My family and the arts

Hi everyone, this personal post is going to be a cracker of a read. This is one that will explain quite a few things people ask us all the time. How did you get into art? Were you always interested in making paintings? And my personal favourite: what exactly is scrapbooking? So, if you would like these answers along with a general curiosity, then why not go ahead and press the button below to find out more…

Right then, I’m sure a few of you are confused. How is a librarian, someone who loves reading and books into art? And what does it have to do with her family?? To answer these questions we’re going to have to take a bit of a walk down my memories.

image of young girl in red dress and white head scarf painting on table. lace curtains in back.
Painting and me

So, even though I said I love books, I’m also a lover of art in most forms it takes. I’ve enjoyed painting from a young age and could be found many a weekend with my paints around me, creating artwork. I suppose it’s something I enjoyed in school and saw my parents create for the Buddhist organisation. You see, when they had events during the 1980’s, it was my mother who would help with the artwork for newsletters and both of them would work on backdrops for the performances. I suppose I couldn’t help but grow up with their efforts influencing me and giving pride in both their work and making efforts with my own! 

cartoon style image of man with two women dancing with carrot and spoon in hand. girl in striped shirt holding book. woman in back with orange top and flowery skirt.
Another masterpiece…

Then when the family expanded we all enjoyed art class in school. Once my brother was old enough he inherited the same drawing skill like our mum and started drawing caricatures. As he grew up he developed his skill. Life of course changed once he hit high school, his drawing took a bit of a back seat. Now that both my siblings are married with two kids each, what do you suppose is the easiest activity to engage with their kids? Drawing on either paper or on their devices!! Also my brother has a job which has him using his art skills on a daily basis!! To be honest, his job is one of those that is confusing for most of us in the library field but this librarian is quite proud of her brother!!

image of young girl with long dark hair in blue top and pink skirt painting on ground with paper and pots.
Miss Seven Paints…

His two daughters have taken to art in great strides and enjoy creating all sorts of things using different media!! All through lockdown last year we ended up creating pieces in play-do, painting on paper, windows, and even decorating their playhouse!! 

With my sister, her achievement is in the performing arts. She was one who loved moving all the time. She started dancing and music when she was in high school. We both played the piano quite well, but it was my sister who studied and passed most of her practical exams. Being someone who has a natural rhythm, my sister performed with a Sri Lankan cultural dance group through her high school years and I’d like to think she enjoyed herself. I don’t know if I told her but I’m immensely proud of her achievements as a dancer and musician more than anything else. I hope she finds a way to pass this on to her children someday!! 

Now, the one person in our family who deserves a bit more say about them is my father. Growing up I knew he was creative. His green thumb gave us rose gardens, veggie patches and herb gardens. He knew his way with tools and could create furniture and utensils with wood. It was when he hit his late 60’s that he found his way into art. He started with small watercolour paintings and when we realised he was quite good, we encouraged him to take some classes in the local community centre. To say he thrived would be an understatement as he surpassed even his own expectations!! My father went on to become a member of a local art group and even sold a few of his works in their annual exhibitions!! He dabbled a bit with acrylic but watercolour is his medium of choice. We are so proud and happy he found this amazing hobby and are grateful for the impact creating art has on his life. He’s a bit calmer and sees his world through the paints he uses!! Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds!! He’ll cry out ‘burnt umber’ when he sees a sunset instead of something appropriate!! 

image of sheets of paper with photos stuck all over them. ring-bound book with photos and writing at bottom of image, all on brown carpet.
A collection of my scrapbooking pages

And lastly my own art journey has been varied to say the least. I started at a young age with watercolour painting and some drawing. School and university meant making art taking a back seat. Reading took over. After a few years working I stumbled upon a scrapbooking book and was instantly hooked. I started making my own ones. Even played with different media and incorporated them into my projects. Once dad started his classes I found that some people mix scrapbooking techniques with art!! My mind was blown!! And just like dad, I saw art everywhere! Travelling places gave me an insight into how art impacts places and people. The trips I took to the UK a few years ago gave me an opportunity to visit a friend in Paris and she took us to the Louvre. Yes friends, one summer this librarian streamed along with hundreds of others to see that world famous smile, The Mona Lisa!! That room itself was worth all the sweat and tears of the journey over there!! I wish I had had a little more time there but the few hours we had were worth so much more. Oh, also seeing the vastness of Paris laid out from the top of the Eiffel tower helped!!

five small images. top left image of woman in dark glasses smiling with city behind her. top right two women standing in front of glass pyramid before entrance to Louvre. bottom left image of woman in front of Mona Lisa painting. middle image of people looking at large painting. bottom right image of woman across street from Notre Dame.
A few snaps from Paris

I suppose as a family we enjoy art for the same reason all humans have over millennia; it brings us peace and calmness. For me, when I’m creating a scrapbook of sorts, it’s mainly to document either a journey or celebrate a milestone. With a painting, it’s different. It’s more an expression of my feelings and happiness. My approach to art made by the greats or even modern artists may differ from others as I don’t just see the colours but the story behind it and sometimes my emotions get the better of me too!! 

What about you? Do you have a similar story to mine?? I’d love to hear how art has impacted or inspired you in your life.

Stay safe and keep reading

Miss Mahee

image of woman creating art on canvas against wooden easel with leaves around. green background. quote above picture reads Art is not what you see, but what you make other's see. Edgar Degas.
Something to think about…

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