I would look at those photographs and just fall in love with them – particularly on still life with floral subjects. There was this one edition authored by an American female artist who picked fresh roses, arranged them on a vase and quickly painted them before the petals wither. I do not remember her name anymore. I reproduced one of her works. I did my best to copy it down to the last detail. There was a drop of water on the white petal but when I restored the painting a decade later, I have forgotten to put it back. The one below is my very first oil painting done more than twenty years ago and still hangs in my family’s ancestral home.
From another Walter Foster book is a painting of flowers that are of great similarity to Carnation cuttings. The vase is a traditional glazed pot widely used in the Philippines. I remember refining the details and strokes more than what is visible from the photograph. I also added more highlights and shadows to make it more vibrant. I made the painting as a gift of love to Severina Kasilag Francisco, a most beautiful person and fine lady greatly loved by all those who knew her. My reproduction hanged in her living room for twelve years until she passed away in the year 2000. It has been a witness to the many stories that have been shared in that living room. Still in its original wooden frame that I bought in 1988 at Bacolod City, the painting is now a memory lane by itself.
While looking for old magazines one day, I found a pile of canvass covered with dust. One of them had pencil sketches of a bouquet. I remember wanting to paint it as a wedding present to my sister, Cristina. Shortly after the wedding, she would live abroad with her husband. It was a busy time. I designed a fully beaded wedding gown for her which mother wonderfully put together. The list of preparations never seem to end. While in the midst of all the chaos and excitement, I got a job which included a lot of travel. It was a good time for everyone. We were all young, hopeful, and healthy.
The pencil sketch on canvass was done just halfway from completion. Maybe if I could find enough paint, I could spend the whole day to finish it. And I did.
Finally, I can show you an original fine art done with no photograph or reference to copy from. By instinct, I used an impressionist style. I used less linseed for the opaque look and opted for palette knives and flat brushes. When completely dried up, I rubbed oil pastel (crayons) to add texture.
I like the challenge of reproduction because it takes some technical discipline to apply the same strokes and hues. However, doing an original piece gives me the freedom to experiment and do as I please.
I have mentioned to my family and friends that someday, when I retire, I would live in a small cottage surrounded by a bed of blooms throughout the year. Let time stand still – I can paint for love the rest of my days.