A gentle start to a new year
: learning to be gentle to yourself | the first issue of 2022 | 5/24 new drawings
HopeMail #129 | Sharing one new drawing and writing about life, twice a month on Fridays. This is the first issue for 2022, and the 5/24 new drawings for HopeMail in a year (November 2021 - October 2022). If a friend shared this with you, and you'd like to receive my next newsletter, c'mon in.
I started drawing the first artwork for 2022 at the end of 2021. With the plan to complete the drawing within a week, together with writing this HopeMail issue.
Then I could take a year-end break by Christmas, like almost everyone else I know… (A mild case of FOMO here.)
When I looked at the 10% progress of the drawing, with the required thousands of dots, I knew it’s impossible to complete it, unless I "kill my hands", trying to push it through.
Then, I thought—what’s the point, if I lose the soul of the drawing?
So, I took a break instead. And spent time with people. É maravilhoso! (“It’s wonderful!” in Portuguese.)
Butterflies are often used as a metaphor for new things. Transformation. What is the new you’re yearning for? How does new look like to you in your life?
If you have seen my previous drawings, they are usually line art drawings. Although I have used stippling (dotting) technique in some of my drawings, it’s kept to a minimum, usually a small part of the drawing, or a small-sized drawing of A5 size. Simply because I’m more interested in drawing with lines. And because stippling requires more tedious hours. Way more.
For this piece of artwork though, I felt the need to have a softer look for the butterflies. So, I decided to try something new, and went ahead with stippling the entire artwork. Not sure how long it’d take. Not sure even if it’d work out after having poured hours into it.
I marvelled at the details of the butterfly, while thinking about how can I do justice to God’s creation of the brilliantly-coloured butterfly...using only black ink with thousands of dots.
Drawing is a form of paying attention. When you are drawing something, you are looking at it for what it is. The magic of drawing is not getting a finished drawing, it’s seeing. You are able to see the world better when you draw. And it makes the world more beautiful, when you draw it. - Austin Kleon
To be in the drawing (especially when it gets more tedious, and at times monotonous), I meditated on the word “new”. What does it mean to me? And as I drew through the many cumulative hours, I observed my thoughts as they surfaced. Holding them for a while and letting them go if they are not true.
This drawing, “New”, turned out to be a patience challenge. And a life lesson all on its own. To wait for results while diligently doing the work. One dot/day at a time. There’s no way to hurry the drawing without ruining the artwork. There’s no way to hurry through life without ruining its meaning.
As I drew, a new meaning arose for this drawing. Like the process of metamorphosis, from a caterpillar to a pupa, from a pupa to a butterfly; none is better than the other. Each has its role and place. Likewise, all my experiences shaped who I have become.
So, while I’m here, work in progress, I’m learning to be in the progress. Learning to enjoy the process. Learning to be more gentle with myself.
I want to share these as a reminder and an encouragement.
Things to forgive yourself for:
Trying something new and it not working out
Taking the time you need
Making a mistake
Not having all the answers
As we move ahead this year, with its promises yet also with its potential challenges, be gentle to ourselves. Often, it’s how we can then—offer gentleness to others too.
That’s all folks, for the first HopeMail issue of 2022. Counting down 19 more issues till we complete 24 new drawings in a year in October 2022. One issue, one writing, one drawing at a time.
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