On a rare occasion you may just make me speechless. In my 28 years and more recently the last five years I have caught my self speechless so on far these three occasions:
~in a fight
~in a really sweet compliment
~in an indecent proposal
Today, I add one more to the list that makes me speechless:
~in an uncalled for opportunity
Sometimes despite the noise I am surrounded with or the absence of silence I mentally retreat from everything and go inside a room with parquet floors and wood grain vinyl walls. In this room I am eight again and I walk towards a wooden study table and pull a drawer and start picking a piece of oslo papers and a brush. I pull down the foldable table and sit down. Then as i grip the paintbrush and wet the tip with water I am brought back to my present surroundings and my room vanishes only to reappear again later.
Yes, I used to paint using watercolors, dry and oil pastels, tempera. And I used to draw using charcoal, colored pencils, crayons, and silverpoint. I had stacks of papers of landscapes, still life, and abstracts. While other children enjoy playing with dolls and patintero
I was contented painting and drawing. When discovered calligraphy I was mesmerized that I could make beautiful letters and numbers compared to a typewriter. My brushes and paints were my closest friends because they open up a different rabbit hole that I can explore at my own pace without the rushing and without forcing.
I wanted to learn from the best painters in the country. I dreamt people would look and be captivated to explore the rabbit holes that I have seen and been. These art works calmed the tempest moods in me and the I felt unique and special like Tanduay Girl and 3rd Mate. Being middle and invisible to my parents eyes and affection didn't matter when I am bent down mixing colors and my sure strokes hide the whiteness of the paper.
One December family reunion, I noticed a small painting on the wall of my uncle's house. It was a still life and the paint looked fresh and wet. We were taught not to touch things without permission but I couldn't contain myself and my small fingers reached up to touch it and was surprised to discover the paint was actually dry. I asked my uncle if I could hold the painting and he brought it down for me to look more closely at. I stared at it for a long time, my eyes exploring every inch of the painting. I asked if I can touch it and he said yes. My fingers slowly touched the the painting try to feel every bump and enjoying the texture of it. That was the day I fell in love with oil and was excited to explore it. It had no rabbit holes it was a movement of color and strokes that can bring me very far.
On the way home I asked if I they can please buy me a canvas and oil paint. I was told that those were expensive and that I should consider some other hobby because painting doesn't feed. If I become a painter I would surely be hungry, I was told. When we got home, my paint, my brushes, my pens, my papers were removed and thrown. No more painting, no more drawing, no more rabbit holes.
Eight years after, I was bent over with a scalpel on my right hand and a Kelly forceps on my left. As I made the first cut on the abdomen of the frog I paused to check if my sleeping frog was bleeding, the lab work required that no blood vessel be severed in order for us to watch the heart pump blood to all blood vessels. My professor peered at my work, "Good. Carry on." I bent over again and whispered to my frog my gratitude for his sacrifice. I was about to go out of the room after lab when he stopped me with a question, "Do you paint?" I whispered I did. He nodded and said that explains my wrist and steady hands.
Today I visited my foster parents and was greeted with tall canvases. I stopped at the first canvas and said that this is a beautiful watercolor landscape. My foster dad looked at me surprised but pleased. He said that he wanted me to meet the painter and there I met in person Siegfredo Rosales Galan
. A half painted canvas was in front of him and we both looked at it. A single word escaped my lips, "Oil".
I felt Mr. Galan's eyes watching my face and after a couple of minutes he said "Yes. Would you want to learn? I can teach you."
I looked at him incredibly a thousand words and a thousand fears sprang in me but I could not say a word.