Juvenalia #2 (circa 1995)

Posted: April 4, 2007 in All and Sundry, Art Attacks, Musings, Stumbled Upon


bringing the dolls (oil on canvas 1995)

during the time i was sieving through the stacks of pack rat mementos (which i have written about in the past entry), i mentioned that i was surprised to discover some possessions i have which i thought i have totally discarded or lost. this picture of a painting i did back in 1995, when i was still a visual arts newbie, learning (specifically) painting, caught my attention and my “oh so” nostalgic heart.

the thing is, this is the only picture i have of my juvenalia works as a beginner, may it be oil, multimedia, installation or assemblage.

i realized that i can’t even recall where this painting is now. most of my works were lost into oblivion. some i peddled for a few measly hundred pesos just so i could have extra allowance for cigarettes and other things a teenage college student like me needed. the other works, i think, i gave away to friends on a whim for two reasons: (a) i was fond of them (b) i couldn’t afford to buy them a gift on their birthdays. then again, most of the still life oil paintings i did turned to ashes when one gloomy conflict ridden day, i threw them in the compost pit and made a bonfire out of them. all because i had a huge fight with my mother. ( of which the cause i couldn’t even remember to this day)

my close to obsessive love for oil painting was a fleeting mess. i painted almost every week back in 1995. i even slept with my canvas and easel beside my bed and the oils scattered on the floor, and literally got addicted to the smell of paint thinner and linseeds as it was almost like i constantly wanted a daily fix.

but everything, all my love for painting, was eventually overshadowed by the love for words as i surrendered myself to learning the rigors of writing. of course, there were other factors that contributed to the demise of my passion. when my art teacher/mentor left for new york, i felt like i had lost an anchor and was floating to nowhere. then the art group, “endhouse artists” as we called it, in which i belonged suddenly disbanded due to unforseen political bickerings. (aaah, that was a wonderful memory. we literally put up a gallery all by ourselves.) i then was left with a choice to leave a world of visuals for good and settled with another world of weaving words on paper.

bringing the dolls as some of you might have guessed by now is a homage to merlie alunan’s poem of the same title. if i may recall correctly, this painting was exhibited in an arts festival entitled mugna. incidentally, it was during that festival that i met the late santi bose (artist extraordinairre) and feminist artist brenda fajardo.

looking at this painting now makes me cringe. the technique is very questionable. there’s no trace of an understanding of color theory. i remember jutsze pamate once lecturing to me about cezanne’s technique in a passionate droll while i nodded intermittently to appear like i understood everything he said. of course, it was only later that i realized cezanne’s technique needed more practice. and i was an impatient teenager.

what is so laughable about this piece is the composition itself. 🙂 if i were to grade myself today, i’d probably give a failing mark in oil painting and then tell myself to just do something with found objects. *guffaw* then again, who can fault a newbie? a wide-eyed artist wannabe like me who at 18 really just wanted to create art because it was “cool.”

self-deprecation aside, in retrospect, those days when i was into visual arts were the most intensely happy moments of my life. i WAS myself. the process of creating beautiful ugly things with my hands felt the same as dancing in a trance.

even weaving words couldn’t top that.

  1. thispanic says:

    juvenalia schmuvenalia! this painting is eerie and beautiful, look at how those faceless dolls levitate around her, eerie! that friend of yours who owns this now is damn lucky! i love this one gyud mam from the moment you showed the picture to me. more painting materials should be swept your way…

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