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.

DrawandPaint 1

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.

DrawandPaint 7

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.

DrawandPaint 8

DrawandPaint 10

DrawandPaint 9

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

DrawandPaint 6

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.

DrawandPaint 3

DrawandPaint 2

DrawandPaint 11

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.

Brave quote90

illustration by Lisa Congdon 

Here for more posts on this blog on Art and Learning Art
Share it:

Related posts:

Do Art with your Child – Tips and Giveaways!

The last time I was exposed to any form of art training was in Secondary School. With a teacher teaching art to a class of 30+ other classmates, there was hardly any art techniques that I could learn effectively. All I recalled from my past art learning was that I detested doing Still Art.

So when K turned 2 years old, I was determined to expose him to as many art experiences during home-learning.

Open-ended art were the first experiences in art that got him to try. There were no set ways to create something, these art experiences were just focused on new art mediums that supported his self-expression. Having an empty canvas and tools to create anything he wanted, was rather engaging for a child below 4 years old.

Art Home Learning1

Nonetheless, open-ended art experiences can get rather haphazard and it often ends up to be just an exploration of art materials for the child.

It is good to provide opportunities to explore art materials and tools, but when a child approaches 3-5 years old, parents need to start thinking about how they can seamlessly expand ideas to foster the child’s mental development through open-ended art experiences.

Here are some methods I have used to maximize learning during open-ended art experiences;

1. Ask open-ended questions and prompts, “Tell me about what  you have drawn?”

2. Make objective observations about the process to the picture, “I like how you have used yellow for the tree and how it blends into the green color,” instead of “I like your picture.”

3. Encourage the integration of language and writing, by encouraging a dictation of the child’s story behind the art creation. Often children will have their own stories and will want to expand on their art piece as ideas start to develop further.

4. Write a verbatim of the child’s explanation of his creation, either behind the art piece or a separate piece of paper. Eventually the child will be encouraged to model this behavior and want to start writing their own stories and creations.

Art Home Learning2

Here’s how I managed to incorporate language into an Open-ended Art experience with K when he was 5 years old.

There are many advantages to open-ended art experiences, as it can give the child opportunities to expand basic concepts, use problem solving skills and language expression. It also fosters mental development, as he expresses his feelings, thoughts and ideas that he wants to communicate. The child will strengthen his ability to observe, imagine and create with open-ended art experiences.

  How about Structured art experiences?

Some art educators frown upon structured art lessons for children below 7, as they feel that structured art stifles a child creativity. But I think that children can be exposed to both structured art and open-ended art experiences from 4 years old onwards.

Structured art is more product oriented, as it is useful to cement the ideas learnt from the process, may even come in the form of doing craft that is related to a theme that the child is learning. Or a set process for the child to learn a particular art technique.

I did not have any proper form of art training before doing structured art with K, but learning from books like Maryann F. Kohl, Mona Brookes, doing read-alouds with K using the Katie series of books were pivotal to encourage art appreciation and instrumental to introduce Open-ended and Structure-Art experiences during Home-learning sessions.

Here’s an example of a Structured Art Home-Learning experience I had with my son, that incorporated an open-ended outcome.

Children s Art Books 6

Effective Art Home-Learning experiences will give children the opportunity to connect to other curriculum areas, while focusing on creative thinking and problem solving. Modelling technique are necessary to guide and empower the child through the creative process, as most children might be overwhelmed by a new concept or new art materials and not know where or how to begin.

Remember to focus on the process and not the final product!

Children s Art Books 7 Have you tried art experiences at home with your child? And what are your favorite mediums (craft, paint, color pencils, pastels etc)?


Giveaways for Catch-Fortywinks readers! 

To help readers of this blog guide your children along on their Art Home-Learning experiences, I will be giving away 4 sets of art-learning books.

All you need to do is to answer the above question, leave your children/s age in the comment, and I will be doing a random pick for 4 winners. Don’t forget to leave your email address when filling up the details of the comment form, so that I can drop you an email if you have won any of these books.

Giveaway closes 31st July 2014.

Art Books1 Art Books2 Art Books3 Art books4

For other Home-Learning tips and ideas, view article links from this page

The Giveaway Winners are;

Screen Shot 2014 08 04 at 1 55 46 PM

Share it:

Related posts:

Art At Village Hotel Katong

After spending some time exploring Katong in mid 2013, an incidental opportunity came up a few months after to contribute to Peranakan art in the same vicinity of Singapore.

A hotel in Katong worked with Heart Studio to commission Peranakan-style art pieces for their hotel rooms, so K was able to work on a piece for the hotel, together with a group of 4-7 year old children who have been taking art classes from Heart.

PeranakanartKyle’s piece for Village Hotel Katong

Village Hotel took over the former site of Paramount Hotel at Katong and it opened in Nov 6 2013 after a renovation that cost SGD$30 million. The hotel has a small mall on its first 3 floors, known as Katong V, consisting of children enrichment centers, an Italian eatery, Modestos and a supermarket, Fairprice Finest.

Village hotel comb 4

In line with the heritage of the Katong neighborhood, the rooms are tastefully furnished with Peranakan accents.

Village hotel comb 3

There are spacious, comfortable-looking rooms to provide a home away from home for visitors to Singapore, and for local families staying over the weekend for a stay-cation. Village Hotel will be a good option if you are planning to explore the Peranakan heritage and culture in Katong, or want to go on a gastronomic tour visiting the local eateries in Katong/Joo Chiat area.

Village hotel comb 2 Village hotel comb 1

Village hotel Katong 9

It was too bad that we didn’t managed to get to see K’s actual piece displayed in Room 512, since the room was occupied by a guest during our visit.

Nonetheless, the idea of having his art work displayed as part of the accents to a Peranakan-inspired concept to the room, has been a great encouragement to him to continue putting in his best effort for all his art creations.

So if you ever plan to visit Village Hotel Katong and stay at Room 512, look out for his artwork, the one with the rooster inscribed on the teapots.

Kyle Peranakan art 2


Share it:

Related posts: