HAPPY ART DAY

Since I was young, I've been interested in art. I remember sitting at the table, drawing and colouring, copying and creating, for hours and hours. I had many sketch books - big ones, small ones, on-the-go ones. I even took money from my father secretly (i.e. stole) and bought a giant box of oil pastels to add to my collection of colour pencils, water colours, poster paint, magic pens...

But that enthusiasm died when I hit a creative block in my upper primary. In secondary school, the art classes were just mindless drills, countless pages of English and Chinese calligraphy with no teaching about its history and culture. And in my school, if you score well in math and science, you do not go to the art class. I did actually asked the teacher whether I could go to the art class but it was impossible. So I, the obedient student got into a science stream and I didn't even like physics or chemistry nor math.

Many times I did attempt to find out more about going to an arts school after my O levels but that came to nothing. I didn't have money to go to one. I couldn't get a scholarship too since I wasn't from an art class. I completely stopped drawing and painting after secondary school, and I threw away all my sketchbooks.

I asked God what happened to my creativity. 

Recently I stumbled into some resentment towards my parents. I thought about how they knew I loved art but didn't send me for any art classes and yet forced me to learn the piano. But my ever-so-wise husband told me that it was not their fault, it was just a lack of awareness of what art is especially in our economic driven country.

After a tiresome period at work, I took a break and I took up the pencil again. That's where I relived the passion. This time I felt liberated because I wasn't creating art as a student or to pursue a career, I was creating art as a child again, for my soul and spirit. That's when I realised that I don't need to do art in terms of art education or go for art classes. Art is just a different form of exercise for the body.

Perhaps that is why I enjoy creating activities for my children, DIY projects and some occasional doodling. They're a form of art too. Art is not just about paintings, "Art can be anything you imagine with your head and make with your hands," as Piglet says. And art can only come out from a place of rest as you pause from the craziness of the world and interact with the materials in your hands, and in itself through the process, produces rest for the soul and spirit.

I hope as you read about all the art I create, be it for myself or for my children, I hope it inspires you to rest and create something, for that joy will be overflowing. All that I share here are very simple to create, they're not for professionals, they're for those who yearn for a break, those who think they never have time to do something they enjoy, those who always have been wanting to try something new but are a little hesitant or those who think they're not good enough to do it.

You can start with something as simple as colouring. I finally got to using my new box watercolour pencils as I coloured the picture below! Just as Winnie the Pooh said, "Because a day filled with art makes me feel so very happy!"

Colouring page from "PS* I love You" little playbook for Colouring, Doodling and Stretching You Creativity. Available from http://arhymingtern.weebly.com/cool-books.html