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14Mar2017

About a year and a half ago I decided to not care about the end result of my drawings (childish at best) and draw some pictures of our days as a family. Back then, I was staying at home and had a nice rhythm of making the day’s page after dinner, while the boys scribbled and made their usual mess on the table next to me. The drawing supplies were permanently set out on our large house, next to the fireplace.

12June2017

Fast forward to now, in a new house, back to full time work, and the priority after dinner has shifted to straight to bath&bed time as mommy has to get up before dawn… However, I do miss our closing of the day with a visual recapitulation, and although I try to record as much as I can when I have the time and energy, it isn’t daily and more often than not it is just the black ink, with the hope to add the color in the future. Sure enough, last Saturday I got lucky and everyone else slept in, so I went back to the last uncolored pages and added a new one.

18June2017

The boys absolutely love to sit next to me and read our family storybook. I believe it helps them remember these moments while they are still able to remember them, and it is my hope that they manage to keep in their memories those days through their own experiences and memory, rather than through stories told to them.

The special and memorable days are nice to keep and record, but when it comes to stretching my creativity and loveliness of content, it is the everyday, nothing-special days that matter the most to me, the moments and details that pass unnoticed, taken for granted, that otherwise would not be recorded.

 

 

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When so much time has passed since having time to blog, where do you start? From now, and the rest will come, if they may. So, here’s what we did last week with R, an idea I ‘ve wanted to try for a while, but somehow other weekend plans always came first.

I grabbed some of my trusted off-white linen pieces of fabric (I have tons of it!) that I had pre-cut for making coasters, lay a piece of paper on the kitchen table and took out mommy’s markers, that include sharpies. Initially I made some geometric pattern markings, and some rain drops, but after I saw how R’s abstract lines came out, I copied him and we came up with a bunch of very colorful results. I also started trying to use a syringe to drop the alcohol, but once again his style of just dumping it on top was more fun.

We both enjoyed the process, even if the smell made us a little giddy, and the end result was almost what I expected or hoped to get. I think I ‘d prefer to try this in a less porous surface, perhaps glass or tile or a ceramic bowl, as the color didn’t spread as much on the fabric.

Now for setting the color with some hot iron and deciding what to do with them. Coasters, again? Haphazardly applique them on some fabric and make a bag? Add them as embellishments to the boys’ clothes? Only time, and inspiration will tell. For now, I am satisfied.

One of my favorite spaces in the new house is a small nook off the kitchen. It is small enough to fit a table and 4 chairs, but it is by a big window, complete with prime squirrel viewing, has its own heating and thermostat (scary thought, considering the winters here), and it has quickly become a happy place of family togetherness.

Naturally, I made sure to fill it with color and fun things to keep everyone happy and interested during meal times. Toys and books have a permanent place on the window sill. Coasters are also a must, as the only table that would fit is actually a rather ugly plastic work table.

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The walls were closing in on me bare, so I enlisted the boys’ help and we made a large mural with a magical village (sorry about the odd lines in the photo, some kind of camera malfunction.)

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Aaaargh! I am turning into my aunt, who always put tea towels on the wall 🙂 In fact, I really like the reminder of her quirky habit. The birds are hers, the fish are from my mum’s collection. I remember the times, all through up to my college years, when a colorful tea towel was a must for the Christmas list for both my mum and my aunt. I don’t buy them any more, but I still enjoy being surrounded by the ones we gathered all these years. Oh, the excitement of shopping for and giving them away!

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Here is another shot of the table with two older projects, a set of table coasters and some cloth napkins I made several years ago.

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We got a magnetic drawing board for the boys a while ago, and it has been a great thing to have around for many reasons. They love to have me draw stuff (trucks mostly) while they ask what each part is and contributing to the picture by asking me to add things (lights, bumpers…) For me, it is liberating to just draw something fast and on a slippery surface, often with someone bumping my arm or jumping on my back, and know that however bad it is, it will soon be erased and no trace of my ineptitude will remain 🙂 In fact, this feeling of freedom has actually helped somehow improve my minimal drawing skills. Thankfully the boys don’t mind my level at all, and I comfort myself by thinking that the abstract scribbles I make help develop their imagination 😀

Having said that, sometimes I am in need of ideas for what to draw next, when I get bored of the fire truck and carrot-bearing truck I usually get asked to make. Earlier today they asked me to make them a snake (they actually said “sssssss, sssssss”) and the idea of impermanence was not so liberating any more. I want them to remember what they liked to see drawn at that age, have some reminders of how much they loved cars, trains and animals, so I took some shots of a few of what we make on the magnetic board.

  

The other day a friend was here, and he made a portrait of V on the board too. Thankfully I had my phone in my hand, so I took a photo of his first portrait!

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Last weekend we went to this exhibition at the Met. Ever since I first laid eyes on the manuscript, my mind has been filled with the tiny, superb images. Looking at them truly gave me a feeling of peace and focus. I must have been ready to be amazed, a mental state that gets constant and immense satisfaction in a museum. Indeed, everywhere I looked, I felt inspired and awed by the beauty, hard work and attention put into the creation of practically every item on display, as well as its presentation, conservation, and care by everyone in their path through history.

At last, with this weekend just rolling in, and ‘assisted’ by the insomnia that has been a constant reality of late, I took out my childish tools and began copying some of the simplest designs on the manuscript.

Remembering my art history lessons, and the basic principle of learning through copying from the masters, I also wondered about the thoughts that may have crossed the minds of those whose work I copied. I have no drawing skills myself, but copying helped me look closer, and understand the flow of the design much better than I ‘d ever have done by just looking.  And of course, it was fun playing with paper and my coloring pencils, drawing whimsical little swirls almost as if they appeared suddenly off the stems of the vine design. I am not sure I will have the time to fill a whole book (those guys had the financial backing of a Duke and 3 years at their disposal), but I can still try to imagine the joy of generating so much patience, so much perseverance in order to complete even a page of such a masterpiece!

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