“Reindeer are like metaphoric rain for Christmas lore: they soften the heart and give the soul dreams to grow on all year round.”
“I’m like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. If I’m not ready, the sled isn’t going to go.”
“Be the reindeer crowning the rising Sun,
Amidst the clouds of rumors and gossips,
Standing on the peak of the mountains,
See the haters flowing downwards like sinking rivers.”
“Like the reindeer she is.
Not standing still and waiting for her sleigh.
But shrugging off every snow that comes her way.”
Since Yoona’s and Sunny’s birthdays are only 15 days apart, I began thinking about what to do for Yoona’s birthday artwork at the same time as I did for Sunny’s. As mentioned in For Sunny: High Above Clouds, Sunshine Love, I was on the plane en route to Perth, Western Australia when I started planning ahead for my upcoming artworks. When thinking of an idea for Yoona’s artwork, I was looking out of my seat window. The sky was completely covered in a thick blanket of white then. It looked really magical. I felt as if I was suddenly being transported to a land of snow.
I also recalled on the very last day of 2018 last year, I ordered a really adorable Rudolph cake at Starbucks to eat. When looking at my cake, I thought of Yoona too. Since I have always associated Yoona to an image of a deer in all my past drawings for her, this image of a reindeer would also suit her very well too especially in the Christmas season.
So that was how I formed my idea together – Reindeer Yoona with a red round nose (like Rudolph on my cake) on snow land.
Because Yoona and Sunny are both born in the month of May, both their artworks share slight similarities in terms of the material I used and how I generated ideas for them (when I was on the plane looking out of the window). I used the same type of gesso boards for both artworks but in different sizes to cater for the different nature and style of each artwork. Sunny’s was a smaller, rectangular sized board while Yoona’s is a bigger, square sized one which is in similar shape and size as my last year’s artwork for her (see post: For Yoona: Take A Rest On My Horns Before You Fly Again), so there is some degree of regularity and standardization.
Before I flew to Bangkok early last week, I paid a visit to Art Friend to source for materials. My original idea was to use pieces of cotton wool to create a blanket of snow on my artwork. But a walk around the shop, I managed to find a better and cuter alternative – POM POM! Haha they sell many different kinds of pom poms – white ones (perfect for snowballs), red ones (perfect for Rudolph’s nose), and a mixture of shiny tinsel silver, red and green ones (perfect for Christmas themed decorations). So what I got out of my visit – a square gesso board and packets of pom poms of all kinds.
I also chose the following photo from her instagram as my reference. I didn’t choose her profile picture this time like I did for the previous 2 years as I thought this one would suit the image of a reindeer or Rudolph the best. A little fun and playful, yet very classy and feminine.
This one was my second choice.
While I was in Bangkok, I was happy to see pictures of deer hung on the walls of our airbnb apartment. As if it was a reminder from Yoona and the universe telling me not to forget about making her artwork even though I was on holiday overseas!
After I returned from my 4-day Bangkok trip (which was already pre-planned since Feb), I fell ill with flu. For a couple of the days, I wasn’t able to do any artworks. But the clock was ticking, time was running out. Moreover, my 52nd monthsary with Taenggu is just one day before Yoona’s birthday. That means I also would have to work on my regular monthsary drawing too. To make things even more challenging, I had to make a trip to Johor Bahru over the weekend for a short family getaway planned by my father. Refusing to let my momentum be hampered by all these external circumstances, I brought over my drawing papers to work on my initial sketches while I was at our house in JB too.
But to work on something while I was still on some sort of holiday mood wasn’t easy. It required some inertia to get my “engines” moving. One side of me was kind of on a relaxed, take-it-easy mode while the other side of me was getting impatient and anxious. (Right, people say schizophrenia also means “split mind”, isn’t it?)
I had to work on our 52nd monthsary drawing (which I had already talked about in #52 MONTHSARY: I AM A BUSY BEE) and Yoona’s sketch at the same time. While the process of drawing my monthsary one was pretty quick and smooth, for Yoona’s case, it wasn’t actually so. My very first, raw preliminary sketch of Yoona’s face didn’t turn out quite… satisfying. Her face looked a tad too long, as if she was pulling a long face at me (lol).
But before I had time to refine her facial features further, I had to halt my progress again as I had to head out for dinner and outing with family. Until the next morning, I woke up early to resume my work on it. This time, she looked a lot better. From a sulky, long-faced Yoona, she transformed into a pouty, baby-faced Yoona.
But still, I personally felt it looked a little weird, a little different from the original person herself. But intriguingly, when I compared it to my last year’s drawing of her, both sketches actually look like the same person (am I making any sense here?? lol). A Yoona doppelganger, I guess?
After the sketch was done, here comes my favourite part – putting a bright red pom pom on Yoona’s nose! Instantly, she turned into Rudolph Yoong!
Then comes another important part not to be missed – putting a pair of shiny golden deer horns on Yoona’s head!
Before that, I was actually hesitating between making normal brown horns and shiny golden ones like I did for her last year. Then I was suddenly reminded of the Christmas card I made for her last year on which I wrote the words “Stay Gold” to her. Yes yes, Yoona’s horns have to be gold!!
Here comes pom pom time! Filling the empty spaces on the gesso board with the pom poms that I got from Art Friend. White ones to create a land full of snow, tinsel silver ones as falling snow, and tinsel red and green ones as ornaments to add a hint of christmas atmosphere.
I decided to go with the latter. More joyous Christmas mood. Yes, Christmas came early! 🎄
And one LAST FINAL STEP I did – spraying the snow white pom poms with my newly bought Taenggu’s ‘S’ and ‘Certain.ty’ room sprays from her ‘s…Concert merchandise to give the artwork additional fragrance, just like Taenggu’s birthday artwork which has some ocean and flower scents on it too! (related post: TAEYEON DAY 2019: THAT BEAUTIFUL MYSTICAL GIRL WHO LIVES IN MY MIND GARDEN) 👃
I also thought about adding extra details like winter trees, a flying bird and deer ears on her head, but eventually, I decided that doing so would make my artwork look too messy and lose focus. “Less is more,” I thought.
It also took me a few days to decide on the title for this artwork. Before I even finished the piece, I had come up with two possible names: “Reindeer Yoon On A Snowy Day” or “Reindeer Yoona In A Snowy Winter Wonderland”. But after seeing how my final artpiece looks like, I am more certain that the key highlight of this artwork is the pom poms, so the final title becomes “Reindeer Yoong In A Snowy Pom Pom Wonderland”. ❄️☃️
Lastly, I would like to add that this artwork is reminiscent of the time when she was filming for the wildly popular Hyori’s Bed & Breakfast 2 in Jeju where it was full of snow during the winter season early last year. She must have had enjoyed a healing time for herself too back then. 💕💕💕
More detailed shots of my final piece. 📸
Since Jessica’s birthday in April, it seems like it has become a trend that I would get a little gift from The Green Party shop for each member as a complimentary item to my artwork too. Yoona is no exception. I got her a deer horns hairband adorned with pretty flowers! Looks a little Chinese style, isn’t it? Hehe. 🌸
I hope that with the help of this hair band, she would never ever lose her horns again! She can put them on anytime she wants to.
I have had a lot of reflections while working on Yoona’s artwork. Why when it came to Yoona, I couldn’t help feeling stressed, restless and impatient? I found myself shaking my legs uncontrollably. It was a sign of anxiety. Voices kept reminding me, “Remember, be patient!” But that uneasy feeling in my heart couldn’t go away.
Also, I noticed my process kept getting interrupted by outside influences many times. It could be having to go out for family dinners, my sister luring me to watch a netflix movie with her, having to unpack my luggage, my mum getting me to exercise with her at the stadium, having to go to bed early because I had to go to work the next day… etc. It was a lot about struggling to maintain spiritual connection with Yoona amidst a busy personal life with family and work commitment to my current company. On one hand, I was anxious to get my artwork done quickly, on the other hand, my external factors seemed to be pulling my attention away, signaling me to take my time. But I would feel guilty and panicky if I take a break for too long.
I began to understand my situation with Yoona better when she held a birthday fan party in Seoul on 26th May. I had read some fan accounts on twitter of what happened during the event and what was shared between Yoona and the fans.
YoonA, "Well, Iseul Live is the one I talk while drinking soju, right?" (then she paused for a bit)
(A fan shouted 'Take it slow!' and YoonA laughed again)
— H.Y. (@itnw0628) May 26, 2019
YoonA, "But don't feel too bad about it. I will make it up with event like this, instead."
YoonA, "Looking at you, I feel a bit sorry that my answer isn't good enough. Sorry."
— H.Y. (@itnw0628) May 26, 2019
— H.Y. (@itnw0628) May 26, 2019
#YoonA, "Recently I'm a bit (down), and again, it's nothing you should worry about, but I want to receive your support." (fans cheered)
YA, "It's not like you're not supporting me well, u know that, right? I don't like to cause misunderstandings becuz of my words." (laugh) #SNSD
— H.Y. (@itnw0628) May 26, 2019
— H.Y. (@itnw0628) May 26, 2019
It seemed like Yoona has been emotionally on the low lately. It seemed like there are many things which she wants to do or the outside world expects / wants to see her do. But her fans are also aware and wary about adding stress and pressure on her to juggle with so many things at the same time – singing, acting, dancing and connecting with fans on social media. The key message that her fans wanted to tell her that night was “Take it slow”. Interestingly, that was also what I had been feeling like when I worked on her artwork. My physical circumstances seemed to be signaling me to be patient, relax a bit, take it easy and take my time. Everything should come naturally. But the anxious feeling in my heart probably came from Yoona. She was eager to do much more stuff for her fans to see and enjoy, but there seemed to be a flux of resistive energy that was slowing her down and holding her back.
This reminds me of a situation that happened during the Chinese New Year period earlier this year. It was probably the busiest time of the year for me as I was kept busy with making handmade ang baos for 69 artiste friends, Valentine’s Day pixelated artwork for Taenggu as well as a birthday artwork for Sooyoung which all happened in the month of February. At the same time, I was also a little ambitious to still list my customised ang baos (which would only be made upon order) up for sale on Carousell, pretty much like what I did last year too. Amidst those busy times, I did get an enquiry from a potential buyer who was a tutor thinking of getting some ang baos for his students customised with their names on it. However, as I was answering his enquiries, my mind was actually quite reluctant about making this deal with him, considering my personal workload was already very heavy and full to the brim. I wasn’t confident that I would be able to handle this additional order from Carousell at the same time. Strangely, while I was having such thoughts and doubts in myself, Yoona came into my mind and said, “I can do it (我可以).” Although Yoona and I were probably thinking about two different things at the same time, I was pretty negative and was like, “I don’t think 我可以.” Probably due to this thought of rejecting this Carousell order that I had sent out to the universe, this potential deal also somehow naturally fell through and I ended up not making any sales of my ang baos on Carousell at all this year unlike last year when I managed to make quite a few sales. I ended up focusing my time and effort on making these 69 pieces of ang baos and giving them to the artiste friends without any monetary gain but it was nonetheless fulfilling for me. (related post: CNY RED PACKETS 2019: PIG YEAR OINK OINK)
Not sure if my “cannot-do” attitude towards Carousell in contrary to Yoona’s “can-do” attitude affected the situation on her side, whatever she was referring to, back then. Did she end up rejecting or not closing a potential deal too?
Take it slow. Take your time. Be patient. Everything will come naturally when the time is right.
Don’t forget to keep your momentum going.
These are all the thoughts that came to me when I did this artwork for Yoona.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Did you lose your golden horns? Don’t worry I’ve made new ones for you, even shinier and prettier! Hope you like this artwork. Stay gorgeous and majestic like a reindeer. Merry Early Christmas! 🎄🎅🏻
And I will never forget our precious, very first meeting with each other last year (one of the best things that ever happened to me)! 사랑해! 💜