Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Attempt on Oil Pastels

Drawing is such a personal thing, like playing the piano.

Try telling a child "Why don't you do it this way", you get "No, I like it this way!" Or "Why don't you try other colours", you get "No, I like pink and purple!" And the whole picture ends up in a flood of pink and purple.

It is funny how my favourite colour combination used to be pink and purple too. Yeah, you could just go on hours and hours with just pink and purple...

Watching CH drew made my fingers itch, so I picked up the oil pastels while she dipped happily into poster colours.

Finding ideas on what to draw was a challenge, especially when I have not painted in years. I started with CH's face, and it was a disaster. I have never succeeded in portraits. Flipping the paper over, I let my eyes drop from CH's smooth complexion and rosy lips, onto the bright yellow tweety bird on her T-shirt. So there goes the tweety bird, and my first attempt using oil pastels.

What amazed me was the smoothness of the oil pastels - and it wasn't even a branded set. Although it was rather messy and all other colours went onto the yellow, it was truly fun! I worked with my fingers on the blending, and the background colour came as a surprise to me - a bright turquoise, which happens to be one of my favourite colours.

"But mommy, the tweety bird is not sitting on the table!" CH was refering to the one on her T-shirt.
"That's all right. I like it this way!"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Navy Open House

2 weekends ago, we visited the 2010 Navy Open House.  It was rainy in the morning, but we decided to go anyway so our kids could see warships and submarines up close - well, not that we have ever either.  It was a fairly long ride from Singapore Expo by chartered bus to a highly secured eastern part of the country.

This warship was the first one that greeted us.  It was fortunate that I started snapping away because we never did get a chance to back-track - it was a reminder to me that in life, you need to take every opportunity that's right in front of you or they'll just pass you by.

There were events going on and one of the highlights was a show that the Navy put up on terrorist attack.  The gunfires were so loud CH had her ears covered and stayed close to me.  With the drizzle and long walks, the kids were happiest at the indoor Family Activity areas.

Although we were allowed to go up the warships, the queues were so long at each of them that we only managed to board one of them.  And because it was drizzling, the navy were there to help us, making sure we do not slip on the steps.  SW was most disappointed for not being able to board a submarine, which was also what I was looking forward to.  However, we did manage to get a close look at a small submarine.  There were helpful officers around to provide information when you asked, and photo-taking was permitted.

I found this drawing in SW's school work in creative writing.  He included details like how we boarded the sloped stairs while it was raining, missiles we saw on the ship, a small submarine by the side, numbers on the ship, railings, and the sun that was hidden by thick clouds.  I don't remember there was a jet plane flying around though...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fun with Oil Pastels

I have never liked oil pastels. But I realized that was because I knew too little of it.

I brought the kids out for a trial art class which teaches art using oil pastels. My kids probably had more exposure to oil pastels in school than I ever did my life. They looked at ease with them.

The top two were taught by the teacher using blending techniques. The bottom two were before.
Left: SW, Right: CH

"It is easier for young children to blend colours using oil pastels than using coloured pencils or poster colours", the teacher told me.

With that, I came home and logged into the internet, keen to find out more about oil pastels. I found 'ehow' and watched the videos. After that, I replaced '' with '' under my favourite sites on drawing.

CH attended her first art class during this holiday. It is with another centre. The timing was a good twice weekly over the June holidays. I just wanted her to have some fun, and to satisfy my own curiosity of how art lessons are conducted these days (without too much commitment).

Knowing the fact that my 4 year-old draws nothing but girls with long legs, I wasn't surprised when she drew a swan like a flamingo on the first day, and rabbit like a bumble bee on the second.

There wasn't any 'preferred' medium to use, but the teacher suggested poster colours for CH after the first lesson, so I grabbed it from a nearby bookshop for her to use during the next lesson.

"Could she handle it?" I had wondered aloud.
"Yes, Why not?" The teacher had replied.

For the second lesson, we brought the set of poster colours and coloured pencils along, just in case. But CH did not use the poster colours at all.

"I didn't know she had it!" Was the teacher's reply. I couldn't believe my ears. The brand new set of plated poster colours was right in front of our eyes, on the table all the time!

For the third lesson, CH still did not use the only poster colours we brought. Instead, the teacher lent her a box of oil-pastels. I did fume after the third lesson wondering how experienced the teacher is in teaching young children. And I have to admit at this point in time that the reason why I disliked oil pastels is the mess you make with them. But CH had a good time, so we carried on with the course. To me, it is an hour and a half of baby-sitting, at 7 dollars an hour.

2nd day: I mistook her rabbit as bumble bee at first glance.
She practiced using water colour at home on the same picture.

But NOW that I know better what oil pastels could do, drawing with them have become interesting to me. And knowing CH loves to 'feel' her paintings and drawings, getting down right icky and dirty, it might just be a good medium for her to start off with!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

SW's Robots and CH's Girls

SW still loves to play with Legos. He puts together little parts to make up aircrafts, ships, houses, or little robots. Recently, he showed me two of which I found really cute and reached for my camera. After that, he started building even more.

In a way, you can't display Legos the way you do with drawings. Once you display them, they remain on the shelves and you can't play with them until you dismantle the entire structure. So I take pictures. As I discovered, this became a form of recognition to them. They have learnt from my response that they've made something/drawn something that's worth keeping.

For CH, she draws so many everyday using rough papers (and sneaks away some of my good papers too) that I had to dedicate a shelf for her to store her own drawings. These days, she draws girls with super long legs. "These are big girls, not little girls!" She explained.

CH draws our family and her two girl cousins.

Daddy helped sign CH's chinese name.

CH: "The girl (1st from right) is a naughty girl
who crumbled my paper (the black dot)"

I love the girl's hairdos and the expressions on their faces. They all look different. All the good girls wear tiaras (all good girls are princesses?) and the naughty one wears shades with a nasty expression. In the first picture, she draws herself as the only one who is smiling while the rest are talking - and it looks like Mommy's got the biggest mouth of all!