Weekend Art Fest

It was our first time to attend an ArtFest or art festival yesterday, October 1st. I learned that SM, the country’s biggest chain of malls, is opening a new section in their department store that will house various art and stationery supplies, and they’ve been promoting this all over social media. One of the local artists that I have been following on Instagram also posted about this, since he would be among the featured artists/guest instructors at the said event. Needless to say, as soon as my daughters’ Awana Club meeting was over, we headed to the venue, SM SouthMall, to check it out. bignlilsis-with-abbey-sy

Various art brands had booths set up at the activity area. The staff were very welcoming and accommodating, especially the ones from Simbalion. They had set up a workshop area for kids and adults alike to try watercolor painting using their products, and Big ‘n Lil Sis were immediately lured. As they started painting, I headed to the booth(s) promoting Abbey Sy’s works. Abbey herself was on the stage, autographing books, and I wanted to meet her personally. I have been following her on Instagram too, and I’ve been hoping to attend one of her workshops in the near future. I could have already done so that day, except I didn’t know that the event would start as early as 11 AM, and the first part was to be facilitated by Abbey herself. Well, it was already over by the time we arrived.

For every PHP300.00 worth of purchase at the participating booths, one could choose to join any workshop, or so I was told before I started adding to my initial purchase of Abbey’s books. Apparently, the fine print in their flyers stated that to be able to join a specific workshop, you must purchase the said minimum worth of items from the participating brand (in the event area) sponsoring a particular workshop. Anyway, we still had a great time and we were eligible to join five workshops, which my daughters and I took turns attending. The event organizers were kind enough to allow us to choose any workshop that we liked.

It was nice to see Big ‘n Lil Sis both so happy while doing something together outside of home again. Lately, my soon-to-be-teen daughter, Big Sis, has become so moody and prefers to stay home most of the time, refusing to accompany me (and Lil Sis) to some errands, etc. Yesterday, however, my girls seemed excited all throughout the day. As usual, I bought stuff for my girls that in the end, I had nothing to call my own. I had to make it clear to them, however, that some of the things we bought were to be part of Big Sis’s early birthday presents and Lil Sis’s early Christmas presents.

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I’m glad that SM has finally caught up to the arts and crafts trend. Most decent art supplies are rather expensive and many of the high-quality product lines are usually available only from online resellers. At SM Stationery, however, even the newbies or hobbyists would have a field day. Did you know that I could spend hours at a bookshop checking out not only the books but also their stationery? I think it’s time I admit that it’s those small purchases of stationery and books, especially ebooks, and art supplies that ruin my budget every month!

The artists SM have invited were all really good too. However, among the the three workshops we have seen/attended, I’d say that Ian de Jesus was the best (instructor). He came on time, he spoke clearly, he had rapport with his audience, and he was very systematic in leading his audience into creating floral designs, using his sponsor’s products, the Korean brand Dong-A.

It was obvious that Ian really took into consideration the fact that his audience may not have no idea at all on what to do. He encouraged everyone, especially the adults, to rediscover their interests in art, to remember how they used to draw with abandonment on any surface while they were kids, to avoid overthinking, and to just let go and start creating. By the way, Ian was also our instructor at the Basic Watercolor Workshop for Mommy Bloggers Philippines at The Crafters Marketplace, so this was my second time to meet him.

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Not to be biased though, Ella Lama and Carl Chua were also very good artists. I didn’t get to attend Ella’s class on using watercolors, but Lil Sis did while Big Sis sat with her and tried to assist her. Ella was good, but her class seemed more tailored to young kids, which Lil Sis thoroughly enjoyed along with other children. She was also very friendly, having small talks with her audience, especially after the class.

Carl’s Gothic Calligraphy class, on the other hand, seemed best suited to those who already have some knowledge or experience in calligraphy. From explaining the Pentel calligraphy tools that he would be using, Carl seemed to just went ahead with the lesson, demonstrating to the class how to do Gothic calligraphy. He would go down the stage though and go around checking if the students were able to follow. He was even kind enough to  guide Big Sis, writing with her side by side.

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The SM Art Fest is to be held at various SM malls on weekends. I wish I could bring my girls to all their events, meet all the participating artists and learn from them, but I think yesterday’s learnings are enough for now. I believe Big ‘n Lil Sis not only enjoyed, but also learned a lot–and so did I–and they certainly went home with more ideas and confidence to create more art. ❤

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Blogging and Painting

The Crafters Marketplace recently invited Mommy Bloggers Philippines to take part in their free Basic Watercolor class at Shangri-la Mall in EDSA. Since it is one of my goals for this year to rekindle my passion for art, learn more about it, and do more art projects with my girls, I contacted the event organizer immediately to sign up for the said event. Indeed, it’s a privilege to be part of Mommy Bloggers Philippines, and I am also grateful to organizations, such as The Crafters Marketplace, that offer learning opportunities to mommy bloggers like myself.

Ian de Jesus, our instructor, began our three-hour workshop by showing the class the different kinds of paintbrushes and their uses, even discussing a few theories and sharing some anecdotes about his own journey when he was as an Art student. I realized then how much I missed painting! It must have been a decade or so since I last picked up a brush and just painted to my heart’s content, and well, was pleased with the outcome. As I re-learned the different basic watercolor techniques, I finally started to feel excited (again) about painting with water colors.

To give you more idea about some of the things I learned with my fellow mommy bloggers that day, here are some of our photos:

going back to basics
Going back to the basic before anything else
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My color wheel (Photo by The Crafters Marketplace)
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After creating a color wheel, we were tasked to paint a picture first before painting on our own
how to paint leaves
Ian De Jesus demonstrating the different ways to paint leaves. You may follow him on Instagram @ravenfox to see more of his works and art demos.
basic watercolor class
Learning to paint a landscape and getting some feedback from our teacher (Photo by The Crafters Marketplace)
SAHMotsari creating a wreath
Leaves + florals = wreath (Photo by The Crafters Marketplace)
Ian de Jesus and Alma Ramirez of The Crafters Marketplace.jpeg
The Crafters Marketplace’s resident artist/instructor Ian de Jesus and its co-founder/proprietor Alma Ramirez. Alma said that their collaboration with Ian started when they commissioned him to do the sketch on their walls.
SAHMotsari and Mommy Bloggers Philippines at The Crafters Marketplace.jpeg
Six of the members of Mommy Bloggers Philippines, including myself, proudly showing off their favorite “finished products” with their hosts.

The Crafters Marketplace offers different kinds of art classes for various age groups, both on weekdays and weekends. You may want to visit their Facebook page, Crafters n Scrappers, to find out more about their upcoming events as well as their regular activities.

Little Crafters Art Playgroup
Little Crafters Art Playgroup schedule

Next to their workshop area is a nifty store where you could find both local and imported materials for your arts and crafts needs. Of course, I did not pass up the chance to take a look at their creations and find some pasalubong for my girls.

Crafting Time_SAHMotsari
Handmade accessories by Crafting Time

Look, I even met one of their resident crafters and pottery artist, Melody “Lodi” Manalaysay! Lodi told me that some of their designs, especially the more intricate ones, are not duplicated. I’m sure my soon-to-be-teen will be thrilled to find out that the necklace we’re giving her from Crafting Time on her upcoming birthday is one-of-a-kind… Shhh!

SAHMotsari at Crafting Time
With pottery and polymer clay artist Melody Manalaysay of Crafting Time with Lodi and Lomie. To know about their upcoming workshops, please visit www.facebook.com/craftingtime.

At home, I did not only pass on to my girls everything I learned from the workshop, but has been practicing what I learned too. I even bought myself my very first artist grade watercolor (traveling) set, after seeing one from Ian and learning from him the advantages of using artist grade materials. It took a couple of weeks though before I finally tested the product and created swatches with it. LOL.

landscape using wet on wet technique
Using one of my daughters’ colorful books as inspiration. (I used Prang Watercolors and Colleen Poster Colors on this unfinished work.)
Aqua-mini Senellier
My very first artist grade watercolor set from https://www.artnebulaph.com. Really, its vibrant colors are addicting!

Attending art workshops–and coloring–will always be a very enjoyable activity for me. Not only does it help me (as a homeschool parent) teach my daughters more creatively and effectively, but it also creates a venue for me to relax and meet fellow moms who are passionate about learning, creating, and sharing (new) things too. Indeed, being a mom, even a stay-home one at that, doesn’t mean you have to be confined in the four corners of the house and become boring, or worse, losyang! Agree, mommies? ❤

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Thank you, The Crafters Marketplace!

Learning the art of calligraphy

Who would have thought that the art of calligraphy or brush lettering would become so popular at a time when we can do just about anything with computers? When one could simply look up beautiful fonts online and use them to create greeting cards and more? When kids would bring their iPads and stylus pens, if not laptops, to class to take down notes instead of writing with pen and paper? And then all of a sudden, it seems, beautiful handwriting is in once more and profiles of calligraphy artists start to proliferate on Instagram and YouTube.

I have kept my Kuyas calligraphy book all these years, thinking that one day, I’ll be able to learn it myself and even get to buy one of those beautiful gold-tipped calligraphy pens. But I was always hesitant to buy the expensive tool, when I don’t even have an idea how to use it. I remember admiring my brothers’ letterings when I was young, especially at a time when one had to do everything by hand, without the aid of a computer. Yet now, calligraphy books and materials can be easily obtained both online and from various bookstores and stationery shops. Classes are even offered almost everywhere, with one more affordable than the other, even free, especially at YouTube.

Why didn’t I ever ask my brothers to just teach me how to do it, anyway? Or maybe I did, but… Nevertheless, I decided to learn calligraphy the proper way by enrolling in a 3-hour Calligraphy class by Paola Jane Esperon. I learned about her craft when I attended an event for moms and kids last summer, which was sponsored by Smart Parenting Philippines. A short segment on calligraphy was included in the program, with her as the instructor.

The workshop I attended was called Basic Calligraphy with Galaxy. It was held on a late Saturday morning at Kuppa Roastery and Café at BGC. Not having been to the venue before, I was expecting to walk in a private room reserved just for us, but instead, there were just a couple of tables where our class was to be held. Seeing two grade schoolers already seated at our table made me panic a little. I thought I should not just have assumed that the class was for adults and enrolled my daughter(s) instead. Good thing the other adult there, who also happens to be a mom, was also attending the workshop, so that makes us four students of two adults and two kids.

The fee was only PHP2,500.00 and it included snacks and materials. The snacks looked really good, but we were too absorbed with the activities to eat, making the most out of the three-hour class. Paola, being a preschool teacher by profession, was very encouraging. She would praise our work, and was quick to correct us when we’re not doing things the proper way. Moreover, brand new Zig brush pens and water color set as well as Stabilo pencil and eraser were ours to bring home, along with the other materials that were provided during the class.

I definitely learned a lot from the workshop and I was really glad to have come. The calligraphy exercises Paola demonstrated at the Smart Parenting event weren’t much compared to the ones she taught us at the workshop. Plus, we learned some tips that she never shared in public. For one, you should get comfortable using a calligraphy brush first; that way, using calligraphy pens would be so much easier. I don’t remember ever being told that in any of the YouTube tutorials I have watched!

That reminded me also of a time when my sister attended several baking and bread-making classes by renowned (pastry) chefs. I thought she was wasting money, since these chefs shared their recipes in newspapers and magazines all the time, in addition to the cookbooks they have published. Until she lent me the recipes she was given at those classes and I tried making brownies myself, which didn’t turn out quite as well as hers and I was bewildered because I was certain I followed all the instructions to a T. She then revealed to me the secret ingredient(s) and technique(s) that were apparently only shared in class. That, she said, was what you truly pay for in such classes.

Don’t get me wrong; my daughters are living testimonies of learning a lot of things from YouTube. They learned to create various arts and crafts from YouTube, and my eldest even learned about makeup artistry from it. For a self-taught 12-year old, I’d say she’s really good at it. She’s also learning to bake by following recipes on YouTube, but unfortunately, most of the time, she won’t even eat the baked goods she makes herself. If you want to really learn something that you deem important, I suggest you make an investment by going to a paid, or at least, a hands-on workshop or class with limited number of students–one where you could really interact with the instructor, get your questions answered, and be guided accordingly.

Since we are homeschooling, attending the workshop proved to be advantageous to my daughters as well. I was able to teach them the basics of calligraphy, which we have  incorporated in our Art class. With it, I have seen their interest in the art grow, especially Ali’s. She’s already good at art, but now she has become a more versatile young artist, and she has been gifting our friends and relatives with beautiful handwritten cards since then. Moreover, doing art with my daughters never fails to create special moments between us. With this new hobby, we are able to make more fun and artful memories together!

Doing calligraphy or brush lettering, helps me relax. With the demands of my domesticated life and homeschooling among others, however, I am not always able to practice doing it. Most of the time, I would just be content to see my daughters, especially my Big Baby A, perfecting the craft. In fact, she does calligraphy so much better than I do, yet I was the one who attended the class. The most I can do now is critique her work and remind her to hold her brush properly and so on, and yes, appreciate her work.

Below are photos from our calligraphy class and some of my tweener’s works.

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Tasty snack that I only got to enjoy after the class.
With The Mighty Pao Cat
L–R: My fellow mom/classmate Aileen, myself, and our instructor Paola
basic calligraphy with galaxies
Basic calligraphy + galaxy. Somehow, it was my own penmanship that materialized here, which was normal according to Paola. The name card in the background was made by Paola, by the way, as a souvenir. What a far cry from my work! LOL
Kuppa Roastery and Cafe
Our workshop venue, Kuppa Roastery and Café at BGC. (It was a full house while our workshop was in progress.)
practicing with brush
Going back to the basics after missing practice for weeks – calligraphy using an ordinary watercolor paint brush
practicing with brush pens
Practicing calligraphy at home using a brush pen
Big Sis Ali warming up
Big Sis doing one of the warm-up exercises: m i n i m u m

 

Calligraphy with Big Sis Ali
One of Big Sis’s brush letterings
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Another one of Big Sis Ali’s works

If you would also like to attend a calligraphy or brush lettering workshop, you may contact Paola through her Instagram account @paola_koala. She normally holds her classes in Makati, BGC, and Quezon City. You may also catch her doing demos or exhibitions at Zig-sponsored events.

On the other hand, if you happen to be from the South, there’s also a good brush letter artist you could learn from. She usually conducts her classes in Muntinlupa and Sta. Rosa, and she happens to be a Christian. I heard about her just recently and have started following her Instagram account @artsymargot. ❤

Discovering Creativity

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.

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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. ❤