What Painting Has Taught Me
Last night, we had a little fun time painting rocks. The set is called “Scented Rock Art Kit” which you can "create, inhale and unwind".
Great tagline, we are sold.
A set of colors is provided, a beautiful guidebook together with sandalwood-scented sealers.
Rachel and I both enjoy painting and that is our go-to bonding activity. We were even talking about painting as part of my children's workshops. I saw the sparks in her eyes giving ideas and at the same time doing things that she likes (yes, not etiquette for sure!)
As we started painting, the joy of creation came to life. I used to sketch a lot. I dreamt to be an artist or an interior designer but never had the courage to pursue it. Our house is full of art & craft stuff. Last year, Rachel’s dream was still to be an artist but she told me last week that she now wants to be a chef. Or a baker. Food is her new love. So I am not too sure if there will be a new dream next year. I am pretty sure it will.
2 years ago, I wanted to learn painting so I enrolled myself in lessons at this beautiful art studio with wall-to-wall glass windows, overlooking the greenery at Istana Park.
There was only one problem, I couldn’t leave Rachel home alone and she would be bored sitting next to me doing nothing for 2 hours. It turned out that the art studio also conducted children's lessons around my time. So yes! I was there painting, enjoying my own time, and feeling at ease that my baby girl was also having fun. Whenever she had breaks, she would run over to my station to check on me and my painting. Of course, she painted on it too.
That brings back a lot of memories.
I still remember walking into the art studio feeling in awe of the beautiful artwork of the students there. I looked at mine. It didn’t bother me at all. I felt proud of it. I was there to do what I love to do.
But it is hard, isn’t it? We do give up on things. We couldn’t help but look outward, comparing ourselves with others and thinking “I would never be like them”.
I still remember those moments when I stood in front of my canvas, put my apron on, and held my brush thinking “Where should I start today?”.
I got frustrated at times when the proportion looked off. The color didn’t feel right. It didn’t turn out to be what I wanted. I felt bored with my painting. The thought of “should I just leave it and paint something new” came.
So, more than the feeling of doing something I love, painting teaches me some other things too.
1. Be Present -
Each time I painted, it felt as if I entered a meditative zone where there was no other distraction. Just me feeling relaxed and focused on the art piece right in front of me. Very often, that is when we enter our genius zone. We put 100% of ourselves into creating a piece of work, with great attention and dedication.
So, fully immerse yourself in this genius zone. Close the gate and stop a thousand thoughts that are fighting for your attention. Focus on one. Set aside time to do what you love and be present with it.
2. Be Patient -
There is a common technique called layering in painting. After our first sketch, we will then apply a so-called undertone layer of diluted blue to the entire white canvas. This is to ensure that no white patches are shown. The painting is then built from layers and layers of colors, till you arrive at the desired finish. It is important that the previous layer is dry before you apply the new ones or switch to a different color. There were moments of pauses and waiting in between. There were times you need to fix things and make changes that were completely different from the original idea.
It takes time and be patient with it.
Be patient with yourself.
3. Step Away From It -
As we paint, we sometimes become so vested that we no longer recognised what needs to be corrected. Based on what Myra shared in her blog about "Stepping Back from the Canvas, she said -
Sometimes things like balance, perspective, contrast, color balance, etc. can be off just slightly enough that we can’t see it. There’s a good reason for this. Our strongest, clearest vision happens in the center of your eyes. Anything in your peripheral vision is not in focus. Your physical proximity to your canvas can often leave most of your work in your peripheral vision.
Details become invisible and blurry. So take a step back. Looking at your canvas from a distance allows you to take in a whole composition rather than focus on individual elements.
It reminds me of our approach to things in life. In other to move forward, we will sometimes need to take a step backward. Allow ourselves to see the bigger picture in life, identify imbalances, come back to it, and find our balance.