Monday, April 6, 2015

Living together, working together

"Every artist dips their brush in their own soul and paints their own nature in their pictures." - Henry Ward Beecher

I share the same birthday as the American clergyman and social reformer Henry Ward Beecher, but that's just a coincidence. I fully agree with him though on how painting can be a kind of soul work. Maybe it's why I stayed away from it for close to two years, not that I didn't tend to my soul during that period. I'd hold my brushes now and then or check on my paints, especially the acrylics, to ensure that they had not yet hardened. Meanwhile, my brother who lives in Canada gifted me with bottles of metallic paints on his last visit here last year. Those things cost an arm and a leg in the local art supplies stores.

Fourteen days ago, I began a work while I was at my Mom's in the lowlands. Restless soul that I am, I was at wit's end when the Wifi went on the blink. I used up the time to begin painting again.

I decided to bring up all my art materials to Baguio after the last day of classes in the little school where I teach. I thought I'd find the time, finally, after all the excuses I've given myself on why that visually expressive side of me remained "asleep". Too many papers to edit, too many projects to get off the ground, too many books to read apart from writing deadlines. Ho hum. Indeed.

Early today, I saw my grandchild, who just turned four two days ago, working with her colors on her own little sketchpad. She was a picture of concentration. After she finished one sheet, she colored another. And there was this enviable casual expression on her face.

That did it. I brought out my unfinished painting and worked from after lunch until the light started to fade. I didn't stop until I was satisfied. Meanwhile The Wee One joined in, trying her hand with my acrylics while I reminded her to use up her washable colors first before she tried my preferred media. I must say she was pretty obedient. She'd even give me suggestions, e.g., "Wouldn't it be nice if you also put faces on your flowers the way you put a face on the sun?" Had I listened to her, it would mean I'm such a pushover!

Thanks, Kai, let's do it again sometime.

Filling in the blanks and somehow getting somewhere

Kai brings out her own painting stuff, stubbornly refusing to look up to my camera as she does her own thing.

Wielding a grownup's brush. Beats me in terms of self-confidence.

Rolly, our critic-in-residence (a.k.a. heckler) with his usual prop, a bottle of San Mig Lite

My last touch: a thin, watery coating of deep gold paint. And now to think of an apt title.

Photos by Booboo Babeth
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