Happily Sentimental

Still following Tracy Verdugo’s Story Painting class, I am a bit behind with blogging about it. Today I would like to share phase one of Lesson 2. The reason I wanted to divide this into two phases is that the first one is quite crucial and worth focussing on, as it is intertwined with the second phase which I will later post.

Choosing our Objects

In this lesson, we are instructed to search for things that give pleasant memories, mean a lot to us in our life and make us happy.. And here I chose these six:

  1. A bongo-style drum my boyfriend bought during our trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was both our first time to visit this wonderful country, and it made us realise how happy people are out there even if they live simply and have very little. I thereby changed my ways from being materialistic and selfish to being more compassionate and giving. Since then, I have been contributing to good causes for our friends in Cambodia.
  2. A large Suzu bell I got him whilst visiting a shrine near my family’s in Osaka, Japan. He collects bells from visiting various countries and was awed by how different bells are in Japan compared to the West. And so I bought him this pretty one.
  3. Ambonne, my sweet tiny Teddy Bear during a trip to Carcassonne in France in the 90s. First stuffed animal I started cuddling for the first time since I was a little girl. Thereafter, I began to explore my inner child and appreciating everything kawaii.
  4. My very first Hello Kitty my late Mama got me when I was a child in 1976 and kept all these years. I was 11 at the time, and it was probably the last summer that mama and I bonded together as mother and child. After that, I entered puberty and became a difficult teenager. Kitty sat on our family piano gathering dust, and it was only in 2000 that I discovered her again. Thereafter, she reminds me of the happiest times I had with my mother and how much I wish I could go back to it and just stay there.
  5. A lava sculpture of a bear catching fish BF and I got during our trip to Hokkaido in Japan. We love travelling together, and both of us are fascinated by nature. Growing up in Tokyo, I never ventured out of the big city and appreciated the other part of Japan with all the beauty, culture and nature.
  6. A dried but well preserved bunch of roses my sweet BF got in honor of my late mother’s birthday (they were fresh then) because I was crying and miss Mama loads
Choosing our Objects

Ink Sketch

On my Strathmore Mixed Media sketchbook, I gathered my goodies and began sketching away with my aquarelle pencil. I made sure the composition was gathered in the middle of the page as we will see for phase 2. Then the outlines were traced with a permanent black marker. I also took the liberty to incorporate some tiny animals and flowers in the drawing for fun. So far, so kawaii!

Ink Sketch

Color Me Kawaii

We were instructed to use 4-5 different colours, preferably four that are harmonious to one another and one that compliments them or are opposites to them on the color wheel. As such, I chose two greens (emerald green and mint green), gold and lemon yellow as harmonious to one another and as opposite, I went for pale pink. Medium used was gouache for a change. I agree with Tracy, these give a solid opaque appearance, even a bit chalky. They should be used more often!

Color Me Kawaii

Red Background

And now to paint the background. Red is not the color I’d choose in my artwork nowadays. However, it was my favorite color when I was a child. Sketching and painting the objects, including my first Hello Kitty and Ambonne the Teddy Bear, drew me back to my childhood. Even the flowers did as well, as they are a reminder of my late mother. As I became older and tastes change I grew out of red, but upon working on this piece, I was in a daring mood keeping in mind that it was my favorite childhood color. I then opted for Senneilier’s Cadmium Red, a bright pure red acrylic ink. And what a pretty shade it was! Why didn’t I discover that before? As finishing touch, I wiped the edges with some white gesso to even out the composition. And here we are, phase one of the project!

I had so much fun drawing and painting this piece as it involved objects that make me happy. It is amazing what simple objects carry a fascinating story to keep you going. Using red as background was also a step forward. As said before, following classes do give you a chance to explore the hidden and go beyond your comfort zone. And that red, I kept thinking to myself why haven’t I used it before! Perhaps it would be an idea to go back to red occasionally. And as we are now in Autumn and eventually Christmas drawing nearer, this is the good time to start!


    1. Thank you again for your kind encouraging words. Hope you are safe too during these difficult times 🙏 You keep up with your amazing artwork yourself too, and I look forward to seeing them! ❤️


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