Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Live While We’re Young

I’ve always wanted to own a bicycle. As a kid I would watch my friends stroll about and listen to their stories of over the weekend escapades at school. I wanted to drive one of those blood red bikes with rims as white as toothpaste, but my mama told me it was not proper for a girl to be seen in one of those in public.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

At our house with my brother’s red bike. 1988 Butuan City, Philippines.

And it was not just about the ride. It was about my getup too, and I was darn sure mama would kill me if she saw me in shorts roaming around the village. My legs were so skinny, besides; like Fido-Dido, the female version of you-know-who.

“But maaa?” I’d say in hopeless protest and walk back lugubriously to my room. Bicycles remain a symbol of adventure for me. Sometimes, peering from our window, I tend to wish this and wish that.

I do not want to be rueful about it, however, so I end up saying to myself that I shall live my life to the fullest from now on and, yes, I’m still young enough to do and learn a many new things. I’m not the sporty type, can’t drive a bike, I can’t swim, but I still want to be that free spirit I imagined myself to be as a child, always alone in my room.

We went trekking up the hills before the year ended, chartered a boat to visit some close by islets, and I was nearly sucked in by huge waves in Puka beach. I was so scared and could have sworn to never go near the shoreline again. But at the end of the day, I realize that’s the most risky thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve never felt so happy to be alive.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Puka beach, Boracay Philippines.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Puka beach shoreline.

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

Sunny day in Puka beach.

Known for their upbeat songs, such as “Live While We’re Young,” I would like to share this handmade One Direction – inspired canvas tote bag for my close friend. Grace and I go back in high school together, and she requested this for her daughter Erika. I hope she likes this. Go live while you’re young, Erika!

Photo credits: clairelyhappy

My handmade One Direction – inspired canvas tote bag.


Photo Credits: Mark F. Villanueva/ clairelyhappy

Sally Brown

It’s been raining all week, so we decided to immerse ourselves at home in a flood of work. One time we came back all drenched, and decided to stay indoors for days ‘til we needed to go back out and refill our provisions. Then all we’ve ever done was work, and watch Charlie Brown’s Peanuts movie.

The animated film reminds me of brighter days, but I’m not sad at all. Mark loves it when we’re at home ‘cause he detests crowded places, and big crowds in general. Actually, we both do, and that’s why we love to work at home more than in a formal work space.

I picked up the Peanuts movie characters I purchased from a nearby McDonalds fast food restaurant, and started to draw Sally Brown. Mark wanted me to sketch Snoopy, but instead ended up telling me about his first dog ever named Tulip. But I’m his cat, and cats naturally stay away from dogs.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Busy week painting and laying out graphics.

Like Sally Brown we chose to take an “easy approach to life” during the rainy days. With the cool pitter-patter sound of the rain against our tin roof we ended up dozing more than usual, but since we never went out we still ended up working more in a day.

Mark wrote in the morning with a blanket draped over his back, watching the rain. My painting took more time to dry up in the cool weather, but no one’s in a hurry to do anything.

“Do you want to go out later?” I asked.

“What for? Unless we’re out of food supplies I’d rather stay at home, veer away from people. Too many people everywhere, I swear, sometimes it feels like an epidemic.” Mark replied in a way I expected.

“Why don’t you paint Sally Brown some more? Or some stuff that reflects the good old days. I miss my dog Tulip. I miss my dog Snow Ball after her, and Snoopy. Did you know Hemingway’s cat was named Snow White?”

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Painting Sally Brown on a canvas tote bag.

I painted Sally Brown, and thought about how appropriate her personality was to our innocent chatter in our small house under the rain.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Stages of my work from sketch to the finished product.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Happy Sally is finally done!

Photo Credits: Mark F. Villanueva/ clairelyhappy


After considerable delay due to regular rainfall I finally got to finish my work, starting earlier in the morning than usual for a couple of days. When I woke without the pattering sound of the rain I quickly headed outside to set things up for a long day of work.

Photo Credits: Mark F. Villanueva/ clairelyhappy

The artist (Claire C. Fiel) outside the house finishing her work.

The sun was up gazing friendly rays, filtered by the leaves of the trees where I started painting right underneath. A few steps behind me, Mark was working by the window, probably well into his first thousand words.

The day was young, and I envisioned an owl in the wee hours of dawn out there somewhere. I looked around the surrounding woods, and imagined where it ought to be with the background foliage.

Oh! I’d like to be like you dear owl. But it’s mighty unfair that people hold a doleful impression of you. If given a single supernatural power I’d pick yours, no doubt, I thought. You’re owl-mazing, see. Yes siree!

There you go, I thought, as I dabbed some summer colors to make her a happy tubby creature. You sure like to eat, just like me- us, your creators- I mumbled. The atmosphere was cold, the air sharp in my nose.

I like you, owl, because you see things we don’t. You are wise and mysterious, now please allow me to make you cute, and it’ll all be perfect, you’ll see. I want to be a bit like you. Your clairvoyance draws me near you.

Too bad most people think you’re sad and alone at night when you coo. Nope, not anymore. I’ll make you happy, colorful as the days we spent last summer. Do you want me to name you Summer? Now here’s a bit of orange for that feathery feet with a body hued like cocktail.

You’re the happiest owl in the world I know, Summer. Happy just like us. Just like how Mark feels after he finishes his coffee.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Materials used

One of the reasons I was excited to do my sketch work- to use the Smiggle pencils! Thanks to my high school friend and classmate Russel Tomboc-Aumento for giving me a huge box of them and color pens from Australia. Now unto the next step: playing with colors on the mixing plate to achieve the best shade in mind.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Canvass Tote Bag with a pencil sketch I have drawn over.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Started painting using textile paint to the Canvass Tote Bag. Pausing in between to think of colors to jive in.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

My finished project. Hand-painted Canvass Tote Bag. I would have finished it much earlier, but wasn’t able to under unfavorable weather. My ideas are finally actualized on my bag.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Hand-painted Canvass Tote Bag.

Photo Credits: clairelyhappy

Owl-mazing! Finally enjoying some sunshine in the woods right outside our home. Hey there little fellas!

Finally finished my first two artworks, but this is just the start for us. I hope you will re-visit ClairelyHappy for my next projects.

Thank you.