Monday, May 30, 2011

When I look back / 回顧


It dawns on me that this year is almost half over. I seem to have been quite laidback in May, but the truth is that I am pretty prolific this month. It’s just that many images belong only to certain moments or specific people. What I wanted to say had sunk into the river of time or the wells in some hearts.


Watercolor classes go on as usual. Lately Jim has been discussing the issue of techniques with me again. Over the past few months, trying to make up for what I lack, I have repeated the basic exercise of using brush pens. That is radically different from my past habit of creating mainly for self-expression. Jim mentioned that being equipped with sophisticated techniques, we can choose not to use them, but not having them will make many painting tasks impossible. I didn’t fully get the message in his words then, though.

Mentally, the two-hour lesson every week records my ups and downs. At the beginning of the semester, I painted a picture in which everyone could feel my impatience. By the mid-semester, I tried to let go of my typical heavy brushstrokes, desiring to start anew with a light, transparent style. I believed that I had calmed down inside whereas Jim said he felt the jumps in me. Well, to put it mildly, I am quite full of life. My classmates or colleagues said I have Chagall and Van Gogh in me, but now I long for Monet’s mellowness. It’s fun that watercolor classes not only provide me with opportunities to hone my skills but also reflect what kind of person I am.


In recent weeks I have been doodling in my kids’ yearbooks. Suddenly the skills that Jim had taught popped out of nowhere on a certain morning. I felt self-fulfilled. It’s like I’ve been sowing for eons, and when I raise my head one day, what’s in front of eyes is totally different.


Sometimes when I look at other people’s lives, I’d wish that I were Ana or Serge, but today I feel it’s good to be me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Caterina’s Garden / 凱特的花園


This week I’ve been observing numerous flowers and plants. I checked out the lovely exhibition of Monet’s water lily paintings and accidentally found the gorgeous English garden in front of Taipei Story House. I was still wondering what I should draw for Caterina’s birthday gift. Fortunately, on the rainy Saturday, I was struck by a superb inspiration while doodling at my desk. Though I prefer sunny gardens, but the rainy ones are especially poetic. And Caterina happens to be a botanist, so why not let the flowers wish her a wonderful birthday!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Life Stories / 人生故事


This week I’ve suffered from some frustrations. Deeply aware that I can’t wallow in depression, I walked out of myself every day to take a look at others’ lives and to converse with them. My hope was to re-examine my dilemma from a new perspective after I came back. In Shiang Mountain, I ran across Mr. Round with his chubby dog and a bunch of passionate senior photographers waiting to capture Taipei 101 at sunset. In Chinese painting class, I had a long talk with Mr. Pottery, who used to work with numbers before retirement. On weekends, I stumbled into Bo Pi Liao, a historic site near Long-shan Temple. There I accidentally discovered Master Shan, a calligraphy writer engaged in the art for over sixty years. I was too eager to derive wisdom from everyone’s experiences because I had found myself to be too tender, too fragile.


Most of all, I would like to express my heart-felt thanks to the kind and sincere folks around me. Their support is priceless, and without them, I wouldn’t be able to write these words now. One of the lessons the incident taught me is that I should pay it forward selflessly when seeing others in need of help.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Lost love / 失去的愛

“Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those sentences weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it. Life has to end. Love doesn’t.”

by Mitch Albom


-米奇 • 愛爾邦