I have always liked drawing and painting, I have just never been very good at it.
Anyway, as I have said in a previous post I used to volunteer at the Volunteer Development Children’s Association (VDCA) which provided free education for the local kids of Siem Reap. English, computer studies and art. Mr. Malivann was a student of the school previously, and was a dedicated and talented student at that. He actually ended up becoming a teacher at the school, after he finished his own studies.
Born and raised in Cambodia, not only is he a good English teacher, enriching the lives of his students, but Mr. Malivann is also a very talented artist. After several donations from supporters of the school he was able to set up a little art studio and buy art supplies such as oil paints, brushes and canvases. So now his students can not only learn essentials like English and basic computer skills which help them get jobs later in life they can also learn to paint. And you know, what kid do you know that doesn’t like to paint and get messy.. me included.
So every Saturday morning after a hard weeks lesson planning and teaching I would let my hair down and ride up to the school in an old set of clothes (oil paint tends to get everywhere.) I would sit down in front of an empty canvas with no clue where to start, but Mr. Malivann, who was sat next to me, slowly explained what colours to mix, different brush strokes to use, and more importantly where to put your paint on the canvas. Within 2 hours I had produced my first oil painting. It was of a sun set with elephants walking, using brilliant reds and oranges.
After several saturdays and several more paintings my confidence had grown and I was now painting with only a little guidance from Mr. Malivann creating wonderful sun set scenes of life in Cambodia. All in all I painted 5 or 6 paintings which now hang proudly on my parents wall back in the UK.
Unfortunately, when I stopped volunteering so too did the art lessons. I’m still good friends with Mr. Malivann, however, and who knows one day I may even pick up a brush again.
Written by J.