s Bark. This is also known as Peruvian Bark and Cinchona Bark because, according to legend, the first person to be treated and cured by it was the Countess of Chinchón of Peru. Of course, this is probably a rather ethnocentric claim as it was introduced to her doctor by the native inhabitants. Moving on.

Originally, tonic water was much more concentrated than what it sold commercially now. Quinine is a very bitter ingredient and in order to “get the medicine down” the British mixed the tonic with gin. Since then, tonic water has changed quite a bit. There are often more ingredients than simply quinine.

I wanted a basic but flavorful recipe. The simplest way to try out ingredient proportions is to make a syrup which can be mixed with soda water for dilution and carbonation.  Below, is the plate of ingredients prior to boiling. The bark, allspice, lemongrass, zest and juice of lemon, lime and orange were boiled first then the citric acid was added.

When finished and cooled, I stored the syrup in a great Singha soda water bottle. Nice brand, by the way, good bubbles.

Here is the recipe I used. It’s from Jeffrey Morgenthaler, a blogger and bartender with some great idea. Like barrel-aged cocktails.

It is much more flavorful than your typical tonic water. Which is something I was pleased with. It’s like tasting history!


Next up, my first attempt at a recipe for homemade gin (minus the second distillation).

Finished another quick painting with some bright colors. It didn’t seem quite finished. A hit of white and pale blue spray paint did the trick.

monoprint time


I needed a break from the projects I’m focused on so, I made some monoprints with goauche.  Here they are.

This one comes from a scrap of a real estate poster. The type seen plastered all over Hong Kong. They consist mainly of a large phone number and the advertisers are so thorough in their plastering every vacant spot of wall or storefront that they become a bizarre wallpaper of jumbled and partial numbers all vying for your attention. In other words, I love it.


new painting


watercolor on paper.

The next in the earlier series of watercolor paintings of pieces of paper found on the streets of Hong Kong. This one is a wrapper for little sweets. I find them rather often. 

Only two images today. Both of illustrations relating to electricity. The stylized look of the illustration and that same quality of the printing makes for some distinguished images.

In the first image, check out the lake and the translucent layers! Also, the line-work trees overlapping the green color fields.

As promised, here is another article about the Idea House built by the Walker Art Museum, in Minneapolis.  Not all of the photos are in color but I really love the ones that are. The offset printing of the era and the quality of the pigments/colors creates such a beautiful image.  Here, we see some of the detail lost in a type of abstraction resulting from the limitations of a process. The result is a great image.

These images come from a writing about the house in McCall’s Book of Modern Houses (1951).

Check out the Walker’s description of the house here.

Idea House 1947


In 1947, the Walker Art Museum designed and built this example of the modern architecture of the day.  It was designed by William Friedman and Hilde Reiss, Walker staff members, and local architect Malcolm Lein.  It was part of the museum’s desire to demonstrate “art-in-use” and followed the thinking that functional objects should be beautiful as well.

TIME magazine arranged for an average family (an insurance salesman, his wife and their two children) to live in the house for a week to test its appeal and “livability”. While the family didn’t like everything about the house, they recognized many of the superior elements of the design and enjoyed most all of the stay.  Yet, many of these wonderful, practical and simple innovations are still largely absent from architecture of today.

It would be amazing for a museum to arrange something like this again with the most cutting-edge architecture. It’s easy to have awe-inspiring or conversation-starting buildings but, we often wonder about the day-to-day functionality of the spaces.  I would gladly volunteer!

Tomorrow, I’ll post another article about the house with photos in FULL COLOR!

Dominic Stevens


To continue with the topic of architecture, here is one of my favorite houses. It is the home of architect Dominic Stevens from Dublin.  Two favorite subjects of mine are modernist design and self-sufficiency/ DIY.  This house demonstrates both.   Mr. Stevens talks about how he wants to have a home that requires an understanding of how it’s built and maintained. He intends to raise his children to understand the processes at work and cooperate with the flux of this particular house.  For example, when the wooden shingles are too aged, they are removed to become next year’s firewood.   He says that, if the house were abandoned, it would take about 10 years for it to have all but disappeared. What a thought.

While Dwell magazine often annoys me due to their narrow and often flashy/rich focus but, this one stood out as something very tangible and with more than a little bit of grit.