Monday, January 31, 2011

The NEW Wild Woman

With the coming Spring festival, traditionally Malaysia being near the equatorial zone is very very hot. But due to climate change, the weather has gone topsy-turvy. It was raining the whole day on Sunday and even some more drizzling on Monday. Even though it was so cold and wet and a nuisance to go out, but the fact that I was stranded at home does nothing to dampen my mood into NOT making art!

In fact, the rain somehow quietens down everything and refresh something in the air and the surrounding and I felt any residue of negativity washed away and ready to create new and fresh beginnings. So I took out the sketch of the owl woman and change it and surprised myself that some of the roughness and seeming murkiness of the previous piece was transformed!

The older version of The Wild Woman I did last week.

The latest and transformed re-do version of The Wild Woman.

I love to see and be aware of the changes I was going through in repainting something and realizing there's so much potential of growth in art, as signifying the potential too in me as a person. There's certainly more light and strength in this piece. A friend on facebook saw this piece and I felt a beautiful connectedness with what she said about it:

I thought me being a little too stark naked honest about the intensity I was feeling about this creative journey was a little too overwhelming to take for you kindred spirits here, but am totally overwhelmed with gratitude and gladness that you guys leave so much encouragement and support in return. Your kindness and your brave hearts really expands the love I have for my work and this community even more.

Thank you so so much!For me, I believe all of you, especially you who I knew to be pursuing your heart's urge of creativity, is like the wise wild woman I painted, very wise,very divine and with lots of magical powers!

On a brighter note, Here's wishing you Happy Spring Festival, may only the bestest kind of joy blossoms in your life!

In the spirit of combining the celebration of this festive season and art, I went to do some nail art with all the elements of Spring-ness in it!I am feeling totally in the mood now! The manicurist is very good with details and from his work his passion for his work shows!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wild woman

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?- Mary Oliver

A simple question, yet it often takes someone a whole lifetime to own it, to search it, to face up the truth and live it.

In the midst of exploring and getting overwhelmed by the intensity and beauty of Susan Seddon Boulet's works, and reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes's "Women who run with the wolves" and contacting with my inner wild woman, I have been going through some transformation where I felt my work has appear to be darker and more intense.

I have shown my sketches to an art gallery who have expressed interests in my earlier works where they were more vibrant and childlike and happy, but they seemed a little sceptical whether Malaysians will buy my newer works. The exhibition is estimated to open around March, providing I'm able to catch up with the deadlines. I am quite bad with deadlines. I think inside me there is a rebellious inner child that does not want to succumb to rules and deadlines. Yikes.

All along, I have been painting artworks that captures simple joy, while that satisfies a part of me, but I know there are more aspects of me that I need to explore. So digging deeper into myself recently, and perhaps going into another stage of artistic and personal maturity, I find myself being mystified by the wildness of being woman. This part of us of being female, are infinitely wise, instinctive, psyhic, connected to the wilderness that is nature, even animals, the unknown.

Even though I have not quite master the skills to portray this essence of the feminine, (the sketch below is done with crayons and acrylics on paper) and even though I felt that the art gallery's ambiguity about my new style is making me feel sceptical about moving on in this direction. Reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes's book assured me to follow that inner voice, she says

"If you want to create, you have to sacrifice superficiality, some security, and often your desire to be liked, to draw up your most intense insights, your most far-reaching visions."

(Using sgraffito technique: The night queen, woman who fly with owls. Owls symbolized wisdom, magic, seeing in darkness, a feminine creature)

I remembered I almost gave up the dream to be an artist because a friend's father, who is a sort of psychic, told me that I'm not cut out to be an artist. I carried that fatal saying which leave a deep fear and wounding in my heart. I remembered those were the years when I was engaged in working with women's organization and was very vocal about my support for women's rights. I remembered being taunted by this friend and her father, who questioned about my beliefs.

It's easy to be marginalized as a creative woman finding her voice and expressing her beliefs, when her voice doesn't go in accordance to the society at large. I am angered and saddened that women's voice are silenced, that we are told by people who think they know, that we don't have what it takes.

There's still unforgiveness and anger and sadness and disappointment of being disapproved. Yet looking back, I see that nobody has the right to tell other people how to live their lives. If this people who claim they know what's best, they most likely know the least.

Those words hurt, they have the potentiality to stop someone from chasing their dreams. Yet being me and being stubborn and headstrong (hehe, a quality I used to not like but now embraced), I went ahead just to prove a point, that we are responsible for our own lives. No prophets, psychic, medium, even in any slightest way should attempt to take away your power. In the end, I went back to my heart, the part of me which has the answer, even when sometimes it's clouded by doubts and questions.

How about you? Have you been hurt even by someone's unintentional questioning and rejection of your passion and dreams? How do you overcome it? It will be healing to tell your story, and to lift off that burden off so you could move forward lighter, and having more love for yourself and your creative work.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Full-on Art Geek

What thrills me better to come across a good book because I am such a nerd is randomly using google search engine and coming across gems of artists who produced breath-taking artworks which inspire the living daylights out of me!

Mara Friedman was one of this rare gem I discovered today and her paintings just spell DIVINE!

I love that the women in her artworks exudes such grace, beauty, sensuality, humanity yet at the same time also portrays strength, spirit and divinity. I absolutely love the way she uses colours. There is a very transcendental element in her drawings, almost other worldly.
Going through her webpage, I read "about the artist" session and that she has been creating paintings that honor the Feminine aspect of Spirit and shares her deep appreciation for the exquisite beauty that surrounds us all with her works.
I love that she doesn't seemed to have any professional training in art yet it was through spiritual awakening, or what Brene Brown would jokingly call "the breakdown" phase. Do listen to Brown's talk here about the power of vulnerability, it's absolutely touching.
Mara's story is that she started painting after quitting her unfulfilling work and finding deep rest and rejuvenation in the island of Hawaii. (Please, can I just take the next plane to this gorgeous paradise I have so often heard of being the place of awakening for many people?)
I love that female artists like Mara reminds me that there is an inner artists that call to us, that we do not need to conform to how societal rules about learning a skill and being good at it. I love that we share something in common like this, it gives me hope and courage. Sometimes I think I had an disadvantage and I can't compete with the "real" artists out there who went to universities and had a degree that confirms their identity as an artist. Already painting seems so obscure a profession, what more being a self-taught one. (My mind can really play tricks in creating all these self-doubting thoughts!)
So so so with the great invention of Internet which I so rely on nowadays, I am sharpening my googling skills and getting all the information from "how to paint with oil pastels and ink" and attending e-courses and letting kindred spirits uplift my soul, I am affirming to myself that I am okay and I am enough being a self-taught artist and exploring mediums through trials and errors!
I tell myself that I have what it takes, I shall keep painting, I shall keep making a mess and get new canvases and experiment and my artwork shall improve constantly, and as an artist and a person I shall too!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Not a (Fame Monster)

Latest Artpiece: Have dreams, Will Travel

Since internalizing the statement "I am artist" and blurting it out very naturally everytime someone asked me what I do, I have been getting responses like "Do remember me when you're famous". I am flattered when people think I have what it takes to be famous and associate me with fame. But the importance of it really eludes me.

As an artist, I do wish my gifts, hard work and creativity get recognized. It will be wonderful if in the near future, people who come across my artwork could immediately know it's painted by me. To see that each piece has some Eva in it.

Yet I do not seek or crave celebrity status. I am grateful to myself for being someone who is on the whole very simple. I love the quietness and stillness surrounding the moments of making art. I love the silence of being in my own time of reflections. I love alone times but I am not a loner, I need and cherish the balance of close and meaningful relationships, which is immensely important for me as I spend alot of time working alone.

I always am very grateful to understand and be taught from a very young age, that seeking happiness from external sources like fame and material luxuries are delusional. I know at the age of 27, that there are still so much to learn. I know rather instinctively that even though the world feeds on glamour and making art seems to be very glamorous, but when it boils down to the heart's wisdom, all these doesn't matter. It's just simply about doing what you love, because that's the purpose of living.

I do think as creative beings, we deserve to get rewarded abundantly for our works. I do see myself earning more as time goes by because that would mean a constant improvement of my art and a better mastery of the craft. I believe in going with the flow, and money has never been a big issue for me, even though I am still learning the art of pricing my work, or learning how much of value do I see myself having so as not to under or overcharge.

I pray that if I do get popular in the future, I will remember to remain authentically me and not be swayed by fame or wealth, and always remember that the things that matter, are free and are usually just within me. And pray that I will never, ever forget that.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Alumni Documentary

This year has started with some really interesting events. The university which I graduated in, Monash, has decided to invite former students to come back to participate in the making of a documentary about their working lives right now. Me, being the oddball of the lot, who graduated in Bachelor of Arts (this arts does not apply to fine arts, but to humanities and social science) .

I was invited to go back to speak about my choice of career, and how the university education has helped shape this choice?

I told the interviewer that I am an artist, and an art therapist.

And I secretly think to myself, as if being an artist is not funky enough, there's the healing aspect that I'm engaging which makes my work even more fascinating or strange, I couldn't decide.

Sitting there talking about being a painter has this element of surreality. It's strange to come out to former lecturers and fellow friends and classmates in such an academic environment (the library) about being an artist. And an art therapist does not reduced the strangeness.

I told them feminism has formed my interest to paint female subjects, and psychoanalysis has directed my passion to art therapy.

Most of my peers, I gathered, are working as PR agent, journalists, copywriters. Of course there are also individuals who joined the rarer industry, amongst them one is in performing arts, one is a filmmaker, some followed their initial passion-pursuing music, or teaching.

I was rather nervous initially about the Q&A session. It's one thing to commit to pursue one's passion to oneself, and telling it to your closest and most trustest friends and families about it. It's altogether a different thing to admit being an artist to people whom you're not exactly close with. It's a great challenge, and it's also perfect timing, because I was adamant to make 2011 a year to make painting a full time thing!

"Coming out" as an artist feels both surreal yet at the same time because everything is recorded down in the video, it confirms the fact and reality that I'm pursuing art!So looking back, I was surprised by how permanent it means, that there's no turning back from art!*gasp

My former lecturer, Dr Yeoh, being the well-loved and supportive lecturer that he always is, proceeded to buy an artwork immediately following the interview. I was of course just much too pleased to part with this painting, titled "Surrender". That's the same artwork I used for my header for this blog. He said he will "show off" to his other students. He's very good at stroking egos.
This is the library, where the interview+documentary was conducted.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Healing with colours

My resolution for 2011 is to go very deep into the healing prowess of art. I am in very full gratitude to my art therapy teacher Cornelius for creating and giving a safe space for me and my fellow participants to express ourselves, to do healing work with colour therapy and best of all, to have fun in the mean time.

It was a meaningful start of the new year and we come together on the first 2 days to participate in his teacher training workshops. I really wished to be able to combine art and art therapy together, to be able to paint and pursue this passion and at the same time add value to my work by exploring the healing gifts in art and colours.

I feel that more people should have the chance to get exposed to art therapy because it is a non-intrusive way of healing. I have heard and read stories about terminally ill patients who got well from expressing themselves with art. I hope to get involved with community and do this work together. So far I have the support and encouragement of my fellow colour therapy companions who promised they could commit. Now it's about enough daydreaming about the possibilities and just DO IT!

I have always thought the creative process is very feminine. Giving birth to new creations. Expressing fluid ideas. Intuitively tuning into emotions. During the class I chose this colours combination and as I did a painting using only these 2 colours, I realized how much I longed for the divine feminine, to be in touch with my inner goddess and to be able to create from that space of great cosmic significance and awareness, and dip into the endless resources of the great mystery.

Colour combination: Turquoise and Magenta. Both very feminine colours for me.

Turquoise reminds me of the ocean, water has always been a female element, deep, mysterious, fluid, complex, holding great treasures under the sea bed, potentially turbulent and dangerous, at the same time peaceful and serene. Healing.

Magenta symbolizes sensuality, the female body, passion, the divine, love from above.

The message of the card: To realize that beauty surrounds us. If we but open our eyes to it.

I realized how I longed to feel nurtured and protected by the divine feminine, to have faith that the Universe loves and takes care of me unconditionally. I'm the child who wants to be embraced fully by the feminine energy, to rest in her arms and to go with the flow. The divine feminine, or the infinite wisdom of the Universe is a picture of great unconditional love, with wings signifying her heavenlike disposition and mermaid tail which tells her deep connection with nature, ocean an earth. I know my lesson is to loosen up my grip and the tendency to control things and to trust more in the process.

It is a huge lesson, and I'm learning to swim in the life in progress gracefully and to give up resistance.
What about you? It will be great if you too dwell in the healing qualities consciously and see what the colours are trying to tell you! It's easy for women because we're so intuitive, I suggest you paint with two colours and hear for yourself the message it has for you!