Category: Mixed Media

Year 5

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Last month was my mom’s 5th death anniversary. I still think of her all the time. She’s a remarkable woman, and many times I ask myself if I am living in a way that she would want me to live. She’s like a compass that always points me to my true north. This is a great loss that still aches so much whenever I think about her.

My mom had a rough childhood. Actually, “rough” would be an understatement. But her childhood was like a refining fire that made her better, not worse. She and papa were determined to be good, God-fearing parents. I take after part of my mom’s temperament. I was melancholic, always kept to myself, and had trouble making friends because I was painfully shy and was perfectly happy by myself. She made an effort to make good friends, though. I remember when I was young, she made it a point to ask me how I was doing at school and if I made any friends. She told me that being an only child, we didn’t have aunts and uncles from her side of the family. She asked God to give her good friends who will also love her children. Good relationships are from Him too, she said.

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She and papa started out with very little. This was the house where we grew up. It’s a cluster of old homes in E. Pascua St., a jumble of old, patched up wood and rusty roofing materials. We were poor, but my parents did gave their best effort for us. We would eventually move out of this neighborhood to a better one, but I would always carry in my heart our humble beginnings and how my parents taught us to live with integrity and a healthy sense of self-worth.

My mother also showed me by example that women can be strong and successful. During my teenage years, I remember her telling me that if I decide to get married, I should choose a man who isn’t intellectually insecure. I always kept that in mind. I saw how my father was always so supportive of her and gentle in his ways, and I married a man who is the same towards me. 🙂

I also saw how my mother treated everybody the same. She treated their office janitor with the same dignity that she gave the company CEO. Ayaw ni mama sa matapobre.

She was a voracious reader, and she encouraged this habit in us too. She’s the original Serial Doodler. 🙂 She was always writing, writing, writing. When she passed away, I gathered all of her journals and kept them in a drawer so I can read them later and hear her voice again inside my mind. I am thankful that she kept journals because her thoughts are precious to me.

It’s the fifth year without her. Though the grief has faded into a dull throb, I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever get to that point when it won’t hurt anymore. Maybe someday I’ll find out.

Pens Through the Years

Fountain Pen Network Philippines will  be joining the celebration of Fountain Pen Day on the first weekend of November. I was invited to submit some artwork along with other fellow members of FPN-P. I’m usually really shy about showing people my art in person, but I figured that it might be a fun way to give back to the community and meet other artists as well.

I kind of agonized over what to submit, what paper to use, etc. I redid this a few times because I had some details wrong (plating color of a clip here, nib color there). But last night I was able to finish my final pieces.

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Overall, I enjoyed the process of making these two pieces a lot. Using fountain pen ink in the washes is challenging because it gets absorbed by the paper almost as soon as you brush it on. Mixing it with a lot of water helps. It’s also very fascinating to read about the pens again and see the tiny little details that make each pen unique. These two are collection of pens from Sheaffer and Parker through the years. There’s a lot of different kinds of pens to choose from, so I picked several that were made in different decades. It was really so much fun, and it reminded me again why I love vintage pens, especially Parker pens (I’m a Parker gal). They don’t make ’em like they used to.

This year’s Fountain Pen Day celebration will be on November 5-6, at the 3rd floor Atrium of SM Aura. Aside from the art exhibit, there will be other activities like calligraphy demonstrations for adults and kids, and pop up stores for fountain pen/calligraphy fans.