Posted by Lakshmi
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I have started teaching decorative art recently. It started off quite by chance . A friend, after viewing my collection, asked me if I could teach her. Acquiesing to her request, I casually showed her how it was done; a few times. When I discussed this with my sifu, she suggested that I should do it properly and so properly I did. It's a whole new experience, teaching art, I mean. All this while, for almost 25 years in fact, I had been teaching English and now I find myself more interested in a hobby I picked up only a few years ago!

To put it bluntly, the calibre of students have terribly declined so. I had to practically cajole and coax them to apply themselves . Having gone through this a good number of times and having worn myself thin in the process, I am finally letting it go. Sad, but hey, life is about changes, isn't it?

It has been quite a bit of fun, really, having art students for a change. Guiding and teaching them is a new experience. This is a hobby craft, after all, not something that you are forced to like and learn. The students are all the mumsy types, meaning, they arrange their timing to coincide with their kids school and tuition hours and what not. Sometimes the tiny tots will watch Disney channel while mum is busy with me. I am thoroughly enjoying this for sure. Of course, now that I can draw a 'rosy' rose, I preen inwardly and congratulate myself when they go all gaga when I show them the strokes! Did you know that painting a rose is one of the most frustrating experience? I've had my fair share of what I call ' hair pulling, ranting and raving mad ' days and times. Anyone would, I guess, for the rose is not called the queen of flowers for nothing! Nevertheless, the phase passes and eventually you would literally float in the air when you get the compliments . You can look at some of my rose themed paintings and judge for yourself.

Posted by Lakshmi
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I have some problem trying to put up my pictures in my column. So bear with me please. I guess I am not quite computer savvy, as yet.

I have just completed painting my birdhouse. As I already had one done earlier, I thought it would make a wonderful gift for my very very good friend, Maggie, who recently celebrated her birthday ( you never reveal a lady's age nor her financial status) . Maggie is dear friend of mine. A gem of a lady to be sure. Tall and beautiful, kind and caring and matched with a cheerfull and bubbly personality , she fulfills all the requirement of what a real friend should be. She is a storehouse of wisdom , kindness and generosity and I am truly glad of our friendship .

One of the wonderful things about decorative/folk art is that you no longer have the terrible problem of trying to figure out what gifts to give to your friends and family. All I have to do now is to give them one of my handpainted items and bask in their " oohs and aahs". Not only is it a unique piece of art but they can actually use it for practical purposes; like the cutlery box, or the pencil caddy, or the paper towel holder, etc. etc.

I painted the birdhouse with rose bushes and creepers laden with flowers, potted plants and windows . The blue door with glass panes completes the entrance. I will try to put the birdhouse in my gallery soon.

My ramblings...

Posted by Lakshmi
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Have been in hibernation since my last entry in January! So many things zapped by . So many things needed my attention. But, as they say, there comes a time when you realise that you don't want to zap through your life too and that time has come for me, I think. So, here I am, taking time to smell the roses, literally, if you see my pictures. Please do take your time, sit back comfortably and enjoy the journey as I have.

It's never too late to learn and that has been exactly what is happening to me . I actually started this on a fancy. I have always been game to trying something new . Must be because I am a Gemini. Geminis are always looking for new interest all the time, not content with what we have learnt. Anyway, this particular passion for painting went from a fancy to obsession. Interestingly, I haven't gone off the route, which I would have usually done. I mean, I knew I am an 'arty' kinda person (!) - I like dancing, singing, playing instruments, day dreaming, etc, etc but to have sustained this long in painting is a miracle for me too. I don't think I am going to go off course anymore......

Now, getting started, let me see,

A word of thanks to my teachers Tengku Norashikin, Ms Aniza Khir and Ms Zaitun a.k.a Olive .,who have all shared with me their knowledge and style. Great people they. Tengku Shikin was the first to introduce me into this art. I travelled all the way to Kajang and landed at her house at 8am! Sure had her shocked there. A great lady who was gracious enough to give me a cuppa so early in the morn without lecturing me when I deposited myself at her doorstep even before she left her bedroom ! Had loads of fun though. A strong and vibrant personality who believed in calling a spade a spade . No glossing over for her. A straight talking and gutsy lady if you ever saw one! You would never guess she could sing along, karaoke style, with most of the Lite & Easy radio requests. Phew!
Never a dull moment with her around and the motley crowd of students. Oh, a great cook too to boot. Some people are so lucky!

Now, about Ms Aniza Khir. If you are looking for a really really talented and skilled artist , she is the one I know. As soft spoken as a fluffy mimosa flower. Sweet natured too . Never says no directly to you, but you would know by her "mmmm..." or " why don't we try another colour ?" I could spend hours drawing with her and would'nt know the time passing by, then , realising that its late, step on the pedal and speed through the traffic all the way home!. I picked up the finer skills and points from her. Still am. There's so much to learn from her and most times, she overwhelms me with her knowledge and skill. When with her, I wonder to myself "Why the heck I didn't start this 20 years ago? I would have been as good as or better than her by now!! " Ha, ha, ha, very funny, is it not?

My other teacher has been Ms Zaitun a.k.a. Olive ( a literal translation from Bahasa Malaysia) I finally understood how to draw a rose which actually looked like a rose and not a mutant variety of one. A lady with a warm personality and charming demeanour, she understood my dilemma and gave me hope ! What a relief it was . I could finally, finally, attempt a smile and feel tall, among the weeds(!), when I saw my roses. At least, it resembled like one now and not a ninja turtle. I am really indebted to her for this single accomplishment.

I have by now drawn quite a number of artworks and each one of them has been a labour and I mean a real labour of hard work, sleeplessness and, above all, passion. A good many have been bought by my friends who saw my work and it is at times like these that a feeling of pride encompasses me. I dearly thank them for this as unknowingly,this has made be believe in myself and my craft. I think all artists feel this way too. I guess I have come a long way now . Of course, along the way, I've made many friends and acquaintances. A big hi to Norita, Rashidah and Roslin if you are reading this.

Readers can have a look at some of the pieces that I have done . What I especially like about this art is that not only do you learn a versatile and beautiful craft but that you can use these items for a practical and functional purpose too. The art pieces helps create an air of country living in our work stressed lives and helps transform a house into a home. At least, it has done for me. Having read one too many fairy tales during my childhood growing years has made me unconsciously reach for styles like these.

I hope you like what you see . You are absolutely welcome to make any comments. Your feedback would be really appreciated.