This is my 1-minute video-entry for Project Space Pilipinas. “Emotion in Motion”. I don’t know, but I get goosebumps myself when I see that swirling music box. Reminds me of my childhood when I used to dream of having my own musical box with a ballet dancer in it. The one on the video is a gift from my mom when I was 30! All I need is a little patience. Everything takes their time I guess.
So, it has been 37 days since the lock down. What have you done while on quarantine? Still remaining sane? Our quarantine schedule was supposed to end by April 30, but looking at the graphics, it seems that the number of COVID-19 positive individuals keeps on rising. Sigh! I just hope by the month of May, everything will turn out better. People are getting restless. People starve. People are jobless. People are bored. Bills are adding up each month. I can’t imagine how the poor ones are holding up.
Good people used to donate relief goods, as well as our local government. Yesterday they gave 1,000 pesos each household. That’s not too much, but it will give you food for a week. Last week, they sent rice and canned goods. The other day, our neighbor gave free snacks and bread. These kind-hearted people or group make us all relieved, at least. And, for my birthday tomorrow, I will be giving something to my neighborhood. Small help is better than nothing, right? It is my way of paying it forward.
Two of my artworks were also sold, so I will use the money to help other people in need. It would be my best birthday treat ever!
Today marks our 1 year anniversary. It was summer of last year, I just had this idea of encouraging kids to do something while on vacation. I only have 7 kids on the first day. My neighbors are my pioneer students, including my daughter and my niece. It wasn’t really supposed to be a ‘real’ art school. My goal is for me to do something for the summer, and let the kids enjoy some hours free from gadgets. I never thought that after that day, inquiries poured-in and moms keep calling for their kids to be ‘enrolled’ in my summer art class. And the rest is history. I finished that summer with 52 students! It’s such an amazing [even exhausting] experience for me and the kids.
After summer, kids still love to continue their art adventure. So, when the school year [June, 2019] began, I offered art classes on weekends [Saturday and Sunday]. I thought, why not? I was managing my own small eatery on the first floor from Monday to Friday [3:00 pm to 7:00 pm], so I can teach on weekends. That was the plan. But moms with special kids came to me, and they wanted their kids to do something too, when not in school. So, I put them in the morning sessions. Anyway, I start cooking by 12:00 noon. I can do it, I told myself. Weeks passed and toddlers are coming too, especially after lunch [1:00 pm to 3:00 pm], so I adjusted my schedule in my eatery at 4:00 pm. I’m not Wonder Woman though. And, I don’t want to abuse myself. I don’t need to [my hub told me so]. I am basically working [teaching and guiding kids] from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. Then cooking [serving] from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. I don’t complain, but my body needs to rest. So, I decided to close my eatery by October, 2019. Kids missed my french fries, waffles and other snack bites. But, I can’t manage both business alone. I have to give up one.
To make the story short, I teach full time now at my center, 8:30am -11:30am, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, then 4:00pm – 6:00pm. Monday to Friday. Then on weekends, Saturday, 9:00am – 12noon, 1:30pm – 5:00pm. And Sunday, 9:00am – 12noon. Top that! Hahaha! When someone asks me, “Do you still sleep?” I just laugh, then reply, “I still paint after dinner!” That’s how workaholic I am. No room for complains. I just love what I do.
Before the enhanced community quarantine, we held our “Appreciation Day” last March 14, 2020. It was overwhelming to see these enthusiastic kids. Some are already inquiring for this summer. But, this pandemic arrived like a thief. No one was ever ready for it. The kids and I were doomed. It was sad not seeing them [personally] now. Our summer class is supposed to start next week. They’re getting a little bored I guess. Some are busy drawing and painting. That’s good to know.
The lockdown will end by April 30, 2020. But, as of now I don’t know if it will be a good idea to start soon the art classes. I hope the virus will be gone by that time. Though the cases are adding up each day here in our region. We’ll all hope for the best, and pray that everything will be back to normal again. We can’t live like this. People starts to starve and fight.
Before I end this write up, I would like to acknowledge everyone who has been part of my one year journey:
Lord God, of course for giving me enough strength and guidance;
My husband for the enormous moral support and love;
My family and my kids, for helping me out every now and then;
Project Space Pilipinas [by Leslie de Chavez] for always accomodating my students in every exhibit/event;
Museo de Lucban/SaLAGsak Gallery [managed by Jojo Raneses and Lucban Artist Guild] for always giving the students a space for their art exhibit;
Ma’am Lucille Balais Javier of Magik of Music, for more encouragement and support;
Lucban Council for Culture and the Arts [headed by Jojo Raneses], for the art workshop space;
Lucban Artist’s Guild [headed by Efren Nantes], for the support and workshop activities;
Original Sipay [my friends from grade school], for always being there when I needed a helping hand, donations and assistance;
Unknowns and 22B’s [my friends from high school], for being supportive in my endeavor, especially giving donations to our projects;
Neyosa Shirts and Embroidery [by my best friend, Chat Abuel], for the awesome T-shirts and souvenir folded fans that they make for the students, for the discounts, support, love, inspiration and donations as well;
Johannes Wiener [architect/gardener from Austria], for the support and inspiration to the kids;
To all the parents of these wonderful students of mine, I am forever grateful for your trust, help, donations, patience and understanding;
And to all these wonderful kids that has passed into my care and guidance, YOU will be forever in my heart, even in your silly, crazy, noisy, messy, happy moments–YOU are all treasured!
If there is one thing I love doing during my spare time other than writing, it is painting! Back when I was in grade school, I am always fascinated by colors, shapes, forms and designs. I participated in almost all the drawing/painting contests. I started at 6 years old drawing houses and mountains, said my dad. My greatest joys are crayons! As far as I can recall, there are two things my dad always bring me home after his work: Fairy Tale and Coloring books. I’m not the type who adores doll so much. I just have 1 rug doll and 1 pretty blinking doll. I still paint until high school. But in my college days, I got so busy with school works, projects, hanging out with friends and falling in love. I never touched a single paint brush from then on. I went abroad, had a job, got married, had kids and just got busy with writing. When I get back home, I challenged myself to paint again. I hesitated at first because for almost 30 years or so, that I haven’t seriously painted. Except of course, when kids needed help in art projects in school.
I was used to charcoal pencil back when I was in grade and high school. I needed to see for myself if I still have that “artist’s hand”. So, I experimented on acrylic paint. It’s not that bad. From then on, I never stop painting! I’m back on track at the age of 48! Yes, never too late, right? Even I’m busy teaching kids everyday, I see to it that I paint a little before I go to bed. It’s addicting, really! When you love what you do, there’s no room for annoyance.
Speaking of teaching, I put up a kid center last year. You can check out – Bimbi Piccoli Learning Center on Facebook. Every morning, I assist/teach special kids. Art therapy is fun. After lunch, it’s time for toddlers [2-4 y/o]. Playing with them and teaching letters, shapes, etc. is tougher than I ever thought. Whew! After the little ones, I do academic tutorials to grade school students. I am practically with kids 8 hours a day! Can’t complain, I love kids. During weekends, I still teach art class to other kids/teens. Don’t ask me if I still sleep. Ha ha ha! I’m glad, my two sons are almost grown-up, so I just have my 11-year old daughter to attend to. She loves being my assistant in art lessons, every now and then. She loves painting too.
By the way, I never studied art. That’s my biggest frustration. Dad didn’t want me to study Fine Arts [my dream]. “It was supposed to be a hobby, not a profession.” Those words kept echoing on my mind. So I took up Psychology [my second love]. And, here I am, teaching both what I love! Never dream it would be possible. I am so grateful!
If you’re curious of my works, exhibits and activities, it’s on another blog. Just follow the link: ARTehan NaTEEN. It’s not yet updated though. Still new.