Returning to old loves
Karen Racelis (The Philippine Star) - May 15, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Over the last three years, I’ve stashed away 20 paintbrushes and at least twice as many books for “when I have free time.” Of course, between school and extracurriculars, free time never actually created itself. 

With the quarantine extension, some have a surplus of that privilege. To pass the time, we take new recipes to the kitchen, learn new skills, and follow the newest trends. The new is intriguing, but for some of us, adventure lies in the arms of former loves. We asked friends about picking up their long-time hobbies during the quarantine. Here are four tips on getting back into the groove, for those looking for a stroke of inspiration or a reason to dust off that old camera.

Create things that you enjoy creating

No matter what you intend to pursue, the key to doing things is consistency. When I got serious about art in 2017, I told myself “I can do anything I set my mind on,” so I uploaded something on Instagram every day. My advice is to push yourself to create, even little things, to keep creativity running. But rest when you’re tired. Be brave; fear is paralyzing. No one looks at you to judge you — they just look, and then decide if they like your work or not. It’s not your job to please everyone around you, so create those things that you like. Create things that you enjoy creating. Right now my process for picking themes is I paint whatever makes me happy. At the end of the day, I gotta like what I put out anyway. That mostly consists of florals, botanicals, galaxies and calligraphy. Also, don’t be afraid to message people you look up to. Some people can’t respond but I know a lot of artists who love responding to questions and greetings. There are people I’ve gotten close to that I was too shy to contact before. — Bree Dionisio, calligrapher and painter (@possibilitybree)

Take things slowly

I suggest listening to a lot of songs to get a feel of the different elements in music. It’s so beneficial to take things slowly and, if you’re taking lessons, really listen to what your teacher says. It was a goal of mine to learn an instrument before high school. I started playing the piano in 2012 and continued taking lessons until 2014. It was not until 2017 that I started doing cover songs, which I would then post on my Facebook page. Initially, I enjoyed playing pop music from foreign artists but I fell in love with OPM, especially songs that hit you in the heart. — Borj Arato, pianist (@KeyBorj_)

Let art be your space

I find that, when creating, the themes of my work show themselves throughout the process. These are usually truth, time, space and balance. So far, during quarantine, I have created a new series that has been published in the Heights Ateneo online exhibit. It is a black-and-white photo essay that shows different strangers deep in prayer at the Our Lady of Manaoag Basilica in Pangasinan. This was shot at the start of the year and has gone through different edits. I wanted to capture moments of faith as we all ponder over what we hope 2020 could be. My advice is to let art be your space. Let every minute of your process be a time to feel more deeply and to understand what it’s like to live in this world. Keep creating, find inspiration everywhere, and own your work. — Cristina Batalla, photographer and collage artist (@_tinamad)

Seek different points of view

I’ve been working with Photoshop since 2013, but I only recently started uploading portraits when a friend of mine inspired me. I learned since then that practice will always be the number one tool that will help you — and with practice, inevitably, there are mistakes. You have to let your mistakes show you the way to improve, whatever art or hobby you’re into. Very few people start out great, so you need to accept criticism, especially since you have only one point of view. You have only one perspective, so you can rarely see errors or areas for improvement by yourself. Let people help; reach out to fellow artists. — Echo Tamera, graphic artist (@iamjrchtmrrr)

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