Like Life, Art doesn’t need to be perfect.

Life seems to have shifted gears, and I am back into a slow moving, but contemplative period in my life.

Well I am generally contemplative most of the time :) but this slow pace have put me in this mood to jot down my thoughts on paper, and use these thoughts and feelings constructively by trying to create something with them.

That’s how I started doodling in my sketchbooks.

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That’s the boy’s sketchbook, not mine. My sketchbooks have black boring looking covers.

I bought some sketchbooks more than a year ago, when I took some watercolour painting classes. Where I spent most of my time during class painting different types of fruit. The technique which I was taught, but never got the hang of, was realism, i.e., draw and paint realistic looking fruits.

Oh boy, fruit is just about the toughest things I have ever tried painting.

That experience likely created the inertia of not picking up the brush for the next 10 months, until 2 weeks ago. I was motivated by a comment that the boy said to me, “Mom, I haven’t seen you use these brushes for a very long time,” which got me thinking why I am not painting at all.

It was due to the technical difficulty of painting these fruits that got me fearful, fearful of painting hideous-looking fruits or things.

Growing up, I had this disease of perfectionism that when I start on something, I have to be good at it. If not, I just have the attitude that any endeavour will be a total waste of time, and I shouldn’t have started doing it in the first place.

This has to be a result of growing up in a society that grades people on performance that has created this subtle fear in me, that if I can’t make it look good, achieve a certain level of success, or close to perfection, I should not even waste my time trying.

Most of us have been taught, either directly or indirectly, that what we create or do, does not bring us any returns, either through financial or recognition, that it is a useless thing to pursue with our time.

It was only when it finally dawned on me that I don’t have to create anything perfect or anything close to beautiful, or even consider developing a career out of it. And my focus on this endeavour should be to enjoy the process of doodling my thoughts through pictures and words on paper.

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I am enjoying the process of drawing and painting that I started illustrating bible verses. Verses or specific topics that I am led to read and study, which I can continue meditating the meaning as I illustrate the pictures for the verse.

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Blots, wonky looking drawings, crooked lines and all. I just need to embrace the imperfections in Art!

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I am inculcating the same attitude in the little boy and I love these drawings he did of some animals.

When he saw me drawing on the the sketchbook, he said that he wanted to do the same. When he first started on his own sketchbook, he asked for my help to draw the outlines of the animals that he was attempting to draw.

I refused to help him and told him that if I draw the outlines for him, it will not be considered his work anymore. I told him that it really doesn’t matter that the artwork isn’t perfect, what matters is that he created it himself.

These animals are in odd shapes, but they have so much character with their little imperfections.

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There is this saying ‘Practice makes Perfect.’ I have to toss out this saying, as I don’t intend to be perfect with drawing and painting. However, ‘Practice’ will be the key foundation to experiment with new ideas, learn from the mistakes, and to hone the skills that I intend to develop.

One of the best advice that I have read before is that, ‘It is not the quest to achieve one perfect goal or piece of work that matters, it’s the skills that you develop from doing a volume of work. Focus on the repetitions that lead to the place.’

So I have started with drawing and painting in my Sketchbook at least 3x a week.

So do excuse the visual mess, as I continue to flood my IG account with my wonky looking pictures.

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illustration by Lisa Congdon 

Here for more posts on this blog on Art and Learning Art
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June 2015 – Of Plane Rides and Reunions

June was a month of airplane rides and reunions.

For someone who detest taking planes, it was quite a feat that the boy and I took the plane a total of 6 times last month.

 

Manila

This is my 3rd trip to Manila in 1.5 years, and I like the city and the convenience of where dh’s apartment is located. But I haven’t changed my mind about not moving there even for the short term. It’s a liveable city, however it can get rather dull for a 8 year old.

If I didn’t have a child, I would move over to stay with hb in a heartbeat, especially since I am not an outdoorsy sort of person and crafting can keep me occupied. But I would likely become introverted after being holed up in a house for too long, and hard not to put on weight, since international cuisine selections are good and affordable.

 

June1Photo taken at a Thai restaurant (Thai food in Manila is pretty good!) in Greenbelt Shopping Mall

 

One new thing that I discovered from this recent trip, is that Manila is a ‘pen and markers haven’, if you like to doodle or draw. There is a vast range of brands of pens and markers at their local bookstores. I suppose when the market is big, retailers can bring in a greater selection of merchandise. It just highlights why I hardly ever shop in Singapore anymore.

Being in Manila is really about enjoying family reunions, even if it means for only 2 weeks when I have to cook, clean, wash and iron like what a regular SAHM will do daily. Times like these, I am reminded how I am not cut out to be a SAHM, having to do all the chores at home continually, for months without feeling exhausted or eventually, resentful. I really 佩服 the resilience in fellow moms who have made the choice to do this for the long haul.

On the flight back to Singapore, we encountered the worse turbulence in the flight. The plane dipped at least 5s, plane tilted to the right at least 20 degrees. Food trays flew off the table, there were passengers with food remains on their face and clothes and everyone on board was visibly shaken. While it happened, the boy urgently exclaimed to me, “Mummy, pray!” And I did, and my thought at that moment was, “God, I am not done with what You have called me to do, I still have to go Jakarta!”

 

Jakarta

The boy and I only rested for a day in Singapore, before flying over to Jakarta the next day. Despite being shaken after the flight back from Manila, we were all ready to take on our next leg of the trip.

What do we do in Jakarta? I always tell people when they ask, that I am visiting friends. With each Jakarta trip. I get to have fellowship with friends, and get to know new friends.

The boy was thrilled to have gotten to know new friends from this trip and spent a day at Kidzania Jakarta with his friends.

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My trip to Jakarta is not like a typical mission trip, I don’t build houses, feed the poor or teach children. I share my personal testimony and I am always given the opportunity to teach and pray for individuals. There has been no open door for me to share my testimony in Singapore, but the door is wide open for me in this other country, so I go where God sends me to, usually to women fellowship groups.

I get so encouraged by the ladies that I meet as they have so much love for Christ and are so interested to talk about the things of God. It has been confirmed by a couple of bible teachers and pastors who visit Indonesia regularly that this country has been chosen by God to bring in revival for Asia.

I am so humbled that I am being led to this country for a specific call and assignment, and even more humbled when I receive personal messages from individuals like this who are edified and encouraged by my sharing. As messages like this always prove that it is not me, but His glory and ability works through me;

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The boy and I are planning some trips back to Jakarta for the later half of this year.

 

Phuket

Our Manila and Jakarta trips were planned for, but the Phuket trip was really last minute. Dh and I only decided to take a short family vacation to Phuket, and managed to get the air tickets and accommodation booked 2 days before we arrived at the resort.

Being a stickler for routines and schedules, to do something like that was rather free-ing, and it was a good concluding trip for the month.

Phuket was a reminiscing trip for dh and I. The last time that we stayed at this same resort; Angsana Laguna Phuket was in 2009, when Kyle was only 2 years old.

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June is a low season for Phuket and will be one of the best times to visit as there are less crowds. There are no queues for tables at breakfast and hotel facilities like the pool, in this case, all 300+ meters of the pool was only shared with 5-10 other hotel guests. The weather was perfect for all the 4 days we were there.

We transferred to a pool room after the 2nd day, and we were able to jump right into the pool from the room’s patio and spend the late mornings – late afternoons playing pool games or just leisurely swimming in the pool.

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The last time our family had a getaway together was in 2010, and in comparison to vacations needing long drives, dh and I have concluded that we really like laid-back holidays. Just basking in the sun, swimming and leisurely having our meals. So looks like it will be another resort to go to for the next family vacation :) Boracay? Or maybe Maldives?

This June was likely the most mobile (and exhausting) vacation month the boy and I have experienced so far, but I am thankful that we have been so blessed by quality of family time we spent together and been surrounded by the fellowship of friends.

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The Papa Bear Father’s Day Card

Do people still send cards these days?

With the advent of the internet, most prefer sending a simple greeting through social media, email or with an e-card, which is more convenient.

It’s been a challenge to think of what presents to buy for people who have everything. So with occasions like Mothers’ or Fathers’ Days and some birthdays too, I stopped spending on expensive gifts. But spend some time and effort to make something for my loved ones and close friends.

Handmade cards are definitely more personal and thoughtful, over sending an e-card or greeting over the internet. Often it can even seem like a part of a gift!

Nonetheless, cards commercially-made or handmade will still get thrown away at the end of the day, so I am rather selective who I make them for.

I personally have the preference for making interactive cards; cards that pop-up or have a 3D element, or have that special little feature to it to surprise the person who is receiving the card. Interactive cards are cute to look at and it is simpler than it looks to make.

 

Here’s sharing a tutorial to make a Father’s Day Card for that special Papa Bear in your child’s life or in your life :)

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What you will need :

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  • Papa Bear with Tie print out (Download Fathers_Day_Papabear-1) on card-stock
  • Construction Paper: 1 brown, 1 white, 1 green or yellow
  • Scissors
  • Penknife
  • Glue or glue tape
1. Cut out the pattern and tape the sides on the brown construction paper, then cut out according to the outlines of the bear’s head
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2. Cut out the remaining pattern for the tie, speech bubble and nose of bear in white construction paper.
3. Place the cut out of the bears head over the brown construction paper cut-out, and trace the outlines of the bear’e eyes
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4. Once you have score the outlines of the bear’s eyes on the brown construction paper, use a pen-knife to cut out the shape of the eyes according to the score-lines.

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5. Use a black fine-tip marker or gel-pen to draw the nose and mouth, and eyes for the various cut outs on white paper

6. You can use pattern paper (i.e., wrapping paper) to cut out a vibrant tie, or you can draw patterns on the tie.

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7. Paste glue or double-sided tape at areas indicated below

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8. Place the bear’s head and cut-out of the tie with the eyes together, and paste it on yellow/green construction paper.

This yellow/green construction paper has been folded into half and these cut-outs are pasted on the front of the card.

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9. Paste the cut-out of the speech bubble next to the bear, and you can write a note to Papa in the speech bubble.

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And there you have it, a Father’s Day card for Papa Bear!

Pull the Papa Bear’s tie gently…

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and you can change his expression!

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This card is easy enough for a pre-schooler to make, but you will have to help your pre-schooler when the penknife is needed to cut out the shapes of the bear’s eyes, and with the specific areas for gluing or pasting.

We are out of town this week appreciating family time with hb, and will be celebrating Father’s Day a week in advance, and have made this for two of our Papa Bears in our lives, dh and Grandpa.

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To all Papa Bears reading this…Here’s wishing you a Happy Father’s Day in advance!

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