In my almost empty-nest stage,I am finding more time to travel and do new things. By sheer chance, I started a new hobby almost two years ago: painting.
I arrived back home from the Philippines and found a complete, huge supply of painting materials. After some inquiries,I found out that my husband had bought them as he wanted to take up painting. Since he was traveling, I asked if I could use them. I was challenged by his reply. He said that if I knew how to paint, to go ahead, but otherwise not to waste the materials.
I had not taken any formal painting lessons. All I had was my art activities in grade school. I wanted to prove to him that I could paint. I took the canvass, the paint bottles, and had an idea in my head.
"Flowers for Mom"
After spending a month with my mom who was suffering from the terminal stage of uterine cancer, I felt really sad. The reality of her end was getting near.
I painted the canvass background black, and my daughter asked "why are you using black?" My answer was, so that the subject matter would come out...for good contrasts...for dramatic effect... and I began to paint.
In psychotherapy, art is used to expressed one's feelings. Interestingly, enough, what started to take shape in my canvass was totally different from what I had envisioned. After painting for twelve hours straight, my daughter arrived home and saw my finished artwork. She exclaimed " Wow! How did you do that?"
Immediately, my youngest daughter took a picture of it and emailed it to the rest of our family. They were all surprised that I could paint. So was I!!!
I entitled it "Flowers for Mom." After two days, I emailed it to the members of my family of origin, with a caption for my mother as it was mother's day. On May 11, 2008, my youngest sister printed it and showed it to my mother. As she read the message "Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy. I thank God for giving you to us as our mother, for you gave us the gift of motherhood. I will miss you terribly. I love you very much. Yogi." My mom, then, nodded her head and smiled.
" Roses in My Garden"
My husband and my children asked if I could paint one with a white background...and I came up with this triptych. Again, I noticed that what comes out on the canvass is different from what I was planning to do. I planned to paint some roses as I remembered my rose patch in my garden in California. And I was amazed at what I turned out using the brush, a sponge roller, and other unusual things as painting tools.
My family liked it. I, then, realized that I had a new hobby...and I was excited to continue painting.
Within the same month, I started on my third painting, a pentatych.
I had always loved gardening, which is something I picked up from my mom. I used to win "Garden of the Month" awards in our neighborhood. I missed gardening so much when we relocated to France, so I looked for other means to still be connected with plants.
When my flower ministry came up, to arrange flowers for the church altar, I was delighted and considered it a blessing. Because of my love for plants and flowers, I find it logical that these would be my themes in my paintings.
Three years ago, I had the chance to visit the farm of one of my high school classmates in Tagaytay, Cavite, Philippines. I was so impressed by the variety of rare tubers, bamboos, and other plants that were planted in her farm. All of a sudden, various images of the farm came to my mind...and they became the inspiration for my third work.
The stargazer lily is one of my favorite flowers to arrange. It looks good, it last long, and it is fragrant. Based on an arrangement I did in church, I ended up with a more realistic style in this painting. Something different, I thought.
"The Winters, Springs, and Summers of Life"
One of the things I like do here in Paris is to go to museum exhibitions. After attending a guided tour of a Jackson Pollock exhibition, I thought I would try painting something in the Pollock style. I poured the paint in some controlled fashion and pattern. I found this to be so much fun!
I still have two unfinished paintings and I just need to stay put to find time to finish them. Painting has been a way of expressing my emotions, whether I am aware of it or not. As I look at my work, some feelings are stirred up and I begin to relate them to what is going on in my life.
Do something fun for yourself. Try something new...something different.
My teacher in grad school said that all great painters are bi-polar but not all bi-polars are painters. I am not bi-polar and I am just a hobby painter with my own style. I think I want to start taking painting lessons, soon, so I can paint in other styles and even try portraiture.
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