Unframed Imperfections (My Paintings)

I woke up one Sunday morning very ambitious and wrote to the Ambassador of the Philippine Embassy in London asking if they could lend me a small room for my art exhibition which I am planning to hold on 28 January 2016, Keith's 4th year death anniversary. But of course, they did not reply. In any case, this is merely a dream and I don't think there is anything wrong with dreaming. After all, it's the only thing that I can get for free in this world. 

The fact is though- I don't think I have a creative mind. I say this because I always find it hard to think of something creative to paint. I can't even say that I have no inspiration because honestly, I have a lot. It's just that when I am in front of a blank canvas, I automatically go into what I can call as creative block. I'd like to be that painter who comes up with spontaneous ideas. This is the reason why until now, I can not consider myself an artist. And when it comes to painting, I still have so so much to learn.

You see, I am not a natural art lover. In fact as a young adult, I didn't appreciate art at all. I hated museums. I didn't understand why people spend a lot of time staring at paintings. Shame on me, right? But yeah, that was me more than 17 years ago. Then I met a guy who was really into art and that's when I decided to keep an open mind. I started going to museums and the more I went, the more I fell in love with that thing called art. Until one day, I was blessed with a son who grew up to be an artist.

Now you may ask how I got myself into painting. Well, I would say "loss". When I lost my son more than three years ago, I wanted to keep his legacy through his paintings. I dreamed of putting up his own gallery one day. Although I didn't start painting at this point, I made an effort to learn more about his passion. Until I also lost that guy who opened my heart and my mind to the world of art. That's when I discovered that I have a hidden talent (naks). Perhaps that's how it's like when you lose someone or something. As a coping mechanism,  you look for other things to fill that void. Luckily for me, I found those things within me first before anywhere else.

And so I started painting, originally to find solace after my break up. But then I really enjoyed it and now it's a hobby. To date, I think I now have more or less than 20 paintings. Not that they are of "gallery quality" , but you know they were all painted from the heart. 

Let me share some of my paintings with you...

1. The Tree Outside
- It was exactly a week after I asked my then husband to leave. It was early morning, the day after New Year's day. I was alone, feeling lonely and it was raining. I found myself staring through the window directly to a naked tree. Feeling emotional, I grabbed my brush and started painting.

2. The Sunflower
- Acceptance, letting go and moving on. By this time, I was certain that there was no turning back. I finally found my own happiness again. And to mark this sort of new chapter in my life, I painted my favourite flower as a sign of Hope.

3. The Simon Effect
- Sometime in February last year, I met a guy called Simon online. He was good looking and seemed like a good natured man. I must admit that at that time, he was exactly what I was looking for. He gave me all the attention that I needed. He made me feel important. He put a smile on my face everyday. He would text me first thing in the morning and last thing at night. And in between, we always found something interesting to talk about. With Simon, every conversation was easy. They came naturally. This went on everyday for three months. You know that feeling when someone checks in and checks on you? The guy who would make time to text you no matter how busy life is? It was too good to be true but I was really happy. I got used to waking up to his texts. Until one day, I didn't receive a text from him which was really unusual. I was quite worried about him, so I decided to paint to pre-occupy my mind. I wanted to paint a white vase on a black background. But because I was distracted thinking about Simon, my vase turned out like this:

Simon eventually texted and said that he was drunk and overslept. 

I never met him though. I was so eager to meet him but he was reluctant. He seemed to be a nice man, only with major "ex" issues. Maybe he was a catfish, or maybe it was just not meant to be. But whatever it was, I thank him for helping me move on. 

This painting also made me realise that I have a problem with symmetry. 

4. Freedom
- By the time I painted this, I knew I have already completely moved on. Nine days later, I left the flat that I shared with my ex for two years. This painting marked a new beginning in my life. I was finally free. Well, technically but not legally.

5. Keith's Violin
- I painted this as a tribute to Keith. He also played the violin but sadly, I never saw him perform. If there are things that I regret in my life, this would be one of them. I know I should have tried harder.

6. The Sunflowers
- Since I started painting, it has been my dream to be able to paint a version of Van Gogh's Sunflowers. The first time I tried, it was an utter failure. I had to call the painting "Van Gogh Gone Wrong".  And then one day I was feeling inspired and gave it another try. Luckily, it turned out to be what I wanted it to be. I painted two more of this and gave them to my friends.

7.  Miss Rowland
- My first portrait. Honestly, I can't even draw. But because I am ambitious, I am not afraid to take risks. I believe that almost everything in life is a trial and error. If you try and you fail, all you can do is learn from it and try again. I have decided to do exactly that when I thought of painting one of my favourite photos of a friend. It was not easy for me to paint this. In fact, I couldn't get the fur right. But I'm glad my friend was around that time so he taught me how to do it properly. I know I may not have given it justice, but I think this portrait is not bad at all for a first timer.

8. Darna on Fire
- I started painting this in early April as a tribute to the girls who helped me when I was really down. The thing is, I painted this in stages as I learned when I did Miss Rowland that it is not easy to do the eyes. So I left the face to the last. And because of my problem with symmetry, I messed up with the whole face when I was painting the eyes. One eye was higher than the other. It looked really bad that I was tempted to throw it away. But I promised myself not to throw any more paintings no matter how bad they are. So I decided to paint a butterfly on the face instead. 

I know that paintings are very prone to misinterpretation. But for me, the only way I know I am an "effective" painter is when people start asking me what was on my mind when I was painting. Ultimately, how you see my paintings is entirely up to you. You be the judge. But also remember that....

"Painting is an illusion, a piece of magic, so what you see is not what you see". - Philip Guston

So tell me, what is your passion?

tintin x


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