Have faith, take flight – a specially commissioned art for my little girl

I’ve always loved art. As a mum of 3, I count it a privilege to explore art with the kids and to discover colours, swishes and blobs anew. It gives me a chance to experience this essential aspect of childhood that I remember fondly all over again.

Vera also loves art. She lives and breathes in make-believe worlds of doodles and paints. Much of her free time daily is spent doing art with her fingers, and dabbling in crafts. It’s a bonding activity that I enjoy with her, like a special language shared between us.

As Vera was going to move into her own “big girl” room, I decided to commission an art piece for her new room. When I chanced upon this Penang-based artist, I was taken by her simple yet captivating style, that has such a child-like and innocent quality. I knew that she would be the perfect partner to create a unique and original watercolour painting for Vera.

I started a conversation with Yong Yee on The Commissioned’s website. In my note to her, I described the purpose and message behind the art work I was hoping to create.


She followed up with some questions about Vera: What is her favorite dress? Does she have a pet? What’s her favorite book? I felt that this process enabled us to clarify and discuss ideas and also helped her have a better understanding of Vera. I also sent her a picture of Vera in her favourite blue dress.

blue dress

A couple of days later, she sent a sketch for my feedback / approval. I told her I loved the forest setting, and then asked if she could lengthen the hair of the fairy girl, as Vera has shoulder-length hair.

A day or two later, colour had been added to the piece! It was exciting to see!

Art comm1

Every couple of days, I received an update to the piece. It was really interesting to watch the details get added to the piece.

I was also thankful that Yong Yee was really open to hear my ideas. Three-quarters into the piece, I asked if it was possible to add some rays of light from the sky. She considered my request and actually managed to pull it off really nicely!

After I approved the final painting, all that was left to do was to fill in the “story” component of the art piece.

The story then accompanies the artwork in a gallery text card. It’s also in the virtual gallery that has a unique URL for me to be able to share the piece with friends.

commissioned piece

Here’s a closer look at the different elements of the painting. I just love all the little details that Yong Yee put in the piece.

art comm4

Now the painting sits happily in Vera’s new room. And it’ll greet her each morning when she wakes up, or when she reads at her desk.

My prayer is that it will continue to inspire her in the days, months and years to come. To know and explore and use the gifts that God has given her, to fulfill His marvelous plans and purposes for her life.

commissioned watercolour art

Commissioning an art piece was fuss-free, inspiring, and fun. I never really knew how my idea would translate into a painting, until I saw it unfold before my eyes.

Being able to give my input along the way, and to see it materialise in the artwork itself was also very enriching. Through the experience, I’ve come to appreciate artists and the unique work that they do even more.

Would you commission a work of art? If so what would it be and who would you give it to?


PS. I contribute articles and tell stories on The Commissioned’s blog, in between taking care of the kids. However, the decision to commission a work of art was solely mine, as with my opinions too. And yes, I paid for the piece – the total cost was around $200 (excluding shipping as I got a friend to bring it back from Penang for me). 🙂

Teachers’ Day gift ideas: Seed art mini canvases

We’ve been playing around with seeds lately as Vera is in the thick of learning about seeds and planting.

When I found these mini canvases from Spotlight (these are about 3×3 inches, and cost 2 for $4.95), I thought it’d be fun to let the kids have a go at making their own seed art mini canvases. Perfect for a simple teachers’ day gift!

seed artmini canvases!

Because the canvases are small, the kids could finish the piece in one sitting. JJ made a heart shape on his first attempt, while Vera decided to go free-flow with hers and came up with this swirly shape that resembles waves.

The main shape was made using soy beans that we had lying around in the fridge. She used saga seeds and pumpkin seeds as accents, and filled up the remaining space with red beans.

seeds art

The beauty of seed art is that you can use any seeds you like, or have lying around in the pantry. I used this muffin tray to sort out the different seeds. (This was the before pic, that is, before Josh came and messed everything up…)


For the next piece, they decided to make stars. I thought they actually look quite pretty unfinished.


Vera dolled hers up with gold sequins, and 2 pink jewel stickers she happened to have.

seed art 3

JJ decided to paint his with gold instead. Here are the finished canvases sitting pretty on the stands. (The stands actually come in the set of 2 mini canvases that we bought.)

seed art 5

If you’re collecting your own seeds from fruits (like oranges, apples, etc) and vegetables (like pumpkin), just remember to clean and dry them thoroughly before use!

Now, we still have time to make a gift tag to go along with the canvases. Hmm, maybe one that says “Thank you for helping us GROW!” 😉

Little Lessons: Discovering your child’s talents and gifts

Vera was busy painting last Sunday.

rainbow painting

When I asked her about her artwork, she said:

“Someone squeezed this black thing here (which looks like an ink jar to me…) and a rainbow shoots out!”

I was a little surprised at how she got the idea of squirting a rainbow out from a little black pot. But I just stood back and let her do her thing. Occasionally, I glanced over just to see how she’s going.

After she was done, I asked her what were the two things jumping on the rainbow. (I honestly thought they were monkeys…) She said they were water droplets since a rainbow is formed from droplets in the air, and light shining through them. (She had just been learning about the water cycle at school.)

I just stood and examined the finished piece. We’ve long realised that she’s interested in art, and loves to doodle and draw on her own. Obviously since the days of Frozen, everything has to do with princesses and castles and snow and kings and queens. But occasionally, she goes and draws something out of the blue – like this one.

She loves rainbows. She always has. (Maybe it has something to do with Aunty Waijia’s A Taste of Rainbow book that she read long ago.)

I remember thinking sometime back about discovering each child’s interests and area of giftings – yes it might seem a little young to jump to conclusions about where these may lie, but I think what they naturally like to do, and also seem to excel at, give us some handles to go by.

In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve done much to hone her interest in art. I’ve pretty much provided the paints, different media for her to paint on, and sometimes we paint twigs, leaves, and other little things that we pick from the park. Yes we also love to do simple crafts at home. But that’s about it. I think it’s time to pick up some art books from the library.

At some point in the near future, I’d love to bring her to take up some formal art lessons, but for now I am enjoying watching her express her ideas and personality through her paintings and drawings. It’s raw, childlike and gives me a window into her thoughts and feelings too. It’s also a joy to behold, every new piece is like a little surprise. I hope she continues to love and express herself through art.

This is Little Lessons #22, which runs on the blog every Thursday. Do grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!


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Little Lessons: Beauty happens when we least expect it

Vera’s artwork never fails to bring a smile to my face, especially her recent ones…

We do leaf prints from time to time. One day, she transformed her red leaf print into a strawberry, just by adding black dots with a pencil.

from leaf to strawberry

Another day, I returned home from work to find this. Her portrait of our family, with JJ, herself (with the long crazy hair), and…little baby J! I was most surprised to find that she is already including baby #3 into the mix…I take it to mean that she just can’t wait to welcome him into the family. 🙂

I love her colours… (Left: “hairy” fireworks. Right: colourful ice-cream cones filled with purple and yellow rolled-up paper tissue, and topped with a Cornetto-style cover.)

Finally, this drawing of herself, with long earrings (yes she’s girly like that), and rainbows and flowers – just a handful of her favourite things. It now hangs on our family photo wall in our master bedroom.

I know I sound like “proud mama” all over this post, but I can’t help it.

These may not be Picasso, but they are lovely works by the hands of my little girl. Through the bright colours and happy expressions on her drawings, I see her joy and zest for life.

I can also recall three things I learnt from an art workshop long ago. [Read: Every child can draw]

  1. There are only two areas where a child can be free and enjoy full control. One of them is play, the other is art.
  2. A supportive environment is all you need to help grow your child’s interest in art.
  3. Allow your child to enjoy the creative process, and refrain from judging the outcome.

I’ve never placed much expectations or pressure on her to colour well, or to draw something neatly, or to paint a logical scene. To the adult eye, her art may come across messy and unrefined, but I enjoy hearing her talk about her work, her craft, and seeing how proud she is of them.

I hope to cheer her little passion for art on simply by being there…and by allowing her to make her own choices and explore freely with different materials/medium.

May the creativity and imagination of our children thrive. And may we adults learn to never hinder, judge or discourage this beautiful process.

This is the post #6 of the Little Lessons series – because as parents we are always learning with and from our children. If you want to follow the entire series, you’ll find each new post listed here every week.


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Pretty feet

It was a rainy lazy day, the kind that makes you wanna go zzz.

By some wonder, I overcame the zzz monster, and we decided to indulge in some painting instead. I took out the paints and Vera started putting colour onto paper, as she normally would.

Then…she ran out of paper. And she began to dab some yellow paint on her toenails. I thought she was just having some fun painting her nails and feeling all lady-ish. But she ventured further.

paint my foot

Soon her entire left foot was a bright bloody red.

This is where I stopped feeling sleep-deprived. And I just jumped right in. (I mean how often do you get to paint someone else’s body part?)

I drew some lines and blobs in blue. On first glance, it looks a little tribal…

arty foot

I helped to paint a red heart on her green foot as well. An oh yes the red toes. Very Christmassy…

arty feet

All in all, she was rather pleased with her pretty feet. And she started to stomp and march around. [Cue tribal music.]

art march

Whoever said rainy days are the most boring of days?

What do you like to do on rainy days? (Erm, besides sleep that is…)

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