Sunday, September 23, 2012

Comforted / 安心


Today I met my favorite little boy Juan again. After I finished his portrait, I offered to be his model. Little did I expect that I would turn out to be Doraemon with curly hair. 


I have got into a habit now. In friends' gatherings, if there is a group of kids, I will automatically move over and pretend to be one of them. Usually I bring colored pens with me, and that enables us to draw together. I feel that I didn't get to be a child when young. Now I am intent on making up to myself for the fun I didn't enjoy of spending time with children of my age before. 


Juan drew fearlessly in my journal. We each were responsible for one page. He commented on my old-looking portrait, so I drew a younger version of myself, which obviously pleased him more than the first one. He was engrossed in drawing his beloved Doraemon again. We chatted about the song Turkish March. His eyes shone with glow saying, "That's my favorite song!" 


Sometimes I talk so much that I don't believe in what I say anymore. But at this moment, if there is a child sitting next to me and drawing with me in silence, their presence never fails to comfort me...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Caterina's Chinese words / 凱特的中國字


I mentioned wanting to learn Italian back in August, and meanwhile Caterina said she'd like to learn Chinese. I am always known for my efficiency in taking action, but this time Caterina beat me. She has signed up for Chinese language courses. 


I've wanted to do a book on Chinese words. I asked Caterina to list ten favorite words. Today I tried to brainstorm for solutions. Chinese words are rich in images themselves, so there must be a lot of ways to create the pictures. 


To begin with, I experimented with the word "thanks." I asked my family a question. If every Chinese character is endowed with a color, which color will you give to "thanks?" 


While we were drawing and partying, Kai fell from his chair. I used an abandoned cardboard to draw a portrait of him shedding tears in pain. Though he had kept saying I made him look really ugly, he still insisted on taking the artwork home at the end of the day...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On the defense / 心防


I am finally starting my new picture book project this week. I was kind of at a loss, but since the main character is a warrior, it occurred to me that I could ask the boys to pose for me. Interestingly, they both fought to be the warrior, especially Kai. However, I needed the reference of victims as well. In the end I had to demonstrate in person, and we really had a blast.


I read a story about being on the defense, received a phone call about being on the defense today. Someone let down the wall, while someone else is still struggling. We might like a person while being on the defense against him or her. It's just that we do not know each other well yet. I understand it all, but whatever your problem is, I will go on being a beautiful, extrovert, and peaceful 36-year-old big girl.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Grape tree boy / 葡萄樹男孩


One day Kai watched me eat grapes without spitting the seeds. I told him that in this way a grape tree will grow in me and that we will have tons of free grapes to eat. He found the whole thing fun, so he asked for some red and green grapes from me in the hope that the miracle will happen to him.


Today I read about David Shrigley, who emphasizes the idea of filling the pages. I drew several images of the grape tree boy and let Kai pick one he prefers.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Idol / 偶像


A while ago I kept mentioning how Munari's picture book influenced me. Then I received a superb birthday gift from Italy: Caterina mailed me another book by Munari. Well, asked if I have any idol, Munari will certainly be in the top three. He is the author of tons of books including picture books and design. The subjects cover a wide range. I have great admiration for this gentleman. 


At one point I tore up my drawings out of dissatisfaction. Fortunately, the inspiration I derived from Munari saved me from the artist's block. 


I hope friends that receive these postcards will feel the glow of Mr. Munari too...

I can / 我可以


Sunday morning. My dear parents went with NTU with zest for their sharpening their photo-taking skills. I was reading the book London Illustrated written by two Korean authors who received illustration education in Kingston University. It seems that they have much more sketch sessions than we do in Camberwell. I recalled the promise I made to myself before coming back: I will draw, if not harder, at least as hard when I come home. That was why I could come home without any regret. Thus I grabbed one of my luxurious birthday gifts and rushed to the traditional market in the neighborhood for drawing sketches.


Somehow I had the urge to draw chicken. I learned that the vendors feed them with watermelons. The combination of red, black, ochre and green is just fantastic. 


It is hard not to feel thrilled in the market. The vendors hawk with full force; the chickens moan in misery; I love that familiarity in people's greetings to each other. I even run into an acquaintance asking me what I am up to on the bench. The vivid colors of veggies and fruits and the oily colors of cooked food give me such visual stimulation. Everyone I see has something special about them physically and mentally that I want to draw them all. Life here is so beautiful. Also, a seemingly-ordinary middle-aged couple comes grocery-shopping together, but the sweetness of their love shines. I feel my dead cells coming alive again. 


I drew sketches in the markets in Valencia, Budapest and London. Why can't I do the same in Taipei? My classmates in London are about to begin their new term. I should work hard on my home-schooling  too. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

What I miss / 我想念的


When I traveled in Paris at the end of March, I wasn't in the mood for drawing. Yet those casual doodles seem unusually precious now because the moments they record can't be relived.


My intimate murmur after the trip to North Ireland in April. 


This week I have started to sketch again. I know no matter how messy or unsure my lines now are, I am bound to miss them in the future. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Seed / 種子


After waking up this morning, I drew all the way to work. Though my heart was crowded with sparks, I looked as composed as ever the moment I started working. I even did some mental counseling for several people. 


In the evening, Kai and I practiced drawing portraits for each other. It then occurred to me that 31 years ago, my parents had the epiphany that I was Picasso incarnate when they saw my first drawing. They immediately sent me to a studio for fear that my talent might be left in oblivion. They didn't know that better than making me Picasso, the seed has become my gigantic mental support. 


I hope Kai will think of me in the same way in thirty years...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I might love you / 我可能會愛你


This is the third week after the new semester started. Every day I feel kind of suffocated. Every weekend I look back on the week to see how I can do better. Every morning before going to work I have to spend 10 minutes drawing to calm my mind. 


It took me a year to love my ex-students as they are, but now I don't have another year. Yesterday at a point I was moved by some really nice girls, though I was as tired as a dog after work. 


I don't want to worry anymore, not about how I can turn into the kind of people I expect. Just let me be me, and I might love you. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Time will tell. / 讓時間說真話。


In my art class today, my students do not show up. I am sitting at the desk drawing a major life lesson God has been reviewing for me for the past few weeks in every way: Time will tell. 

Four Dinosaurs in London / 倫敦四兄弟


I was lonely in London. I desired to be understood, but meanwhile I knew it was a lofty wish. After coming home, I could finally face my loneliness and turn it into images. 


My four dinosaurs, who dream of finding a place in London, also have the same need for love...

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Greetings / 問候


I hadn't hand-drawn postcards for a long while. Today I turned all my greetings into images...

Saturday, September 08, 2012



Today is the first day of the 36th year in my life. I woke up in the morning with the sun. Seeing the orange light reflected from outside, I know that today will be as warm and bright as me.


If there is a theme for every birthday, for me, this year it is gratitude. Since coming back from London, people I run into everywhere have constantly reminded me what a beautiful life I have. I have a very loving family and friends, two super adorable pet boys, the courage to fulfill my dream, the motivation to change for the better, a fantastic job, passion for drawing and most of all, the ability to love. Thus, I set the goal to pay it all forward before my birthday. 


I asked the boys to draw birthday cards for me. We drew and sang, from George Benson's Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You in English to De Planete en Planete, the theme song for the cartoon The Little Prince in French, to Tu Vuo Fa L'Americano in Italian. In the end we all jumped from our chairs to swing, repeating the word l'americano like mad. Kai was so exhausted from drawing my cake that he had to take a deep breath from time to time. I joked with him, "Auntie Wanda feels very bitter about having to draw her own birthday cake." 


Von said he wanted to draw a horse, which can accompany me when he is not around. In the end the horse turned out to be a dinosaur. Von hasn't learned how to write Chinese characters yet, so we two wrote together down his best wishes for me. 


I also want to thank many guardian angels of mine for their sincere greetings. I know I am so blessed...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Wanda's art class 12 / 汪達的美術課 12


I have no clue since when I have collected more and more Virgo friends, so since the end of August, we have been rather busy making birthday cards in our evening art class. However, since I am also one of the difficult Virgo babies, only our VIP family and friends can have the privilege to get our handmade cards. 


When Shaggy received these two cards, she was on the brink of tears. True, as the boys grow up at a light year speed, these lines record their best wishes of a specific moment. They can't be replicated. 


Next the boys drew cards for their granny. Von drew a lovely grandma with wings. We sent the cards to her heart on the night before her birthday. 


Who is going to be my guardian angel? 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Wanda's art class 11 / 汪達的美術課 11


Jodi Picoult's words occur to me one more time: People we love surprise us every day. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Wanda's art class 10 / 汪達的美術課 10


Every day in our art class, I will ask Von about his school life. He's a faithful little boy, always hanging out with his old friends from the kindergarten during the break. It's also a routine for him to visit the little girl whom he has a crush on, but he says, "I don't know why, but for several days when she sees me, she just runs away." I can't imagine that Von has already encountered such a thorny problem at the age of six. I reply, "I bet she must be shy. Why don't you go make some new friends? They might turn out to be really nice people." However, Von insists on spending time with his old pals. 


I actually regret after uttering out these words. If we, eventually, will master the art of hiding our feelings, or put on masks, why do I teach a six-year-old to be emotionally considerate and magnanimous or give space to someone he likes? Von's sixth year is beautiful right because of his sincere and honest feelings. 


9 p.m. in the evening art class, no one needs any psychotherapist. Let us all be ourselves, so free and careless...