Updated: Sep 19
Always support your children's artistic passions, or whatever they are passionate about. You never know if there is a diamond under the rough.
The art projects that young children create, scribble and or paste together, are so sweet and charming. Some are so creative and full of colors. Most are what you might typically expect, depending on the child's age. It was that way for Lissa dia Loo too, except one day this started to change.
There was something a bit strange about the manner in which my little girl held a crayon, scribbled on paper, and paid attention to detail.
When she was a toddler, I thought that her drawings and creations, looked a bit too controlled, and a bit too fancy for a toddler to create. Even her stickman snowman that she created, at just 3 years old, looked a little bit odd to me, in the sense that it looked too realistic. The face looked too much like a real face, with eyes, a nose and a smile. Other details, like his bright red hat, and snow coming down in the background seemed to be a lot for toddler to be able to put into their artwork. I thought that most small children would perhaps be too impatient to sit and do all that. But when I shared my thoughts and concerns with family members, no one really understood what I was saying. They could not see what I was seeing.
Like most parents, I visited many Preschool events and loved seeing the art that kids create. I didn't really expect anything special other than warm feelings from enjoying the events and looking at the art. When Lissa Dia Loo (that's what I call her) was almost 5 years old, I noticed something strange about how she selected and blended colors. While attending such an event, I admired the art that the kids created. Most are what you may consider to be unconventional designs. I loved looking at the art that was posted on the walls down the corridor, in the elementary school. I of course admired the variety of the beautiful projects that the wonderful and patient teachers would post along the hallway wall. I would follow the drawings along the walls, into the Preschool classroom.
One particular day, I happened upon an usual experience. Parents were invited to a classroom party with treats and art on display. As I walked around the preschool classroom admiring the bird houses that the children decorated. I looked for my little Lissa's bird house. I could not find her name on any of them. I thought that perhaps she was absent the day the bird houses were created. I noticed there were quite a few that did not have a name of them. I noticed one that was likely made by the teacher and used as a sample for instructing the children on how they could paint their birdhouses. It was a so beautiful. It was a combination of pastel colors, so lovely, and soothing to look at. Even the netting that was added as a cover, seemed to be such a special effect.
I enjoyed the class party with my little Lissa. As the party was ending the teacher announced that that the children should get their things together and grab their bird houses. I felt a little sad and bad for Lissa, as I realized she may not have a bird house to grab off the table to bring home (thinking she may have been absent he day they created the bird houses) . I wondered how my little Lissa would react. Would she be cry? Would she be sad, or would she understand. I thought that I should quickly and quietly check with the teacher to see if one of the bird houses', with no name, was Lissa's . I waited until Lissa was distracted and not looking, and then I quietly asked the teacher. The teacher looked at me oddly, and said "yes, Lissa's bird house is on the table". I was relieved. No more worries, I said, "ok, Lissa which one is your's". She looked at me in disbelief, and asked in a funny manner, saying, "do you mean to tell me that you do not not know which one is mine?".
She laughed and ran to the other side of the room with a group of her little friends. I said of course I know. I went to the group of houses with no names on them. One by one the children where grabbing up the houses to take home. There were only 4 birdhouse left out of 15. Lissa came back to the table and said this is mine, "come on, grab it, and let's go!". She pointed to the birdhouse that I thought was painted by the teacher. Just to be sure, I asked the teacher which one of was Lissa's? The teacher confirmed by saying, that one is her's. I was shocked. I felt oddly strange, as if something out of the ordinary had occurred. It seemed impossible that a 5 year old could paint like that. I asked if the children got help in painting their houses. The teach said no, they did it on their own.
It was a surreal experience. I stared at the birdhouse in disbelief. I just could not believe it. It was some sort of phenomenon. I carefully picked up the birdhouse, being careful not to damage it. I admired it, as if it was a precious work of art by someone like Picasso. I was lost in a fog of confusion, as if in a dream. I kept asking myself, how in the world could a Preschooler paint like this? I said to myself, that she must be an artist. Then I thought perhaps the teacher was being generous in her compliments regarding the children's work, and help the kids. I thought an adult who is an artist, had to helped her pick out the colors, and helped them to apply the paint, a little bit. To be sure, if she was a gifted artist, I vowed to monitor the art projects that she created and those she brought home from school.
When we arrived home, I showed everyone the birdhouse. Most did not respond in the manner in which I did, when I first saw the combination of the colors. They did not get excited about her ability to select and blend certain colors. They did not think that Lissa had really painted it on her own. Some thought that perhaps it was possible, but it was more likely that she got a little bit of help from the teacher. But I was there at the party at school and I asked the teacher and the teacher was matter of fact about it, I know the teacher was being honest. I raved about it to my family, knowing that as a Preschooler, she was proving to me that she was an artist. Others did not think so. They just thought that she painted and created the way mosts kids paint. I disagreed. I decided to just wait and watch.
As her art projects came home from school, I analyzed them, and I saved them. I knew she was a gifted artist. One day she brought home a painting that she called the Blossoming Tree. Something the teacher had all the kids paint. I loved the painting. There was something about the colors, and I tried to imagine how her little hands created the crooked branches and round blossoms. It spoke to me. I didn't know why but I had such a connection to that painting. I did not know why I was so fascinated by it. Perhaps because she was born with a vision impairment and was at risk of going blind. She has had a lot of challenges with her vision, yet at such a young age, I find her drawings and paintings to be beautiful works of art. Almost as if it is a miracle, that although she has a vision impairment, she is somehow a talented artist. And she wasn't even in the 1st grade yet. I decided to hang her Blossoming Tree painting on the inside of our front door, so that I could see it as I walked past the foyer each day. I was just drawn to it. I wanted to do something special with that painting, because to me it was phenomenal. I just had no idea of what it was destined for, but I knew it was destined for something more. The inside of my front door is filled with art, created by all of my children. I put the Blossoming tree where it would not be covered by the other art and so that I could clearly see it.
As a clothing designer, I like learning about different sewing and design techniques. One year, in which I was learning about couture sewing techniques something fascinating happened. I was preparing for a class with the well known Couturier, Susan Khalje. Prior to the class I was trying to envision the type of fabric I wanted to use and the colors I wanted for my fabrics. I was struggling with finding the right color combination and fabrics. I determine that I wanted a theme with grays and silver for the main fabric. But I was stuck on the color of lining that I wanted to use. I knew I wanted it to be bold and stunning, yet it had to coordinate well with the outer fabric, but I could not find anything that satisfied my creative spirit. One day, as I was walking through my foyer, I once again noticed Lissa's painting of the Blossoming Tree. As I was looking for inspiration for my lining fabric, Liss Loo's painting stood out as a perfect match. The inspiration for the lining fabric in my jacket, that I wanted to create, in my upcoming couture class, was my little Lissa Loo's painting. I took another class to learn how to manipulate the designs in her painting to create the design layout for the lining fabric. I loved the lining fabric. It looked just like the painting. I took my newly created lining fabric to my couture class. Everyone thought it was beautiful, especially because it was created from an image of my little girls painting. It made the creation of the jacket that much more special.
Lissa Loo has been creativing beautiful masterpieces of art since preschool. Many teacher's in her elementary school were starting to comment about her artistic ability. She won a small contest, in which students had to draw an image for the school phone book. I was so excited. Lissa Loo's drawing was selected for the front cover. Now folks were starting to see what I saw all along. By the time she reached age 12, her artwork had been selected for display around the district, in art shows and events.
She is truly an artist, not only in her ability to paint and draw, but also in her ability to sing, play musical instruments, as well as act. At age 13, I signed Lissa up for a painting session at The Jacqueline Drake Art Gallery. While working with Jacqueline, Lissa was able to finish a lovely painting at the gallery. It has a beautiful combination of blue, lavender and white colors that are so strikingly mysterious to me. I asked Lissa what the image was, water or mountains? She just calmly and matter of fact, said, "I don't know. She said, "it's just something that came to my mind while I was painting." We went home, and I placed the beautiful blue painting in front our my white brick fireplace. I wanted to see it as I walked in and out of the salon. After a while, the colors in the the painting sparked a creative inspiration in me.
A few months later, in the winter of 2020, I attended a Fine Art Encaustic (wax) Painting Demonstration. It was a fabulous event held in a quaint library in a nearby city. My daughter, Lissa, did not attend. But the Art Gallery owner, Jacqueline Drake remembered my daughter. She complimented my daughter's talents and lauded Lissa's artistic ability to the crowd at the demonstration. After the demonstration Jacqueline recommend that I take Lissa to an Art Atelier that works with talented artists. How exciting! Lissa may soon be shadowing accomplished artists at the Art Atelier and acquiring skills to improve her craft. I will keep you posted on how her talent grows!
Some other creations she created on a whim!
This one was made at the kitchen table while she was drinking grape juice and playing with a straw.
More of her creations. Cartoon doodles, origami ceiling decorations and she turned a dollhouse into a bookcase.
Improving upon her craft: