Therapy by Ink, Water and Textured Paper

Spent the Saturday painting with my old Chinese calligraphy set. Brought it to my dad’s house and played and expressed with it, in a way that made me almost okay with the house. Art is a gift to humankind, something innate that we all can do, if we only just give ourselves the time and space to. This is also why I love my day job - we promote the arts for mental well-being.

Starting with flowers, which has always been the easiest entryway into Chinese painting for me, I picked the lotus for its largeness and generosity, and then the lily for its personal meaning to me. The mathematician in me needed some “order” and so I limited myself to two colours in each of these artworks - black ink and another colour. I also kept the content to a flower and an insect each, as well as using the coloured ink to trace a whimsical pathway of how the insect might have travelled. 

Satisfaction is seldom achieved in artmaking. And that is okay. The experience teaches me not to strive or expect satisfaction, but to try continually towards the goal of my own creation, to always be a better me. Perhaps this is why I have always loved the Chinese idiom 精益求精. When I told my best friend that I have never managed to do the idiom justice in my calligraphy, this is what my best friend said, “In itself it is a state of ‘in progress, and never be contented with what you achieve…’ So if you find you can’t do it justice, you are halfway there!” She is so wise.

As a final artwork for the day, I decided to try something I don’t usually draw. People. I decided to draw people doing activities, but I didn’t want to draw them at work, and so I thought about depicting them at rest and at play. This came about, which brought surprising joy for how it brought out my subtle playfulness into a painting.

Will certainly do more of this soon.

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