Wednesday, December 12, 2007


"Giving presents is a talent; to know what a person wants, to know when and how to get it, to give it lovingly and well." - Pamela Glenconner

IT'S THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY, FA LA LA LA LA LA........ I love to create and paint. Making handcrafted gifts and paintings for those we love can be fun and creative. But only when we've got the time and creative and energy to do it properly. This is not the day to start making gifts, with Christmas just two weeks away. Scary thought if you're the last-minute-type.
WISE TIPS FROM MRS. EARLIE SANTA CLOSE She said.....remember it took nine months to orchestrate the First Christmas, which is exactly what you're going to aim for in the future. Next year, you promise, it will be different. But in order for that to happen, you're going to have to get started on it the last week of December. That's just when you're sooo......sick of Christmas, of course, and holiday novelties at bargain prices. Start planning your handcrafted and creative gifts on January. Enjoy beginning a gift of heart and hands one rainy day in February."
OPEN YOUR EYES, NOT YOUR WALLET I noticed that resourceful and creative people made most of their gifts and start as early as January or summer time when going to the beach is more enticing. You can bring your craft project or painting there, if you want. More inspiring with the ocean view. When you start early, by the end of summer you're half way done and you can relax when Christmas is around the corner, while others are shopping in panic. HO! HO! HO! HO! Don't be a last-minute gift giver. Give with thought and care.
GIFT OF HEART AND HANDS Because I have more creativity than cash, I learned to be very resourceful. I love crafting many of our Christmas gifts. As soon as I finished putting away our truckload of Christmas decorations, I also start planning for next year's gifts. Sometimes, I start painting still life, landscape, cactus, flower or portrait at the beginning of the year, when my motivation is very high. Painting takes time -from prepping of canvas, sketching, painting and then final spraying and framing. I also start scouting and browsing craft boutiques and antique shops for imaginative gift ideas. Where else do you get free ideas? Ideas can snow ball into inspiration. So after summer is over, the cool autumn weather revives me to be creative and crafty with my glue gun and stuffs. For me, a gift of heart and hand is not only more meaningful but also priceless.
BACK TO CHRISTMAS 1997 It was the most creative and artistic Christmas for me. Eleven months prior to that Christmas, I had a cochlear implant surgery at the UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, California. I am an adult hearing person. But during the mid-part 0f the 80's and on to the 90's, I experienced a decade of very devastating, progressive and profound bilateral hearing loss. I could no longer hear and understand the TV, phone, movies, and most people sounded mumbling or eating their words. It was scary .......the world of silence. This was the most challenging experience I had in life. But thank God, I live in the advance world of technology where it's still possible for a deafened artist like me to go back to the world of sound. I had a successful cochlear implant. What is a cochlear implant? It's a miniaturized computer device that helps hearing impaired people to hear the environmental sounds and understand the spoken words. Cochlear implant is not like magic. I didn't get my hearing back overnight. What followed were months of difficult rehabilitation process. I spent hours learning to hear again with my new computerized hearing device. I practiced daily -listening to my tape recorder while following along a kid's book. I listened to the TV and matched the captions with the spoken words. I practiced listening to the phone. I learned how to lip-read. I got involved in a cochlear implant support group. I diligently learned how to use the computer so I can communicate and e-mail my family & friends, while waiting for years to hear on the phone again. Technically, I am still deaf without my cochlear implant device on. Fortunately during these challenging times, I never loss my artistic desire and passion. I continued to paint. Art became an effective therapy when I didn't feel like going on with my difficult life. With prayer, patience, practice and perseverance my hearing improved and I started a new life. As I said before, God (who knows everything) redesigned my new pathway at mid-life. It's been 10 years since I had my cochlear implant. It was like a "Renaissance" period dawned on me. I did many of my best paintings during this difficult period of my life.
"TAOS POTTERY"(18" x 24" - Oil Painting On Canvas) Next to Philippine settings, I love painting Southwest themes and scenes. I like the simplicity of Southwest art. I think the "Taos Pottery" is the best Southwest oil painting I have ever painted so far. In deep appreciation for my successful cochlear implant, I lovingly gave this beautiful oil painting as Christmas gift to Dr. Jim. What should I give a doctor who has everything? I have no doubt that a gift of art from my heart and hands would fit.
One day, Dr. Jim told my husband while visiting him....."Tell your wife, thank you for the oil painting. It's so......BEAUTIFUL!!! I displayed it in our family room." I will never forget those nice and kind words. I was so happy and thrilled that he didn't hang my painting in the garage. I am truly honored that this painting is on display in his luxurious family room. I knew that the prettier the painting, the more enjoyable the visual experience.
Over the years, I never regretted giving him lots of my oil paintings. He is the most compassionate ear surgeon I have ever known. I have so many doctors, but none as caring and as nice as him. He's very different because he has "heart and soul." Ever heard of a doctor taking the time to answer a patient's e-mail? Yes, he replies to my e-mail. He even reads my blog. Very rare quality among American doctor's today. How could I forget someone like him? INSPIRATION I saw this ad from a local Sta. Fe magazine and it inspired me to paint the painting above entitled "Taos Pottery."
CHRISTMAS THOUGHTS: As Pam said, "giving gifts is also a talent. Never hesitate to put your personal touch, heart and soul on your gifts no matter how modest. As you creatively craft your gifts, it becomes your work of art. Let love flow through your heart and hands - a gift for yourself and for others, which is priceless.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


"I do hope your Christmas has....a little touch of eternity in among the rush and pitter patter and all." - Evelyne Underhill

ONLY FIFTEEN MORE SHOPPING DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS Keep in mind that Christmas will arrive on December 25 whether we're ready for it or not. How are you doing?Anxious? Afraid? In that case, you have to calm down. Be of good cheer. Be not anxious, afraid nor angry, for like the angels I bring you tidings of comfort and joy. Today, realize that you can't do everything. Not at all. Period. Choose to do only what you love best about the holidays remain. Cross out two more "musts" on your to-do-list. Don't be a die-hard fan of Martha Stewart, a perfect American hostess and home entertainer.
I notice when I slow down..... there is more time and energy to walk around the neighborhood and enjoy looking at those beautifully decorated houses sparkling with Christmas lights. When I delight myself in the sounds of bells and joyful music, sipping hot green tea, I am more relax. Reading Christmas story from the Gospel while bashing in the fireplace, gives spiritual lift. Yes, these are some of the things I try to do every Christmas time, bring a little touch of eternity into my life in the midst of a busy holiday season.
GIFT WRAPPING Is one of my favorite things to do during Christmas time. I learned professional gift wrapping while working part-time at the Broadway (a department store) in Northridge. It was a very exciting and creative job. Not boring. Gift wrapping is an artistic outlet. I really take the time and thought about my gifts. I plan my theme and color with coordinating tags. I know many people don't enjoy wrapping gifts, but I do. They make lots of excuses for not wrapping their gifts nicely. For me the wrapping is part of the gift. Even if it's just a simple gift, when it is wrapped with creatively, beauty and pleasure, somehow the gift is magically transformed into a dazzling Cinderella. Beautifully wrapped gifts show how much one really cares, especially when the gift is a huge oil painting. Not easy to wrap but it's fun.
GIFT OF BEAUTY I painted this beautiful desert scene during a dry period in my life. In the 90's I experienced a very difficult bilateral hearing loss and my life was..... as dry as the desert. Will write more about this, on my next post. I saw a lively photo of a desert and I was inspired to paint it. This desert scene has glowing sky with mountains, leisurely pathway, cactus, trees and flowers. A desert doesn't have to be dull. This desert is singing with life and beauty. This oil painting (18" x 24") on canvas is my Christmas gift for an American girl friend named Jeanette. We became more than a good friend. She is married to one of my husband's younger brother. Over the years, we spent lots of time sharing lunch together, shopping, letter witting then e-mailing. She selflessly did many "editing" jobs for me without asking for monetary reward. When she sent me a thank you card, she said....."It must be very hard for you to part with your painting." Yes, it was hard, but the happiness I had as a giver was more than enough. I was so happy to give her a gift of beauty and art. I hope it bought a little touch of eternity to her life.
GIFT OF BEAUTY A paintings is not the only gift of beauty. Ther are others like beautiful photograph you took yourself or bought. As often said..."a photo is worth a thousand words." You may not be a good writer or a poet but a photo can express everything you wanted to say. If you are a good writer, writing a book or a poem are beautiful gifts too. How about a nice water color, print or lithograph or art book? Yes. these are beautiful gifts too. As an artist. I always appreciate a gift of beauty. My youngest son is a computer-graphic artist. When he was an art student, he used to create lots of personal digital arts and gave them to me as Christmas gifts. Today, with good incomes my busy sons give me gift certificates from Aaron Brothers (art store) or Michael's ( art & craft store) so I can pick what I like. My children never gave me an oil painting for Christmas gift. I often wonder... why? As an artist, I appreciate others giving me a painting. Many of the oil paintings I have collected for our home are personal gifts for myself. I thought that if I don't get everything I wanted for Christmas, I can give them to myself. That's what I do.
CHRISTMAS THOUGHTS: This Christmas season, let's not rush and spend all our energy shopping. There is more to Christmas than shopping. Take the time to "smell the fire woods, pine leaves, poinsettias" and read the Gospel or other inspirational Christmas stories. Your Christmas season wil not only be beautiful but you will be blessed with a touch of eternity.