Becoming An Artist

It’s true what they say about the power of art.

In the past 3 years or so, I have bought more than 100 books related to painting and drawing. To explain my crazy purchases, I guess somewhere in my conscious mind I was planning on becoming an artist and perhaps using art as a form of therapy when one day my dog is gone.

But when my dog’s illness got worse and he passed away unexpectedly last year, I was hit hard by it. My grief at the loss ran so deep that I didn’t want to look at any books let alone sit down and paint.

Life has changed. I accept it. And the way I accept it is by reinventing myself.

Just last month, I told my friends and family I’m not returning to the corporate world, I’m retiring. Part of me knew I was going to find my calling and start something new. And that something new is painting.

It was time to dust off those art books on the shelves, take out the painting, drawing tools and accessories, and start painting. They’d been part of the furniture for too long.

When everything was set, what came next? The first few minutes, it felt like I’d just woken up from years of hibernation. I was sitting in front of a piece of watercolour paper, looking a bit lost, like a writer facing a blank page, I didn’t know what to start. But I said to myself, just paint whatever.

As soon as I picked up a pencil to draw a line, I was hungry for more. Once brushwork was set in motion, a few good minutes turned into a few good hours. Wow! I realised I’d experienced a flow state.

As a newbie, an aspiring artist, it’s important to start from scratch, learn the basics and study the techniques, then develop my own unique style. I must say, with practice, I’ve seen some pleasing results, beyond my expectations.

One thing I’ve benefited from the painting process is that, I’ve transformed myself into a calmer and more observant person. I am able to appreciate some fine details in small things and often find myself in awe of their magic and hidden beauty. Simple objects like fruits and flowers, when I look at them closely, I can see there’s a tiny universe in their make-up.

It’s going to be a lifelong hobby. Looking back, that little kid who loved writing, doing calligraphy, drawing manga, then stopped for 4 decades, he finally woke up, got out of the rat race, and put himself on the path to becoming an artist.

And the last word? Long time no see Ted.

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