Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas / 聖誕節


While I was preparing my personal statement in the process of applying for schools, I was required to write about my goal after graduation such as working in a certain company I’d always dreamed of. I happened to hear an acquaintance mention her wish of entering the new-brand design company DEM Inc here. For me, writing didn’t pose any problem, but this part did baffle me. My biggest dream is very humble. It is just about writing and illustrating stories for people I love. However, this answer would only be criticized as ambitionless and impractical. I found it a pity that I couldn’t write such a goal which I could actually carry out in my everyday life.


Thus, I decided to put into practice the seemingly easy but difficult plan. On my last Christmas with my current students, everyone would get a card featuring my latest invention—Aztec Queen Baby along with an inspirational quote on the back. I drew two sets of cards, 66 in total with no exactly identical pictures because I wanted to leave pieces of me for them as a form of memories.


I love my own class so much that I came up with the decision to give away my past exhibited paintings. On Christmas Eve, we held an auction without monetary trades. Everyone keen on a certain work had to say why she had to get it and give me her drawing before graduation. The rest would be decided by the lot they drew. The whole class went almost wild nearing the end, with some people on the verge of breaking down. I felt kind of bad for not having enough works for everybody. I had meant nothing but to say goodbye to my past, but I was surprised to learn that those moments were so treated with care by the girls. I was the person that gained the most through the experience.


I don’t know how my future will turn out, but every day in my life, I see more and more reasons for drawing, and they are my glittering Christmas gifts.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lines / 線條


Usually we rely on a person’s changes of appearance or language to discern his or her differences. However, changes over a short period of time are too subtle to detect. At this time, lines can serve a similar function.


I haven’t babysat for a long while, and since Von doesn’t feel like going out with his parents, we stay at home to doodle. Not having drawn with him for several months, I am kind of shocked to find that he holds a pen much better than before. Also, he has acquired a stronger sense of space. After taking the art lesson for more than three months, his progress is demonstrated in the ways he mixes colors. Overall, he appears to be more confident. I look at his colorful parts, saying with envy, “This is well done. I want to do the same.” He replies, “You do a great job too. Leave me the pencils you just used. I would like to take a try.” Then he asks a series of questions about the results of mixing different sets of colors, from which we derive a lot of fun in making crazy guesses and acting really silly.


Lately I’ve been interested in mechanical exercise, either in typography or visual patterns. I can’t help scribbling in my sketchbook when I see something I find worth imitating. Through the everyday practice, I thus realize that my lines today differ from those of yesterday, not to mention the change in a few months. When others are aware of it, I will be a world far from where I am. Now Von’s growth pushes me to move forward as well.


Though we are constantly gaining something, we are losing something else in the meanwhile. Knowing that Von takes a particular fancy to London and double-deckers, I invite him to come visit me when I make it there. He would have said, “I’ll ask Mommy to take me,” a few months ago. Now he weighs the reality before answering, “I can’t speak English.” I am rather amused, wondering how come it didn’t occur to him that I can. Fortunately, after we finish the picture, I ask him if he’d like to take it home. He says with his typical thoughtfulness, “I want you to keep it because when you miss me, you can look at it.” Every day in life evaporates at the speed of light, but I want to remember Von’s words and lines at this moment, forever.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Office-scape / 辦公室風景


This semester I’ve finally made it back to Jim’s art class. I have never been an analytical person, so it is rather mind-boggling when Jim mentions the correlations between light and dark facets. I can only use my own formula of color blocks to create similar effects. After having taken the watercolor class for a few months, I think I’m gradually getting the hang of it.


Now I expect myself to acquire more skills, but on the other hand, my ultimate goal is to use one single medium to create pictures of quality. For me, a good work is not one made with various media. Instead, I prefer simple strokes that successfully convey power and feeling.


Jim added some sophisticated touches to my Giverny Garden after I was done. The gray office suddenly lights up because of its existence. Even when I walk into the cluttered space from the cold exterior on a freezing winter day with icy rain, I can smell the fragrance of nature in my mind’s eye. When I take my temporary leave from work, I am sure I’ll miss the trivial but soothing image.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Door / 入門

圖攝於巴塞隆納聖家堂‧2009 / photo taken at Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, 2009


It has been almost a week since my interview, and I have lived like a zombie for almost a week, trying to recover from the mental and physical fatigue. I detected many small signs during the past few days. I think I can finally pull myself together before a new week comes my way.


So far, the outcome must sound very gruesome. In fact, it’s not in all senses. The interviewer said in terms of techniques, my drawings are too too too simple. (But since when has my name become my Achille’s heels?) I need to receive solid training in printing, typography and so on. Instead of letting me go into the MA program, she prescribed the Foundation degree for me, which is more like a vocational qualification in the U.K. Seriously speaking, I didn’t know that MA students are required to write a thesis as a requisite for the degree until one week before the interview, and obviously, that is not what I am after. The Foundation degree offers courses which I, as an amateur, should take. There are also opportunities to work with the industry. This should be a tailored decision for me were it not for my fragile self-esteem.


Two days ago in watercolor class, I sat there like a vegetable. My classmate happened to take out my painting from earlier weeks for Jim to revise. Classmate A exclaimed, “Your lines are so much more confident than your physical appearance.” I wanted to retort, “Indeed, I can be such a wimp sometimes.” Then classmate B went on to say, “You have a very distinctive personal style.” Watercolor painting is my weakest, and still, I was amazed that some sort of personal style could be distinguished. Their remarks formed a complete contrast with the interviewer’s sharp comment, “Your lines are still struggling.” It dawned on me that many things in the world are just relative. For viewers with less experience, my lines are bold. However, for the professionals who work in the industry, my lines are not clearly formed yet.


Despite my lack of will to try other schools, I did give it a thought. In the end, I chose to accept the offer. Not because I have no faith in myself but because I think it’s time for me to learn everything I don’t know with humility. Speaking of my past student life, I used to be supported by a very strong sense of superiority. Now I don’t have that anymore, and I don’t need it. All I am looking for is a door through which I can take a look at the field. As for the remaining weeks before 2010 ends, I want to make some difference in my and others’ lives with my drawings.


I’ve had the longing to change because at this age, I know my life will be more or less the same, even in the coming 20 years. I should feel greatly pleased that I have something that is struggling instead of having taken shape in every aspect. If God doesn’t have other challenges for me temporarily, then, London, I shall see you in ten months’ time.


PS: I want to thank all of you for your faith in me and your encouragement!