Happy holidays, folks! I hope you’re enjoying the season and spending lots of time with family and friends. I’m in beautiful La Jolla, California, with my family enjoying the cool weather and magical sunsets.
We spent Christmas day at home in Long Beach with some good friends and ate plenty of sweet potato casserole and homemade apple pie. I’m officially sugared out. I began working on the piece above last weekend. I decided not to paint it. I love whimsical art, faeries and have always been drawn to the magical. Drawing this piece reminded me to stay young at heart for as long as possible. Life is so short, and you never know what tomorrow will bring. I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but I truly hope to invite more ease into my life in 2019 as well as self compassion. 2018 was a tough year personally and professionally, and I’m more than happy to let it go. So, here’s to the last few days of 2018. I look forward to ringing in 2019!
It’s been awhile since my last post. I’ve spent less time in my art journal due to the busyness of the year. I can hardly believe that another Christmas is rolling in. My daughter is home from break, which is always wonderful, and like many of you, I’m going to try to get through the work week, despite a lack of focus getting stronger as the end of the year approaches. Luckily, I have the whole week off for Christmas. Thrilling!
So, my art blog is precisely six months old! It’s been a delight to create and to evolve. I’m still madly practicing my art skills – I guess you never ever stop practicing. I’m a late bloomer and have never taken any formal art classes. Nothing ever quite turns out the way I would like it to, but I do see how my work has progressed over the last six months. I feel that everything looks better in my sketchbook than in a photo! This latest is just a whimsical work in lieu of the winter/holiday season, although it’s hardly snowing in Southern California!
Wishing everyone a beautiful week. May you enjoy the holiday season!
Well, today marks the first day of another month-long focus on adoption known as National Adoption Awareness Month. Throughout the month of November, there will be images, articles, campaigns that promote adoption. On the other side, Adoption Awareness Month brings mixed, often conflicted feelings for adopted persons. Experiences and feelings related to adoption loss, rejection, separation and, in some cases, reunion are stirred.
As a growing artist, I plan to make art this month related to my own personal experiences of adoption. In the piece above, I wanted to convey the sense of invisibility that has defined much of my life versus the power of getting woke. In all of my experiences as an adoptee, the feeling of invisibility has been the most profound. Invisibility for me feels like powerlessness, unimportance, differentness and not mattering. Over the years since coming out of the fog, however, I’ve gained a much deeper sense of self-acceptance and empowerment by sharing my story and connecting to other adoptees who share similar experiences. The reunion with my birth family also largely contributed to this growing sense of acceptance. So invisibility versus speaking out about adoption and trusting that what I say and do matters is a constant struggle.
Coming out of the fog woke me to some important truths about myself – that my story does matter and that my voice can be used to empower adoptees. Staying woke is vital. I encourage you to tune into the voices of adopted persons. After all, we are the experts because we’ve lived it. Read a book or memoir written by an adoptee, listen to an adoptee-hosted podcast or read an adoptee-curated blog/website or an article written by an adoptee. Check out this link for a list of multiple adoptee-centric resources. I hope that you’ll take the time to explore adoptee stories and listen to adoptee voices.
I did not fully understand the impact of adoption on my life and relationships.
Happy Saturday! Today, I’m going to take a departure from what I typically post to promote my first book, Beyond Two Worlds: A Taiwanese-American Adoptee’s Memoir & Search for Identity. As we prepare for National Adoption Month in November, I invite you to listen to the voices of adoptees and to those who relinquished a child, first mothers and fathers. I believe that you will hear a different story about what adoption means.
For many years, I did not fully understand the impact of adoption on my life and relationships. I had little insight, no voice and felt a deep sense of isolation. As I came into contact with many other adopted persons, I began to see that that we shared common feelings of loss, grief, shame, confusion and anger surrounding our experiences of adoption. Today, there is a growing movement of adoptees writing and publishing their stories. The adoptee memoir has blossomed into its own literary genre. Our voices are gaining strength and being heard, yet there is still more work to be done.
Beyond Two Worlds is centrally a story about loss and gain, rejection and acceptance. My hope is that by listening to adoptees and reading our stories, hearts and minds will open to a different perspective that is not always seen, heard nor understood. For a signed copy of Beyond Two Worlds, jump on over here. Other editions can be purchased at my author page on Amazon. Book reviews are also available to read. I invite to explore this work and share it with others ❤️ Many thanks!
Photo credit: Anna Wu Photography
You are blood. You are sisters. No man can break that bond.
In 2012, I reunited with my birth family in Taipei, Taiwan. I had been searching for them for nearly three years before making contact with my oldest sister via email. I had the help of a social worker who was also Taiwanese. Going back to Taiwan, the country of my birth, was one of the most profound and beautiful experiences I have ever had. To walk the streets of my home town was simply magical, and the ten days I spent with my sisters were extraordinary.
My sisters are older than me by ten and eleven years. I also have an older brother, a niece and a couple of nephews, and an Uncle, who is the patriarch of our family. Unfortunately, our parents had already passed away, so I did not have the opportunity to meet them. I continue to keep in touch with my sisters, brother, and niece via social media and hope to return to Taiwan next year.
The drawing above is of my sisters and I – my second sister is to the left and eldest sister to the right. I’ve been wanting to do a sketch of the three of us for awhile now, and after a visit with a dear friend of mine from Arizona, I was inspired to finally put it to canvas.
If you’d like to learn more about my reunion, you can actually read my memoir, Beyond Two Worlds: A Taiwanese-American Adoptee’s Memoir and Search for Identity. Contact me if you’d like an autographed copy, as I have a few soft covers still available.
To my sisters, you are an inspiration.
Quote above by Kim Boykin, A Peach of a Pair
I have always been fascinated by the whimsical, magical, and mysterious
I have always been fascinated by the whimsical, magical, and mysterious. My adoptive mom gave me a vintage book of fairytales when I was a young girl. It was a hard-cover book full of well-known fairy tales. The colorful illustrations seemed larger than life and fueled my imagination. My favorite story was Hansel and Gretel because of the fantastical pictures of the witch’s candy house – every kid’s dream home. The book became well worn over time.
My mom eventually gave many of my children’s books away, including a large collection of Nancy Drew books. I have no idea where they eventually landed, but I hope they fell into good hands. Perhaps my fascination with the magical explains why my favorite literary genre is magical realism and why I’m so drawn to the stylized whimsical art of Tamara Laporte, whose website is called Willowing Art. I also love how Tamara encourages the mind-body connection, noticing and acknowledging what sensations or feelings are flowing inwardly prior to beginning a piece of art, especially when feeling blocked creatively. She encourages a kind of empathic holding of these emotions or experiences, then sending compassion and empathy to them by way of a loving message, e.g., there is sadness, and my sadness is okay, etc. You can watch Tamara’s YouTube video on how to deal with creative blocks here. She then demonstrates how to draw a whimsical mermaid art journal page. It’s quite fun and fascinating! Tamara is such a master at layering and blending color and texture. So inspired by her work..
The little piece featured above was a fun doodle – I have a long way to go, but it’s really fun to draw for the simple pleasure of creative expression. I don’t particularly like painting as much as sketching and often like the initial sketch better than the painted outcome. Painting is a difficult process to me; however, it has been interesting to experiment with color using different mediums. So far, I haven’t liked the alcohol-based paint pens, as I feel that the color is extremely saturated, and I don’t have much control of the color. I remember Kelly Rae Roberts saying in one of her podcast episodes that you have to make a lot of bad art before getting to the better stuff. I used acrylics and watercolor for this gal and actually liked how she turned out. In between the bad stuff, there are a couple that I truly like.