Hello, friends. I’m so happy to announce that I’ve been accepted in radiology residency in the biggest referral hospital in the country starting next year!
Even though I’m ecstatic about this, I realize that this is just the beginning of another journey. To be honest, I’m pretty nervous about it. Scared, even. Medical school wasn’t easy, and people keep saying that residency is even worse. I try to convince myself that things will we better because I’ve recovered from my mental illness (which was diagnosed during medical school) and that I’ll be studying the thing that I love. Such a wishful thinking, I know, but if I don’t keep a certain kind of hope, I’m not sure I’ll survive!
I’ve prepared some coping mechanisms along the way, which are side-jobs such as painting and creating medical illustration, but I don’t know if I’ll have the time. I don’t know, I don’t know. The future only holds uncertainties. What we can do now is only live for the now and prepare for the worst. I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore. Maybe a certain kind of thinking framework would help me deal with these emotions. Maybe something like stoicism would be beneficial.
Ah, yes. Stoicism. A friend of mine recommended a book on stoicism titled How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life by Massimo Pigliucci. I should read that. Along with some e-books by Ryan Holiday I bought on Google Play, The Obstacle is the Way and Stillness is the Key. I’ve read Ego is the Enemy and it was good. Hope the other two are also as enlightening.
Coping mechanisms aside, I have some targets I want to achieve for this residency. I want to be a dependable resident who doesn’t slack off and is able to do her job well. I want to get good, if not astounding, grades. I want to learn AI so I can pursue a future in AI fellowship or some sort.
I should just focus on that instead of listening to everyone else saying residency is like hell. Use horse goggles. Yes. That’s it!
So, even though I learned the Flemish (indirect) painting technique in January, I decided I would ditch the method because it takes too much time to finish a single painting. I went back to direct painting, utilizing an unused watercolor paper as the surface of my study. I painted a portrait of the writer and philosopher Albert Camus in color for my study and it went pretty well, at least according to two professional artists that I consulted with.
Afterwards, I continued with a second study by making my boyfriend as my model. I actually simply continued an abandoned painting I had made beforehand when I attempted to paint using the Flemish technique. I had stopped at umber layer back then.
And now it’s turned into this:
Now I’m opening a commission of oil painting portrait. I’ve got one painting that I’m going to finish this week and I’m pretty excited about it!
Meanwhile, I still got my medical illustration project to work on… but sadly I can’t share my illustrations here for the sake of copyright.
So, I finished my residency entrance exam last week. As I’m waiting for the announcement for the residency program, I’ve been looking for activities to fill my time. The announcement will be on December 7, just one week for now. But not doing anything while waiting just makes it feel longer. Here are some of the things I did in the past week:
Finished fivemedical illustration artworks. A project assigned by my friend C who is an intern at the urology department in my hospital. There are still 6 more to be made. I borrowed her Wacom tablet (the cheapest one in the brand) and it helped me a lot.
Customized my iTerm. Okay, since I got a new friend named B, I’ve been motivated to learn a little coding. I started by learning how to use the terminal, since that’s the first lesson in Learn Python the Hard Way. I want to learn Python because I know I’ll need it to apply AI in radiology. So I installed iTerm because it’s cooler than MacOS’s default Terminal, made it look a little prettier, and changed the shell to bash.
Started Learning PHP. There’s this good Indonesian website on learning how to code called DuniaIlkom, and I just realized that I’ve bought a book from that site a looong time ago about PHP. I don’t know exactly what came into me but I’m determined to make my perfect website, which is difficult to accomplish using WordPress.
Finished a book. It’s been a while since I read a book, really. The book is called “If God is Great, then Why Do Humans Still Suffer?” It’s an Indonesian book on religion written by Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, Indonesia’s Islamic liberal figure. The book gave a lot of insights despite being so short. Now I’m off to continue reading a book that I abandoned, “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell.
Painted two pictures with watercolor. The first one is a copy of Bouguereau while the second is a picture of Mt. Bromo. The second is the result of a workshop by Yenti Amelia.
I’d say it’s been a very productive week. Now, I’m gonna continue making some illustration…
I had never drawn anything made of denim before, but I knew it must be quite bothersome, if not difficult. I decided to try replicating it as best as I can for a certain amount of time, since I don’t have that much time in my hands for drawing, and this is the result. I couldn’t capture enough details on an A4 paper unless I used a 0.3 pencil, so I did. I’m quite satisfied with the result, considering I spent around 3-4 hours working on this.
Well, I could’ve spent more time, but what for? I’m only doing this for fun, because I was too fed up with studying and wanted to know, out of curiosity, how I would be able to capture a certain photograph of a Russian pianist.
I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not an artist. Right now I’m studying to be accepted in radiology residency and it’s all I think about these days.
Perhaps in another lifetime, I would be an artist. In such case, I would work on my drawings for hours and hours until it’s perfect. Until then, I’m gonna stick with my main job.
One day in a sunny December in a small city called Majalengka, I pondered over my dirty brushes.
I had failed to clean them thoroughly, so the paint was stuck and the brushes were almost unusable. It wasn’t the first time that happened; though I had learned oil painting during elementary school, I never actually understood how to handle the medium. I was practically in darkness. So 15 years later, at the age of 25, I decided that I wanted to learn oil painting properly.
I was first introduced to watercolor roughly ten years ago in high school when I had a chair mate who was proficient in art, especially watercolor and Chinese painting. I remember watercolor being the most difficult medium in art, and I struggled a lot with it. Now I have become a doctor and I still think it’s the most difficult medium in art, but I’ve received guidance from a watercolorist who taught me stuff and changed my paradigm regarding this beast of a medium. Also, I watched several tutorials on Youtube. I wanted to take a break from drawing.
For the last two days I have made three paintings. This productivity surprised even me, to be honest. All of them were made using watercolor on Baohong Artist CP 300 gsm paper.
 The first painting I made is of Braun, a cat I used to have. I used a photo that I took a long time ago for reference. Here I pretty much improvised the leaves and I couldn’t even make the pot symmetrical lol.
 For the next one, I painted a misty forest by following a tutorial by Kalliopi Lyviaki on Youtube.
 I’m not ready to paint landscapes, so I’ve resorted to painting a single object, i.e. cats. This one is called Tini, a street cat who frequented my house. I love her tortoiseshell colors and I thought it would be awesome to paint in watercolor.
My favorite artist for animal painting is Endre Penovac. There are several demos of cat painting on Youtube and I think I’m gonna study more of them.  
So, there you go. Stay tuned for more updates on my watercolor journey!
A lot of things dissipate over time, especially once we reach adulthood. Our taste evolves. Our interests go through plenty of transformations. In the end, what we used to dwell on loses its charm. Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? I wish I knew. One thing for sure is that it happens outside of our control. We have no other choice but to experience it just as it is. Embrace the change. Own the new self.
This thought emerged when I faced a well-renowned artist who told me that I should learn from art history instead of Instagram. It was a statement that hurt me deeply. Up until one year ago, I had been unable to learn art because of medical school even though I wanted to. The social media was the most accessible place where I could see good art so I was angry about it being “mocked” for being my primary source of knowledge. On the other side, I can’t help but wonder why my interest in learning art history had diminished. I had tried watching a few documentaries and ended up yawning after ten minutes.
It made me wonder if the artist in me had died. It wasn’t used to be like this. I used to be very enthused about learning art. But then again, that was a long time ago. Now things are different. I don’t care about it as much as I used to. So, what happened exactly that made me become this way? Here’s a bit of a story…
I’ve been drawing ever since I could remember, unlike writing. Reading long texts has never been something that come naturally to me, let alone write (those who write usually began as readers). I tried writing once, during medical school, when I befriended a peer who writes as a hobby. I began reading as well, from young adult novels to general fiction. That was the last time I wrote.
And now that I’m drawing regularly, I’ve decided to write again.
I want to document my thoughts and ideas regarding my process, as well as showcase my best works in one place. I think it’s important to take note of one’s ideas as a source of inspiration for future works. It can also serve as an interesting read to the future, to know how far you’ve gone in the journey. To rediscover the things you were interested in. To realize the mistakes you made and plan how you’re going to solve it.
All in all, I think writing about creating art is important in the process of art making itself.
Maybe you’ll find something interesting here, maybe not. I certainly don’t expect anyone to be enjoyed by my ramblings, but it would be nice if this blog could be a good read for everybody else.