While the pandemic disrupted majority of our routines and systems, it is up to us to take advantage of this pause, however we can, to rest, learn, pursue new paths, grow, and thrive. Instead of doomscrolling, we can take this chance to rediscover ourselves and what brings us joy.
Picking up or reliving a hobby makes for a healthy diversion from a constant barrage of bad news. This pursuit of interest is best carved out doing what makes you feel good inside and out—and not under the guise of a productivity contest. The idea is to relax, breathe, and enjoy the moment.
In the case of yoga teacher Maybelle “Abe” Marquez – Yu, she used her free time to brush up on her creativity. At 41 years old, this mom of three has reinvented herself as a visual artist and has captured the attention of art enthusiasts in Davao.
Never too late to paint
“I stopped teaching yoga when the pandemic broke out,” says Maybelle.
The break gave her a chance to focus on other matters. In moments of stillness, she found herself staring at blank walls. She imagined how a pop of colors could help enhance the scenery at home.
“My husband and I became interested in collecting art after a friend gave us an art piece.” Maybelle also became interested in paintings and contemplated the idea of painting a piece for their wall.
“I never had any formal training in painting. Although, I joined a couple of summer workshops when I young. I just never really took it seriously. With the free time I had because of the pandemic, I was able to take online art classes, practice, and explore this new passion and hobby.”
It turned out to be a positive and nurturing experience for Maybelle, and she found comfort and joy in painting.
“I pour myself into my work every chance I get. Art, for me, is like yoga.”
She adds that art encourages openness and exploration. It’s also about trusting the process and having that discipline and control over the outcome. Ultimately, the flow highlights positivity, hope, and joy.
Maybelle eventually shared her creative journey and some of her completed works on social media. Her flair in art came as a revelation to many and impressed art aficionados.
Soon, friends reached out and commissioned her to paint custom pieces. Her works were also featured as part of the Mindanao Art exhibit in 2021.
Art and about
“I love painting acrylic on canvas. The most challenging for me, I guess, is getting past that ‘ugly stage’ of my process or knowing when a piece is already done.”
Every piece also presents different challenges to an artist. Maybelle has a good recollection of the many firsts which served as learning experiences.
“The 4 x 4 piece entitled ‘See No Evil,’ which I created for the Mindanao Art exhibit, was the first time I ever made and showcased a human face. I thought it would take me forever to make the subject look human.”
“Another one of my memorable pieces is ‘Shadow’s Paradise.’ I had to work around a Balinese theme and marry my style with the owner’s concept and interest.”
“My style continues to evolve as time goes by. There are no boundaries. Right now, I tend to lean towards abstract, surrealism, and impressionism. I also enjoy making portraits.”
You can see more of Maybelle’s works when she joins other creatives in an art show slated to launch in April 2022.