A Cat’s Meow

In 2000, Muschi entered Maeuschen’s enclosure at the Berlin zoo and never wanted to leave. Muschi (“Pussy”) is a black cat and Maeuschen (“Little Mouse”) is a black Asian bear. No one knows where Muschi came from but ever since Muschi and Maeuschen became best friends, they sun-bathed together and shared food and shelter with each other. To have a best friend, no matter how different, is a cat’s meow indeed.

An Introvert’s POV

Having read Bryan Walsh’s, “The Upside of Being an Introvert”: (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2105432,00.html), I was encouraged to learn about another introvert’s POV (point of view). Just as Walsh writes about needing a time-out after (or in the midst of) a social gathering, I require pockets of time to recharge in solitude; my favorite moments are when I get the read or paint at night (hence the barn owl); I added the magnolia which  means “love of nature” because organic elements help me feel grounded. The jar is a terrarium because lately, I’ve been obsessed with making my own peaceful world in a pickle jar. The jar’s opening symbolizes my openness to God (He is my ultimate source of serenity).

Introverts don’t get to share their POV very often and I’m so glad Mr. Walsh did.

My Sister’s Garden

My sister Rita had always wanted to plant a vegetable garden with her children. She had very little success at her previous rental place with its poor rocky soil and brutal sun exposure. After moving to her new rental home, she decided to add soil to a plastic kiddie pool, some large plastic pots, and a strip of land next to her fence. She and her four children planted carrots, squash, tomatoes, herbs, corn, beans, and sunflowers. The vegetation grew with great success; my sister must be so proud to be able to harvest something homegrown from her very own garden.

Birthday Boys

Two days ago, I spent a morning with my nephews to celebrate their birthdays; Cadence has turned nine and little Tadhg three. Grandparents, parents, sisters, and aunt (me) had a lovely birthday brunch with mango pudding, deviled eggs, and homemade donuts. It was a quiet and calm day filled with joy for everyone. Seeing the boys side-by-side reminded me of when Cadence used to be Tadhg’s age and had chubby cheeks just like him. Happy birthday, Boys!

In Miniature

When I was a child I would visit my grandparents whose home was on the island of Cheung Chau. As I walked up the cement steps, I would enter a small courtyard where my grandfather’s bonsai trees were displayed in shallow stoneware. I loved the miniature trees with the tiny pagodas and the figures of old men with long beards. Most of all, I loved rearranging the little ceramic pandas around in their shaded habitats. I also was introduced to the anime My Neighbor Tortoro as a child (the Cantonese version is much better than the one dubbed by Disney). Because Tortoro is the spirit of the forest, I thought it would be wonderful if there were miniature Tortoros that kept bonsai trees company.

Help From Miss Skeeter

In the film The Help, Emma Stone stars as Skeeter, a single white female aspiring to become a journalist living in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. Her hometown has not changed much since she has left and returned from college, with the exception that her girlfriends have all been married with children and are living domesticated lives like stepford wives; on the other hand, African-Americans are still treated as second-class citizens. In contrast to most women of her society, Skeeter does not play by the rules; she speaks her mind and is brave enough to interview the black women in secret. As she is recording, the camelias bloom and grow, representing stories which hold strength and beauty. The Help is a much-needed reminder of how narrow-minded society can be and that everyone deserves compassion, dignity, and equality.

Sky, Water, Sand

Last week I was given a three by four-foot canvas to paint on; oh, the possibilities were endless. Yet it was quite daunting to paint something so white and so large (it was large for me); it was also to be displayed in the foyer of my church. I let ideas stew for a day before taking the leap of faith. My vision is that when people step from the frantic world into the church building, I want them to see this painting and be soothed by it. What more soothing and majestic than an ocean scene; when I spend time at a beach, I would be in awe at the expanse of sky, water, and sand, listen to the pounding surf, witness the rhythm of the tide, breathe in the fresh ocean breeze and be reminded of God’s majesty and power, his faithfulness with his promises, and his immeasurable love for us; that is what the sky, water, and sand represent.

Miette Grows Up

Miette from the French film The City of Lost Children (La Cite des Enfants Perdus) is one of my favorite film characters. The sci-fi fantasy story is about a mad scientist who kidnaps children in order to steal their dreams; Miette is a gutsy orphaned girl who decides to help a strongman named One find his kidnapped little brother Denree. In my painting, I portrayed Miette as not a little girl as seen in the film but as a young teenager after she, Denree, and One forge a new life together.

Art of Napping

Napping is not just for preschoolers; http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50785 suggests naps for adults who are sleep deprived but do not suffer from insomnia. I’m one of those night owls who love to work on my art until the wee hours of the morning if given the chance; the problem is I also need a lot of sleep to feel fully human the next day. Practicing the art of napping (when I can) will keep me running in tip-top shape.

5 to 8

Just yesterday my niece, Arianna, was five years old; this year she will be eight. As she rode my friend’s 1930’s tricycle (back then, they were manufactured large enough to accommodate eight-year-olds), she looked so grown up that it made me think in a blink of an eye she will be a teenager. I drew her as a younger five-year-old self riding a 1930’s pedal car as a comparison of her growth from 5 to 8.