Friday, May 15, 2009

Maia Binhi Borja

For the past two years, I have always looked forward to the start of summer. For one thing, it meant no more homework, and for another, it meant Udlot.

When I started attending the Udlot Summer Art Workshop with my younger sister three years ago, I was rather hesitant. I really didn't like summer classes, but my parents persuaded me to try Udlot. They had been talking to me about it for some time.

I found the workshop a very comforting place. I enjoyed my first meeting there, though I was somewhat nervous, well aware that I might not be as good as I thought. I was happy to find out though, that even if I was still a beginner, I was doing fine.

After several meetings, I realized that I enjoyed being there; drawing, talking, and making new friends. I also found the atmosphere at the workshop quite relaxing; it helped me to concentrate better on the work at hand. Indeed, I often told my parents that I worked better there than at home.

From that first summer, I learned many things from Ma’am Nene and Ma’am Mitzi; from how to color bigger spaces using oil pastels (this is done by breaking off one end of the pastel and using the side of the broken piece to color a drawing), to drawing images to scale. The following year, I returned, albeit without my sister, who opted to stay at home for the summer. Along with my classmate Juviruth Lapay, then a bubbly girl of eight, I was moved up to the advanced level. We started tackling watercolor, which, as I discovered, is very difficult to control. The colors of my paintings usually ended up darker than they were supposed to be.

This year, we are focusing more on watercolor and the human figure. I am pleased to discover that my watercolor technique is now getting better than before, though every now and then, I keep lapsing into my old ways. I am now also finally able to produce more realistic looking human shapes than the two-dimensional figures I used to draw.

Though sometimes I feel that I am no good at art, my parents’ and Ma’am Nene’s encouragement have helped me to overcome my fears of inadequacy. Gradually, my styles in watercolor and sketching have improved, though I must say that I can still be stubborn at times.

It's been three years, and I'm still here. And I have not regretted my decision to attend Udlot; it has been life-changing and very enlightening. Despite everything that I have discovered as a student at Udlot, I still have a lot to learn.