8.22pm, New Year’s Eve. Sitting on my bed typing this article. The breeze from the fan in the corner gently caresses my face. It sounds therapeutic too. Occasionally, my fingers freeze on the keyboard, perhaps, awaiting the next word or maybe to pause to feel the embrace of the breeze. I calmly close my eyes to appreciate this moment, the last evening of 2015.
Snapshots of my career run through my mind like a movie trailer. Faster, then slower until what I see are my fingers frozen on the keyboard. Is this a moment of reflection? As my fingers await the next word, my mind searches for that one word to sum it all up.
A dialogue between my friend and I some years back, emerges.
“Huifong, the media refuses to interview you because they prefer contemporary artists,” he said.
“What’s wrong with classical portrait painters?” I asked.
“They are not “in”,” he added.
“But, painting a classical is not about being “in”,” I debated.
“That’s their feedback,” his honesty tore at my heart.
Seated on the tropical verandah I closed my eyes with a sunken heart and uttered, “I will continue to paint classical portraits.” Now, my mind slowly drifts to a movement in art history – Impressionism.
Started in France in the late 19th century by a group of Paris-based artists, Impressionism broke away from the conventional style of realism painting. Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet were among the first Impressionist artists.
Although Impressionist art garners worldwide recognition today, it received harsh criticisms from art critics and the public alike when it was first introduced. “Impressionism” was in fact a word to mock this painting style. However, the Impressionists persisted and held independent exhibitions during the 1870s and 1880s. During those decades, Impressionist art finally garnered prominence. As a classical painter, the Impressionism movement fascinates me. It has changed art history with persistence, passion and courage.
Ah yes, that’s the word I’m looking for! Courage!
Courage, sometimes, isn’t about change but about continuing to do the things that you love. For it is in the silence of each passing day that the seed of courage continues to sprout and grow.
In 2016, I will want to continue to do the things that I love: to paint and write, and, to observe the leaves on the trees as they sway in all directions in the wind. When the sun shines brightly, I want to observe how the leaves glow, each with a different shade of emerald and gold. I will continue to appreciate the grateful smile of a child, the hearty laughter of an elderly person and the silent love hanging in the curving corners of Mom and Dad’s smiling lips. I will continue to observe beauty in a face and immortalise it in my work, the classical way.
And, I will continue to listen to the sound from the moving fan…
Swish, swish, swish.
Huifong is an author, painter and a poet. Her book “A Cup of Simplicity – mixes poetry with her art to depict the art and pleasure of simple living. She is an intuitive painter whose works are sometimes painted without a model, a reference or a photo. Beyond Brunei, Hui Fong’s work has been exhibited in Italy and Singapore. She is also the recipient of the Premio Speciale award from Biennale of Art, Umbria.
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