I never really considered myself artistic or creative. Growing up, MAPEH (Music, Arts, Physical Education, and Health) was my least favorite subject both in elementary and high school, next to Mathematics, that is. I was always both in awe and jealous of my classmates who would turn in really beautiful art projects that were supposedly done by themselves. After all, we’re of the same age and grade level, so how come they could do those things while I would always end up in tears just trying to draw a simple object?
My mother and older brother Manny noticed how much I struggled doing arts and crafts, so they started helping me with my projects. From then on, I had convinced myself that I had to enlist my brother’s help if I were to receive a decent grade at all. It’s a good thing he was happy to do things for me though I suspect it was not so much because I was the baby in the family and he wanted to help, but because he simply enjoyed doing arts and crafts. I remember him filling one of our bedrooms once with hanging origami birds and making Disney character stickers that I placed on mirrors.
You see, my brothers were the really creative ones in the family, especially Kuya Manny. I think when God showered talents in our family, he must be the only one fully awake to catch all of them. He excels in Math and English (a rare combination), he can sing and dance, plays banduria, he’s really good at drawing, he’s athletic, and he can cook–he makes a mean adobo among other dishes.
Did I ever tell you that our friends loved visiting our house because it was always nice and clean and cozy? Well, that was his doing; he’s good at interior decorating and he takes charge of the cleaning of the house. No, he’s not gay; in fact, he’s what you would probably call a ladies’ man. (Yeah, he’s good looking all right.) Academically speaking, he was also the genius one in the family–he got accelerated three times in elementary, represented his high school in Math and Science quiz bees, and was a scholar in college.
Anyway, that’s what it was like for me growing up with an older brother, who seemed to have it all. Among my three siblings, he was the one home most of the time, so he somehow became my role model in my adolescent years. Looking back, I could only laugh at myself for nearly having the same fashion sense like his too, preferring shirts, jeans, loafers, and sneakers (to feminine clothing). LOL.
In time, my brother realized that doing things for me, including my Math and English homework as well as Science experiments, didn’t really help me at all. Like our eldest brother and sister, he started pushing me to learn things by myself, read more books, and watch educational (English) programs. I guess I finally learned to really study and willed myself to do things by myself since then, and it felt good. Besides, since we’re siblings, I was somewhat confident that I must have some of his talents too.
Now, when did I realize that I actually liked arts and crafts? Probably the same time I discovered this art gallery in my hometown when I was in 6th grade. It has long transferred to another location and I can no longer remember the name of the shop, but I do still remember the peacefulness and excitement I felt every time I entered that place and looked at the paintings. The curator was kind enough not to turn me away even if she knew that I was only there to look around and not buy any of the paintings. I thought then that I didn’t really need to be that good at drawing to be able to create something that wouldn’t hurt the eyes. Perhaps I only needed to know the right color combinations and I could just focus on painting or coloring, I thought.
When did I find out that I could actually make decent art? When I was already in college, I think. Since I ended up majoring in Public Relations–it’s a long story, but I had no regrets–one of the classes I had to take up was Advertising, and Fine Arts 101 was a pre-requisite. Believe it or not, I got an A+ in that class, though I sometimes suspect that it must have something to do with my good behavior in class that I earned my instructor Bro. Hansel Mapayo’s favor, rather than my artistic talents. But still, I was able to make something decent with a few art materials and I was pretty proud of myself then.
Through the years, I have learned to believe that I could learn and do anything that I wanted to do, and I teach the same thing to my daughters. I never stopped trying to learn new things to this day, though I can’t say that I’ve ever really mastered anything. Learning something new, one that I never thought I could ever do, gave me the courage to (always) try. I would read DIY books and look up information online, and at times, I would also attend short classes.
Now that I am a stay-at-home/homeschool mom to very creative girls, I have started appreciating art again. Lately, I find myself starting to doodle and paint once more. A couple of months ago, I attended a (paid) calligraphy class by Paola Jane Esperon, and recently, a (free) basic watercolor class by Ian de Jesus of The Crafters Marketplace, which was exclusively offered to members of Mommy Bloggers Philippines. I have also started to re-stock our art supplies, and for the first time, I now own a small set of artist grade Sennelier watercolors. Ah, you’ll never know the beauty artist grade stuff are made of until you’ve used one yourself!
I don’t want my art teachers to think that I didn’t learn anything at all or didn’t appreciate anything they had taught me. I have made it a point to teach my daughters everything that I have learned from them. My 12-year old does calligraphy much better than I do! And now, I have decided–or finally got the courage, I should say–to share my artistic pursuits online, hence the new section in this blog, Creative Attempts.
I shall be posting here photos of the paintings (and other art work) I have done both years ago and recently (with my daughters) as I continue to learn. No, they’re not masterpieces (yet), but hopefully, seeing them at a glance would inspire me to create more art, improve my artistic skills, and bring glory to God. ❤