November 6 and I dedicated today's artwork for my father. Today is his birthday and I am sure I'll get his very rare nod of approval. When I say rare approval, I can only recall once or twice instance of compliment regarding my artworks, especially the one just a few days before he died.
Even though an illustrator himself he never encourage me to take the same road he once took...the road he had closed many many years ago during his youth. My parents envisioned a different path for me...and I would usually end up in trouble diverting to another route and so I have to hide when I draw while keeping my works in secret places. It was only during my collegiate years that I was able to fully express myself...and the day I finally get his approval was one of the happiest day of my life as an artist.
It was one ordinary afternoon in 1989; my father had been bed ridden for around two years that time, even talking was a difficult task for him...and while I could hear his hard breathing (which I've notice getting worse by those last days...) I'm trying to alter my thought into other things so I decided to paint. Self-taught and still a neophyte, I usually get my model from magazines...where I would select human subject being my favorite and experiment on my brushstrokes...that time, I was determined to master the watercolor while looking for my own style.
...I can see my father eyeing my work from his bed. I remember my father's artworks had been very keen to detail...maybe he was a perfectionist, I'm not sure but when he work, the tiniest detail was given very much attention. It's hard to please him, or maybe he was just like that...being an agnostic who can debate anyone when it comes to religion. He knows all the detail even in beliefs...so, I was surprised when he prayed along to a visiting Christian worker just a couple of weeks ago instead of starting a debate.
When he saw me finished he asked me "Can I have a look?" his coughing are rough and hoarse but even if he had difficulty sitting at the edge he manage to do so catching his failing lungs. I don't know but a sudden cold air brush the back of my head when I let him handle my sketch pad...he look at it and return them to me instantly because it seems the task makes him dizzy because he had to rest his back on the wall and shiver with more coughing. Slowly he slide himself back to fetal position...I could see all the traces of his skeletal frame molded in his thinning body.
The 4th Dan karate instructor was now helpless as a child. He close his eyes and said in a soft but clear voice "You are very good. You are very good."
Those were the last time my father had a look at my paintings, after a couple of days the Lord gave him his needed sleep.
I'll search for the said artwork if I still have it with me....once I have the time...