After running a desktop publishing shop from 1994-2000 doing graphic design and printing, I got married and focused my attention to building a career out of web designing. In the process of building my “sample” website to test my web design skills I recently acquired, a new opportunity manifested right in front of me – to design and make wedding invitations. That’s how I got involved with a social enterprise and became an advocate for the promotion of Filipino handmade products in the context of fair trade and sustainability. I was active in the wedding invitation industry promoting our eco-friendly handmade paper invitations for 13 years.
Making invitations while raising a family for the last 12 years made me want to do something else. It was in 2013 that I had this strong urge to paint. I’ve always wanted to paint and I started in 1990 before entering college but I stopped due to the demands of the course. I didn’t get paints on my hands in 2012 but I did get sticky hands because the hundred of handmade collage wallets and passport jackets I made and sold locally and abroad.
In March 2014, as a birthday gift to myself, I enrolled online on sketching and painting girls in boots during watercolor. I never put down the paintbrush again.
I’m not the kind of person who’d settle especially in my craft. After making hundreds of “watercolor girls”, the entrepreneur in me thought it would be nice to make a 2015 Calendar with motivational quotes for each month. I offered my custom portraits as well as unique gifts for Christmas. My work got the attention of the Editor-in-Chief of a nationwide daily.
This year, I started to dabbled in mixed media especially art journaling and am beginning to translate my artwork as designs for handmade paper wallets and stationery.
1. What’s your medium of choice and what do you love about it?
I can’t pick one of these two since they kind of balance my energy depending on the mood I’m in so I’ll say its watercolour and acrylic. I love the the “light feel” watercolour gives me and how I can just be playful if I want to. Watercolour is quite unpredictable that can lead to happy accidents. It allows me to relax when I paint loosely (like in my traveler’s notebook/illustrated journaling). At the same, it also gives me that certain level of control (I’m quite OC) if I paint custom portraits. Acrylic, on the other hand, is like my “cheat day” when my fingers feel tired of the controlled movement I do in watercolor. I am allowed to get messy, do finger-painting, experiment and explore. I use it mostly on my art journals.
2. What are you working on right now? What’s on your camera/desk/easel or in your studio?
I just finished an art journal spread I titled “Home” and now I’m creating more for my first Art Journaling Workshop together with a friend on August 30. They also serve another purpose – I digitise and use them as designs for my line of handmade paper wallets, journals and other handmade paper products. It still feels surreal when I see my art journal pages used as a cover for a journal or paper wallet.
3. What practices/activities are most valuable to your creative process?
Working from home can be quite claustrophobic for me! I have a once a week “date-with-myself” at a nearby cafe or anywhere where my mood wants to take me. I eat good food and a cup a tea to cap off my lunch while reading a good book on art. Sometimes I bring my traveler’s notebook and do illustrated journaling. I think the slow and quiet time that I get to savour at least once a week recharges my creative soul.
I also need to make something creatively each day whether it be a small watercolour painting or gesso-ing my art journal page at the least! Making art each day is like taking my vitamin supplements!
4. What’s one thing you want to share with others about your art and/or process?
That we are ALL creative. We just have to tap in on whatever creative project is calling us and give it a try. It becomes a passion then if we MAKE time (not just finding time) to pursue it.
If you’ve always wanted to paint but don’t know how, start by getting a paintbrush and paint first, and by all means, paint away. Take workshops, read blogs, watch YouTube. Be consistent. Be gentle with yourself. Every artist was once an amateur.
5. What advice would you give to your young artist self?
Have the courage to pursue your passion and work hard to become a better version of yourself than yesterday.
I took up Computer Science in college because it was the “the” course that will take me to places and give me a stable income. I was just starting to paint the summer before entering college but I stopped. It took me 24 years to pick up the paintbrush again because of that nagging voice inside my head that I can’t draw other than stick figures and I have never put the paintbrush down since then.
Inspired by Airees?
Want to know when the next sketch is posted?