Persistence

Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash

My creative journey isn’t a walk in the park. And it took me years before I was even able to take part in art shows and run exhibitions. I had a lot of those moments when the only thing that made sense was the raw and pure joy every time I pick up my brush. 
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In her heartwarming TED talk, Elizabeth Gilbert said “Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cockeyedgenius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, then ‘Ole!’ And if not, do your dance anyhow. And ‘Ole!’ to you, nonetheless. I believe this and I feel that we must teach it. ‘Ole!’ to you, nonetheless, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.”
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I’m so glad I did not give up. And as long as life goes on I will keep showing up.

Beating Procrastination

Photo by Andy Beales on Unsplash

I read the book “Rework” a few years ago and I still remember the words that inspired me and got me through the tough times when I tend to find excuses not to do my paintings. Whilst I believe that balancing work and rest is important, procrastination (if we learn to identify it) is not helpful and led me to many situations of unnecessary stress. So here’s my mantra when I notice that I am making a pattern of excuses and unproductive rationalisation: make time and just pick up your brush. And once I get into the flow the magic happens (most of the time).

Photo by Pedro da Silva on Unsplash

Created a terrible art? Here’s what you can do.

This post was originally published in Kris’ Instagram account. Featured Photo by russn_fckr on Unsplash

One of the struggles of being an artist is when you have this grand idea of how a new painting will look like and you thought you’ve figured out how to achieve your vision. But then the reality hits you that there can be a lot of trial and error involved in the process. 

I find it really painful when nothing seems to be working (the colours are not quite right, the textures are a bit odd, or I just can’t feel anything from the painting as if it has no soul). 

Photo by Dan Cook on Unsplash

These are the moments when I need to be kinder to myself. I believe being critical is important to produce quality work but I learned not to tell myself those words I would never say to someone I value and respect. Instead of saying “it’s terrible!” I choose “it’s not quite right but it’s not done yet.” 

Standing back to reflect has been very helpful in my art practice so I could maintain my sanity and not lose the joy of creating.

When God puts you in the position to Give

The effect of the Corona virus is felt throughout the whole world in almost every aspect of our lives. Many people lost their means for income and some of them have lost their jobs. In the Philippines, majority of these people are low income workers. Some of them have not received any help complicated by inaccessibility of transportation and lack of budget from the government.

Kris and I have been supporting some kids of these families in a remote area in Bohol, Philippines for a few years. God has been very gracious to us and blessed us with a good job abroad that we wanted to share our blessings to these families that needs our help most especially at this time of hardship.

My Mama, Papa and younger sister, along with Pastor Zac have been instruments to reaching out to these families.

I am sharing this post to remind us to check on our neighbours, friends, families and even strangers who are in need and give with all our heart as the Lord has blessed us. There is no help big or small as long as we give with gladness.

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

God hasn’t forgotten those in need. In fact Proverbs 14:31 says whoever is kind to the poor honours God.

Always remember that the Lord says in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 He loves a cheerful giver. Therefore we should give with a heart of gratitude. In this way we are able to help our fellow brothers and sisters and at the same time we are able to worship God through our heart of service.

Happy Easter 2020

Kris and I had enjoyed our Easter Sunday morning with delicious hot cross buns and a hot cup of coffee. It is very popular here in Australia and in New Zealand especially during Holy week celebration. The Philippines, on the other hand celebrates Holy Week with sweet sticky rice pudding paired with hot chocolate drink.

Photo by Jasmine Waheed on Unsplash

A traditional Hot cross bun tastes like a spiced , yeasted bun with raisins and marked with a cross on the top that symbolises the crucifixion of Jesus Christ . Its origin dates back to the 14th Century when an Anglican monk baked the buns and distributed them to the poor on Good Friday. Some people have superstitious beliefs that the buns can be used to treat the sick and help them recover from any ailment. Hot cross buns were also thought to protect the ships from shipwreck during sea voyage.

As Christians, we believe that the bread symbolises God’s love for us when He gave His only son Jesus Christ to die for our sins that we may become alive through his death in the cross. Jesus is the Bread of Life. We live because of Him.

I would like to share to you the story from John Chapter 6 of the Holy Bible which reminds us of how powerful God is through His miracles. I hope that by the message of this story will strengthen our faith and give us hope for the future.

John 6 New King James Version (NKJV)

Feeding the Five Thousand

After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.[a] And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.

Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”

One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”

10 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them [b]to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

The Bread from Heaven

22 On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except [d]that one [e]which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone— 23 however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks— 24 when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”

26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”

32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will [f]by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Kris’ thoughts on being an Artist

This is one of the most memorable sunsets I’ve watched in New Zealand. I still remember that season in my art career when I was finally able to do my very first art show. Took me three years to get there and it was a surreal experience – so excited but almost freaking out at the same time. I felt most vulnerable during those moments of waiting for that first sale and whenever somebody gives feedback about my work. 

I believe I have grown so much over the years in terms of dealing with all the emotions I have to go through with my decision to become an artist. I still get nervous during opening nights but I get to enjoy the experience a bit more. Feedback (favourable or not) will always have an effect on me but only for a moment – then I move on because I don’t do my art to get praises or recognition. I do my art to celebrate life and hopefully make a difference to someone’s creative journey. 

How about you? How do you handle criticism? When do you feel most vulnerable?

Follow my creative journey at my facebook page or instagram page @krisancog

When birds are better at doing Social Distancing

Kris and I have potted plants and flowers in our tiny balcony where birds do come and visit once in a while. We sometimes put our leftover fruits and give them to the passing birds to feed. In Australia, Lorikeet birds are everywhere. They are adored for their vibrant colours and and beauty. This particular Lorikeet frequently visits us ever since when we offered it water and bird food during the hot summer when there were bushfires around country. It is such a joy to have them around especially in this challenging season of isolation and social distancing.

Speaking of social distancing, this has been imposed in most counties around the world to stop the spread of this deadly virus. I think some birds are way ahead compared to some us in practicing this. And here’s a video to prove my point:

I think when you are being kind and mindful to these tiny beings, they remember your deed and now they keep coming back. Getting visits from them every now and then is very entertaining. Sometimes I reflect and envy their freedom. We humans are kept at home while they are free to fly wherever they want to go.

I guess this is an important reminder that we are all a part of the circle of life. No matter how small, big, or whatever kind of living being, we all live in the same planet and we all have part to play that could make an impact to everyone.

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Here’s the full video if you are keen to watch:

How to look after a Peperomia Polybotyra

We got to buy our very first peperomia plant in Australia last year. And we’re so glad that it has thrived very well.

So, how did we do it? A little bit of research , personal experience and TLC ( tender love and care) did the trick. Peperomias are not too needy as well as long as you get the most important care tips right. Here are some of it.

  1. Use a not too large pot with drainage.

2. Place it in an area with a bright to medium light away from direct sun exposure. We placed ours next to a window with a semi-transparent curtain. I love the way they turn their leaves towards the window. Kris and I takes turn to rotate them every now and then. Peperomias like warm and humid temperatures. Less light exposure will lead to leaves falling off and too much sun exposure will cause it’s leaves to turn pale and yellowish.

3. Leave the soil to dry completely before watering as the peperomia leaves are thick which can store water. I usually just stick about an inch of my finger in the soil to check it’s moisture and water if it’s dry. We water our Peperomia about just twice a week but may be even less during winter. Avoid too much watering as it may cause it’s root to rot and eventually grow fungus.

4. Fertilise once a month or even every 2 months. They are the kind of plant that does not really need it though.

They grow slowly so there’s no need to repot not until the roots are sticking out from the bottom of the pot.

5. Regular misting and wiping of it’s leaves reduces bugs infestation and cleans the leaves from dusts hence promoting photosynthesis. Your peperomia will love you for this!

Thanks for taking time to read our tips. If you have any other suggestions and recommendations feel free to leave your comment. We have posted some of our plant collections in our instagram page.