A Mother's Day Tribute: My Mother's Influence and Legacy on my Art and Life

This Mother's Day, I would like to share about a special person in my life and how she has made an impact on my faith, my life, and my art. 

“She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

Proverbs 31:27

I often joke that my mum is like an Energizer Bunny. If you had met my mother, you would know she's a person who can't keep still! Recently, she caught COVID-19 and was forced to isolate herself. Of all the things, what she missed most was seeing her grandkids-- yes, those munchkins that mess her home and increase her water bill by 'watering her garden' (and themselves)! I do appreciate all that she has done for me, but it's in times like these (when she's not able to buzz around to help us in all sorts of ways) when I especially appreciate her more and also give her what she needs (even when she doesn't want to), and that is -- rest.  

Growing up, my mother would sew dresses for me. Evidence of her creative endeavours, be it recently or decades ago, is peppered around the house -- oil paintings of my brothers and me, beautiful folk art pieces, quilts and applique. A special tapestry hangs in the living room, featuring plants inspired by her garden. Observing how she creates, I have adopted many of her techniques, and ideas, and even use some of her paints to this day! 

My mother is also an avid gardener -- in fact, many of the plants I have painted have been in her garden at some point in time. We grew up with a passion fruit vine creeping over the trellis of my childhood home. The caladium (or 'Heart of Jesus') is my mother's favourite. 

She has mastered the art of buying plants, and when you wonder how she can take care of so many plants in her garden, she'll readily share her practical tips for plant maintenance and her observations of certain plant behaviours and characteristics. It was perhaps only when I started to infuse these plants into my art, that I realised how years and years of hearing the 'same old stories' are actually interesting and pretty insightful. How certain plant characteristics point us to our creator God, and how I have had the privilege of watching these plants grow and evolve all these years. 

My mum was a former science teacher, and growing up, she would often give us food and call them by their food group or chemical name more than their common name.
'Eat less carbo (rice)'
'here are some potassium (bananas)'
'Antioxidants (blueberries) are good for you'
'Drink more Vitamin C (Redoxon/Orange Fizz)'
'Eat more Fibre (Vegetables)' 

No photo description available.

For a while, my parents lived in Hong Kong for a couple of years. Without a garden (and with heavily tinted inoperable windows in their apartment), this innovative ex-science teacher with green fingers (and an understanding of the concept of photosynthesis) made do with a 'day bulb' lamp from IKEA. The picture above captures the early beginnings of what eventually flourished and became a green sanctuary in their home.

While my mum has shared with me her love for art, nature, and her looks, the most important thing she has shared with me is her faith and love for the Lord. She will pray for me, and encourage me to trust and depend on God through all the different seasons of my life. 

Over the years, my relationship with my mother has also evolved. From being physically and emotionally dependent on her, we are now each other's sounding board, learning there are seasons when we need to give each other space to grow, and times when we need to take the initiative to help one another.  

In becoming a mother myself, I have learnt to appreciate the love and sacrifice that my mother has gone through for me. From the day I was born (my mother was stuck in the lift when she was in labour!), to being the Chief Operations Officer when I am packing my calendar orders. I'm so thankful for her love support at every step of my journey. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg of my mother's influence and legacy on my life. I hope this sharing has given you a glimpse of this remarkable woman, and understand how God has used her life and passions to provide resources of inspiration for my art and life! 

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