Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wanda's art class 8 / 汪達的美術課 8


My aunt is hosting a young guest, a six-year-old terminally ill boy. Sadness creeps into my heart when I  think that he won't be able to grow up like our boys. This noon Meiyen mentioned the topic of seeing our family tortured by disease. She feels very tiny when faced with illness and death. I replied, "Yes, but meanwhile we should feel lucky about having the ability to take care of others."


In our art class today, Von shared his first day at school. He greeted his new classmates, but some didn't  say hello back. I was afraid his fragile heart was bruised, but he took it in stride, saying, "But some did talk to me." We are not brainless idiots fully of passion. We happen to be the brave ones who warm up to others first. Seeing him so mature, I couldn't help feeling proud of him. 


Kai, who is very good at sweet talk, drew and murmured, "Auntie Wanda, I am going home tomorrow. I will miss you. I really really love you." Though I was moved, I pretended to be detached and teased him, "There are so many people you love. Name them." He did end up reciting the names of our big family. Since Dad was sitting next to us, I whispered in Kai's ear, "Say you love your god granddad." Kai didn't feel shy about expressing his feeling at all, and after that, he went on to please his god grandma. 


It was at that moment that I saw the answer. 


I then asked Kai if he loves the little boy and his mom. He said, "I do!" It occurred to me to make some cards and ask the delivery boy Kai for help. I emphasized, "You have to say 'I love you!' when you give them the cards. This is your idea. Auntie Wanda just carried out it for you." Kai, the most adorable boy I have ever seen, ran home with the cards shouting, "I-love-you cards are coming!" 


Even though I am just a stranger, I still feel like offering a warm hug when witnessing others' misery. I know we can never win in the race against life, so why not say "I love you!" loudly, sentimentally, or thankfully? At least we will see a small glow of light in the dark valley of sadness, knowing that we are not alone. 


This is the lesson a three-year-old boy taught me. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wanda's art class 7 / 汪達的美術課 7


I am no expert in origami. However, there has to be some variety in our daily art class. I don't want to impose any boundary on myself. Besides, the boys were thrilled upon seeing the origami dinosaurs on the Web.


We started from very basic origami dinosaurs, which looked quite impressive for beginners. 


However, when we attempted to try the advanced version, we encountered setbacks. At this point I declared, "Why don't we draw dinosaurs with colored bones?" 


The kids were very easygoing. They had no doubt about my words. Because the Japanese origami paper is very pricey, it makes the images look good whatever we do. 


This art class is my greatest comfort after a day's hard work! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

there is only love / 就抱著愛吧!


I've been reading The Happiness Project. The author Gretchen Rubin made a chart for twelve months, in each of which she had to tackle different subjects to improve herself and enhance the sense of happiness. In the second chapter on marriage, she mentioned a friend who had a difficult boss, but she convinced herself, "There is only love." Because of her mindset, she didn't complain.


Today I received a message from Wen Dee in London. She was listening to a talk given by Quentin Blake and Shaun Tan, surrounded by publishers. The short message elated me, though I no longer live in that world. During the past year, I drew because I wanted either to impress others or to win a book contract. Finally I can draw again simply because I feel happy. For me, I feel I have regained something I lost.


The starting point "there is only love" seems insignificant, but it is actually the biggest impetus behind all sorts of success!

Wanda's art class 6 / 汪達的美術教室 6

楷維和汪達繪 / by Kai and Wanda 

思維和汪達繪 / by Von and Wanda


The dinosaurs EAT UP London!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wanda's art class 5 / 汪達的美術課 5


After having read Munari's l'uomo del camion, I was really tempted to try the format of this book. I knew I would meet up a pretty little girl on the weekend, so I decided to have a takeout art class. 


Meanwhile I'd love to make an experiment. If a child is interested in picture books and drawing, then can we try to modify his or her behavior through picture books? I thus made a personalized picture book for Nio. 


I got so carried away that I made a book bag for the book. 

The Listening Princess 

story and illustration by Weichuen You 

Nio is different from other princesses in that she doesn't chatter on and on. 

Nio knows that she has to be quiet and listen really hard to hear many things. 

For example. She can hear Dad's lack of self-confidence, much as he wants to take good care of everyone. 

She can hear Mom's fatigue from work. Sometimes she just wants a hug, but she doesn't say it. 

She can hear her little brother's love for her, despite the fact that he can only grin at her because he hasn't learned to talk yet. 

Having heard these secrets that are not revealed to any other person, Nio decides to give everyone a gift. 

When Dad picks her up from school, Nio holds his hand saying, "Daddy, I worked hard at school today. You have to do your best too ok?" 

Nio waits with the moon for Mom. She wants to welcome her home with a BIG hug! 

Before going to bed, Nio kisses her little brother, whispering in his ear: I love you too. Let's play together in our dreams as well!" 

Dear Nio, now be quiet for ten minutes. What do you hear from your mom, dad and brother? Draw it in the blank space on the right-side page. 


My friends were almost moved to tears, but upon reading the exercise on the last page, they couldn't help bursting into crazy laughter. They asked, "Why can't you stop being a teacher?" 


Finally I feel free in drawing again. After a night's sleep, a new idea occurred to me, and I couldn't help further developing it. 


I prepared extra paper for Nio so that she could do collage with shapes that stand for things/objects that don't make any sound. A lot of beautiful things, such as the sun, the moon, stars, mountains, flowers, are silent. I hope Nio gets the point of this exercise. 


This was the first time that Nio remained so engaged and quiet when we ate. So nice. I told Mom that the price for this picture book, translated into monetary value, is 1.2 million NTD, the amount of money  I spent during the past year. But I have not been so happy because of drawing for a while, not even in London. 


Time for next lesson! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wanda's art class 4 / 汪達的美術課 4


During the recess of our art class, we have the agenda of reading picture books together. This week the boys take a fancy to Bruno Munari's l'uomo del camion. One of the reasons is that they are tickled by my Italian pronunciation. When we go on short field trips, strolling on the roads, we can't help shouting "motocicletta," "bicicletta!"


After finding out which class he'll be in, Von rushed to report to me that he had seen the name of the little girl he has a crush on. Though they are not in the same class, he is still overjoyed. Because I know adults can't just feel satisfied because of the existence of another person, because I know we always ask for more than that, I so love his untainted happiness. 

號稱校外教學的行程只是我去繳費和領書的堂皇藉口,我們三人手牽手走在路上,不一會下起雨來,我們狼狽地奔跑著,此時小方和我豔羨地對阿楷說:你那顆頭真好!都不會溼!本來還有點介意的他說:對啊!好棒!我們在屋簷下躲雨之際,這傢伙以Fred Astaire的姿態衝到雨中興奮地轉起圈圈,配上開懷的笑聲,那真是極美麗的畫面!

Well, the so-called field trip was nothing but a grandiose excuse for my errands. The three of us walked on the busy roads hand in hand. But then we felt raindrops kissing our faces. We picked up the speed and ran for shelter. At this moment, Von and I exclaimed with envy, "Kai, we'd like to have your head. You don't get wet!" Without any previous embarrassment, he replied, "Yes, I love it!" While we were waiting under a roofed building, Kai just ran into the rain turning around as if he were Fred Astaire, laughing that silver-bell laugh only the happiest person in the world is entitled to. What a gorgeous image! 


My British possessions, after two months of sailing on the vast sea, have come back to me. Among them are the tram car that accompanied me during the whole journey and the wooden man from Jazel. Now I have everything, loneliness and togetherness, but it is the latter that cradles me now. So even if God shows me just the lines and contours, I can see the colors and the glow. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wanda's art class 3 / 汪達的美術課 3


Upon hearing pattering footsteps in the morning, I know it's the kids coming over to say good morning. They will make sure that we have art class immediately after breakfast. This is Kai's new hairstyle. He's still making efforts to get used to it. I say, "Your head is as beautiful as a golden full moon. Since I was born on a full-moon night, I especially love your round head." He says this photo is only between me and him, but I still can't help posting it. 


Though I studied illustration in London, I am inspired when it comes to art education. When the boys take their seats, I make a serious announcement, "Today our task is to prepare three gifts for my new students. You two are very important. Next week when I give them the gifts, I 'll mention that I had two fantastic assistants. Well, I am actually being lazy by having the boys do part of the work for me. 


The three-year-old Kai can't concentrate as much as his elder brother, but he finishes the work all the way, and I end up giving him a big brownie point. 


The list of students that made their way to my class is announced today. They certainly don't know there are already shiny gifts waiting for them. Why did my mom put so much love in me when she gave birth to me? 


We draw and chat at the same time. I say to Von: When you go to school, you have to tell your classmates that you have a "young and beautiful" aunt. He replies: Yes, and also an art teacher. I go on to clarify: No, an English teacher. So it doesn't make sense if we don't learn some English words. I count as a very high-class tutor don't I... 


Several friends asked me if I am doing well after coming back. I always gave the same answer: I am loved here... 


Look at Von's six-year-old handwriting. He draws "Thank you!" for thirty times. How idiosyncratic it is!

Wanda's art class 2 / 汪達的美術課 2


Von is going to start his elementary school life next week. He is a miniature adult now, having absorbed all sorts of knowledge from us and books. This should call for a celebration, but meanwhile, something is missing.


Kai is three years and two months old. Lately he has become quite polite and mature. Children stride into adulthood at such a lightning pace that adults have to be very observant to see what they have gained and lost.


Born with a middle-aged mindset, I always looked at other kids with a little bit of disdain and indifference. It was not until I became an adult that I realized how pathetic it was to live without their free mind. So when others learn to become grown-ups, I learn to be a child. And I want to help children hold onto that freedom.


Imagination is more important than knowledge.   by Einstein 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I / 我

Wanda's art class 1 / 汪達的美術課 1


Today is a special Sunday. I worked for 11 hours. After coming home, the boys came eagerly to ask when they could come over to draw. I told them to give me some more time.


The art class started around nine thirty p.m. We doodled and smudged in the study. For me, this was the most peaceful moment of the day. I could see that the boys truly enjoyed it too.


Lately if Kai hasn't behaved himself, I'll threaten him by saying he can't come to our art class. The strategy works like magic. I am so glad that the boys know the charm of drawing.


And the pure joy of our being together...

Things that make me happy / 開心


The balcony at six a.m.


Colorful calls at six thirty a.m.

Friday, August 17, 2012

NO such thing / 沒有這回事



Part I

After I started working, I do not have so much free time at my disposal. But the less time I have, the more I want to draw. This morning I have to leave for work, so I got up early and had breakfast quickly just to draw the background of a pop-up card I'd like to try. I really enjoyed myself. It was not until I almost finished it that I realized I had drawn on the wrong side! Sigh...I hardly have carefully-made plans carried out in the exactly same ways as I'd like to.


It's alright. Tomorrow this mistake will become the boys' weekend surprise!



Part II

I was making the paper-cut dinosaurs until eleven p.m. on Friday night. Today the boys will have to look hard for them and count the number. There'll be a merry mess in the house today!