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Paintings I made during Mentorship: Part I

The first painting I worked on with my awesome mentor Natasha Smith was the two dancers (below left, the larger piece). I didn’t know what to paint so I started with the last theme I was working on based on the quote “life is the dancer and you are the dance.” I wrote a blog post about how it inspired a series of artwork last year.

I also had an old, unfinished dancer painting, and I tried to re-start it again in June 2021 (below left, the smaller piece).

In July, I started another painting using the same dry wall technique but wanted to try out more layers (below right). I had a concept of what I wanted to do but didn’t know what it all meant until it was selected for a juried exhibition and I had to write an artist statement. Read about it in this blog post.

Here are photos of the finished paintings:

I took out another old, unfinished painting on a small piece of plywood (below) and tried out some other techniques my mentor had shown me. Again, I used another quote I liked “What you seek, you already are”. My husband and my son said I need to work on my handwriting.

I found a small piece of left over plywood from my parents’ garage and decided to carve it (pictures below). I really enjoy working on small wood blocks like these. My brother has been doing some woodworking recently and I asked him to cut the leftover MDF board into smaller pieces that I can use to make more inspirational quote paintings. The quote below “You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars guides you too” was from an awesome Ted Talk I watched about consciousness.

My mentor Natasha has shown me many printmaking techniques. I invited my son to make some prints with me. His refusal to follow instructions had led to new discovery that I used in later works.

In August, I tried to do some experiments on paper. Later, the piece on the right led to another work on paper (bottom left) and one on canvas (bottom right).

Around that time, I was making an Art Journaling for Beginner’s video for BC Culture Days. As a practice, I recorded myself working on one of my art journal spread (below left). That spread led to a piece on paper (below middle) and one on wood (below right). I plan to edit my practice video and share that with you.

In September, I made more art journal pages. They were just play for me with no particular results in mind. I was using materials readily available around my desk and I was watching/listening to Youtube videos at the same time.

Again, I had to grab my Chinese ink and brush because I really like the free form they created. I particularly like the sketch in the middle so I created more art based on that (see below). During the time I was working on these paintings, I was reading a book called Zen Buddhism by Christmas Humphrey and he was talking about the influence of Zen Buddhism on Chinese and Japanese art. I looked at the ink stick that I had for a long time and realized there’s an ancient Buddhist poem or sutra carved on it as decoration. All these discoveries had led me to consolidate why I make art (another blog post later) and the development of my artist statement.

I am experimenting with more works on paper (below). These are not done yet and I don’t know where they will lead me but one of the most important things that I’ve learned from this mentorship is the importance of play. At the beginning, I would put pressure on myself to make good art every time. This pressure to perform stifles ideas, takes the fun out and made me procrastinate. Now I just tell myself to do some sketching everyday. Simple sketches, random stuff, ugly drawings are all good as long as I put my pen to paper. As we can see from above, sometimes, playing in my sketchbook/art journal with no particular goal in mind led to new painting ideas that I love!

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