coloring our journey as artists

red and blue are the colors i associate with all the feelings that welled up in me as we brought ed’s paintings to gsis this week. starting tuesday july 29, my excitement with the paintings was reaching a point when i couldnt sleep, nor eat, nor sit still. i felt i had to do everything while ed was painting, and in between, working in trips to london, cotabato and zamboanga. i primed the canvasses with my inner energies, painted the first layers. ed finished the five canvasses i worked on : the forest, the crucifixion and hope, parakletos mandala , babaylan mandala and urduja ( i signed the last two with ed but people dont know my initials MCV). i also tried doing five themes : womb mandala, nature is our teacher, tuyo and tartuffo, pagtatawid and diaspora dreams but i felt i couldnt match ed’s drawing level and composition so i yielded to being the event organizer of Ed’s solo exhibit.

organizing an art exhibit taught me many lessons . first ,that artists cannot relax, cannot live a normal life until they see all their paintings at the opening moment of their art show. ed was literally a speed worker-painter, he was painting every moment he could squeeze in his work. he was everywhere, flying in mindanao to train Ims for synergeia, travelling to london, travelling to cebu for nea’s training program, going home to naujan to care for inay and writing the book of the villariba clan with me and my siblings!

i had four red hot pots cooking since january – organizing the 60th wedding anniversary of my parents, organizing the villariba book writing and production, getting ed ‘sfirst solo art show and our daughter laraine ‘s 18th birthday in august 20. i told myself, i could do all four but i didnt think i could do excellent multitasking. i had to prioritize what i could do with all my passion and of course, what our budgets could afford. my eyes water everytime i look at the expenses in mounting all four events. i am thankful all three events came beautifully. the opening night brought family, friends and colleagues. i really love my friends who brave the traffic and rains. ed and i share common friends and many came, especially those whom we had not seen for many years in our events but they came. tesda and nea people came even if they had been very busy. but the great honor goes to the three guests who came – national artist napoleon abueva and dra. cherry abueva, daughter amihan and partner jimmy; senator noynoy aquino and gov. grace padaca of isabela.

friends had various remarks with the paintings. my friends in urduja liked the women paintings , from babaylan mandala to tanaga . gie pasalo and marietta goco liked urduja best and they want ed to paint a bigger urduja for pangasinan’s urduja museum. my dearest friends la rainne sarmiento, beth de castro,deng tan and luz martinez loved my portrait ( painted in bicutan 1979) and teased me about the smile illuminating my face ” Ikaw na ikaw”, deng said. ” ang galing” said trygby who came to see if ed really could paint. carla paredes, very smart and chic daughter of merci and joel paredes ” are they online now and can i download them tita girlie ? i really like them”. i promised carla that we would upload better photos of the paintings this week.

rey and hope abella came and played the grand piano. it was great to have the gsis chorale sing at the start and then the two abella artists filled the halls with their music. bobby cruz brought his guitar and sang with the abellas. alex umali came rushing at the last minute and played revolutionary songs and got ed and friends bobbi malay, wingie, et al singing . luz martinez requested a last piano piece – and alex was just too happy to oblige. since the museum was closed, i told them we had to go and plan for another party in boyet and luz’s house in antipolo ” we can sing and drink up to sunrise there” i promised as i tried getting people to go home. art, friends,  music and good food brought memories flooding the night, like an indian summer. i thank everyone who came and those who didn’t make it due to the traffic and the venue’s difficult location. the artshow will run up to august 21st. we wish friends and people will enjoy them before collectors buy them.

ed, ayen and i checked into intercon hotel that night for a good rest . we hope to give ayen a lovely debut party at the end of the month. ed’s cousin tony dela luna, offered to help us and booked a suite for ayen and her friends to enjoy at the end of the month.

august will a feast of colours as we make our journeys as artists -educators.  let me quote Brassai when he wrote about Picasso and the value of colours : ”  Then the man in the blue suit reaches into his pocket and takes out a large sheet of paper, which he carefully unfolds and hands to me. it is covered with Picasso’s handwriting – less  spasmodic, more studied than usual. at first sight, it resembles a poem. twenty or so verses are assembled in a column, surrounded by broad white margins. each verse is prolonged with a dash,occasionally a very long one. but it is not a poem; it is picasso’s most recent order for colours...

And Picasso, reviewing his old comrade-in-arms, gives to each of them a sweep of his pen, a long dash that seems a fraternal salute: “Welcome Persian red! Welcome emerald green! Cerulean blue, ivory black, cobalt violet, clear and deep, welcome! Welcome!”

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