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A photograph of the painting of Elaine in 1998. The babe is now a young lady.

A photograph of the painting of Elaine in 1998. The babe is now a young lady.

There was a time when painting was my chosen art form and I often put brush to paper and painted the night away – literally – usually starting from about 10pm onwards till about 2 to 3 in the morning.

In the late 90s I seemed to favour figurative art. This led to requests to paint portraits…a daunting undertaking. Why? Well, while the artist depicts the subject with the freedom of artistic license, the subject does not always share the same opinion!

All said and done, I could not say no to a good friend’s request to paint her darling niece Elaine. Out came the photo of the tiny tot for reference. The concept of the art piece was verbally described and agreed upon. The year was 1998. The place was Beijing.

Then, I particularly enjoyed painting Chinese tea cups too, so it was fun to put baby Elaine atop a bone-china cup done up in blue and white (naturally) with outlines in gold, to represent the portrait being painted whilst Judy (the aunty) and I were in China.

I had also tried to refrain from filling up every bit of the background with paint and design (something I observed in traditional Chinese paintings). It was all about ‘less is more’.

In keeping with that line of thought, I used a sponge cut into a triangle and dabbed the background with gold and silver paint to represent confetti. In the oriental world, gold and silver are symbolic of all things auspicious.

When I came across a photo of the painting (last week), fond memories brought many a happy smile to my face. I wondered if the framed painting still hung in the young gal’s room in Canada.

Coincidentally, yesterday I learnt that Elaine has just turned 17! My, how time flies.

I realize that I have been joyfully informed of her fabulous progress all through the last 16 years. In that sense, I feel I ‘know’ Elaine although we have never met and always wish her an abundance of blessings from above.