Tammy blew us all away today. Such talent! I've already commissioned a set of batik paintings since I saw her last four, big, beautiful tableaux in the lobby. She painted over those dull looking roses and turned them into vibrant, bright and shining - but also dark and luxurious peonies. She had purpose. I saw her size up those tired, fussy, old roses. She mixed up some deep red and hot pink, and she immediately got to work on her make-over. We couldn't believe how fast she turned it all around.
Her effortless mixing and blending inspired me. I wanted to try it. She took her prominent place in the center of the mural. I found my corner. My favourite; the corner, no one will notice me there, and I can do my thing without an audience. I started sketching. Lines. Symmetrical lines in the style of Afghan truck art - Elizabeth showed me. Yes. I had purpose. I've been helping out with the mural for five weeks now. Usually I people manage. I help with organising the resources, enlisting kids to paint and tidying up at the end. Today was different. Something clicked and I wanted to paint.
Once I finished sketching, I realised that I could make this a team effort. I saw Jaffa drawing a picture of a peacock in a sketchbook. So intent. Only eleven years old but his observation and attention to detail let me know that we'd be a good team. I finally convinced Jaffa to join the mural (I had been trying to get him to paint on the mural for five weeks now!). Once I showed him my sketch and the photo of the truck art, he was in. We worked together for two hours. Jaffa on the left. Me on the right. I tried to encourage Jaffa to talk despite his lack of English and my lack of Arabic. All my major Ronaldo and Messi fun facts ran out pretty fast (I have no clue about football), and after that we worked together on our joint painting mostly silently. Only breaking the silence to discuss colour options.
Two hours later and we were feeling pretty proud. Jaffa and I had received a few compliments on our work. We're not finished yet, but I'm looking forward to completing it next week, and I'm pretty sure Jaffa is too.
On the way home after saying goodbye to the other painters, I was struck by the colours. Suddenly I was noticing specific shades of colours. That ancot is the same shade of blue of our background pattern. That warung is same shade of green as the leaves on our peonies. The yellow outline on Elizabeth's frames is the same as the yellow stripes on the Trans-Jakarta bus. Traffic is not so boring when you look at it with the fresh new perspective of a painter.
I'm glad I've stepped out of my comfort zone to try something new. It's been so great! Can't wait till next week!