Art Kamp with Dadai Joaquin

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One of the bravest and the greatest thing I’ve ever done this year was to conquer my dream of learning how to paint. I say to myself and to people I know, I’m a frustrated painter because no one influenced me. Then it occurred to me {and yes, when you’re on a sabbatical leave or disoriented, theres’s a part of you that you just want to conquer anything} who said I cannot cross that border between being frustrated to becoming an amateur painter. No one was stopping me but myself.

And so… just in time for my birthday {around the month of April} I saw Ms. Dadai Joaquin’s post about her Art Kamp. And I knew, this could be the perfect gift for myself.

Art Kamp was a 4-day art workshop for kids and adults organised by Ms. Dadai Joaquin. Let me give you a brief history. I think it was early this year or two years ago {disclaimer: I am very very poor with dates} Ms. Dadai had an art class for kids in Yellow Hauz. I thought to myself, the universe was really telling me to “go and start that painting dream you always had.” When I found out about it, I just had to introduced myself. Fast forward to summer of this year… my very first formal art class happened.

On the first day of Art Kamp {it was held in White House}, Ms. Dadai talked about the materials, contour drawing and composition. To test what we learned, we had to draw a still image on a canvas board. In this case, it was vases, jars and mugs. Okay, so at first, I can do drawing. Until I realised composition was not easy.

When we were about to paint our canvas board… the struggle was so real! I never thought, I was scared of a clean canvas. I cannot fully explained why, but I think I’m scared of ruining the canvas, or to get messy, or to just simply try it. You know how it felt when it’s your first time, right? It was like that. Even though I know, there’s no right or wrong in doing it.

But Ms. Dadai was so helpful and generous in sharing her knowledge about painting. She really guided us through. 

I asked a lot of questions…

And still not done with my questions… haha.

Second day was tough for me. It was about colour theory, highlights and shadow. These were the most important things a painter should train his/her eyes. And these were my most weakest point even until now. I am very poor when it comes to colours moreover with light and shadow. How ironic, right?

We had to apply those theories by painting a still life through a photograph. To be honest, I wasn’t happy with this painting. I had a hard time with the apple. From getting the highlights and shadow and then the stem. I was not proud of this one but I’m still sharing it for the sake of this story.

Third day was application of everything through landscape. Ahhh, my favourite. That’s what I thought, but I spoke too soon. We had to paint a landscape based from our surrounding not from a photo. For awhile, I got frustrated again because, I was just painting solid colours, I cannot see the light and shadow. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of this artwork because I wasn’t able to finished it and I had no plans of finishing it anymore.

Anyway, my last session was moved to a later date because of an out of town plan. Luckily, there were other students who also rescheduled so we did it in Yellow Hauz the next week.

This was our final artwork. If I may, it made me happy and proud when I saw my final output.

After the whole sessions of Art Kamp, Ms. Dadai did a mini exhibit of the entire students. We were only four adults and the rest were already kids. 

These were painted by kids. Imagine, they were only around 8-13 years old. The portraiture was taught by Bong Nombrano by the way.

You know, when I tried painting the trees on our third day, I copied how to paint it from a kid. I seriously had no idea how to do it. What kind of brush or stroke. Yep! I felt ashamed with that. But when Ms. Dadai said, kids are easier to teach painting because they’re not afraid; I was really amazed. True enough, kids just simply follow what they see without inhibitions. Adults tend to overthink; guilty as charged. And you know how it was done? By just dubbing a paint brush, like you’re making dots. Simple as that. But I didn’t realise it then {covering my face now}.

Anyway, I cannot believed when I saw my very first painting on a frame and in a mini exhibit. It felt surreal. I never thought, I can finally paint. A landscape in specific; it was something that I always wanted to do but never had the guts to do so until that day.Like I said, this was the bravest and greatest thing I’ve ever done for myself. Since that day, I can say to myself now, I am not a frustrated painter anymore. I was finally able to ticked this one off from my bucket list. All thanks to Ms. Dadai for being such a generous mentor.

I realised that it’s just me who’s stopping myself from doing something that I truly love. I made a lot of excuses that I thought were valid like I had no time, I don’t know anyone who can teach me and et cetera. But one thing I learned was: You have to make time for it. It’s a matter of how bad you want to materialised your dream.

When I saw my painting, I was really proud. I know, there are still a lot more to learn but I was proud for taking that first step. And oh! The feeling was just so great.

So, I encourage you, or let me rephrase that… I challenge you to take that first step too. Dig that dream of yours that you set aside for years now and enough with the excuses and just start doing it. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself for doing so.


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