I have to be honest. Going to the museum was an impulsive decision. I just told myself that I would after seeing Beijing2008 by Lui Liu on Facebook. After reading the interpretation of the masterpiece, I just felt like I want to see real artworks and interpret them myself. Hence, the trip. My subject? Spoliarium.
However, it was beyond my imagination that I’m in for something better. Aside from seeing The Parisian Life there, I was exposed to the works of a maestro, who has instantly turned into my biggest inspiration.
Fernando Amorsolo, whose name had been familiar to me since high school, is perhaps one of the most important artists in the history of the Philippines. I’ll leave his biography to Wikipedia (which you can find here) and let me just dwell on what I actually felt as I walk around an entire gallery dedicated to his and his brother’s works.
It is his famous paintings depicting the rural lifestyle of the Filipinos, particularly the women, that caught me first as we entered the room. True to what others say, his creations were better seen in person. The light technique was perfectly applied and every stroke and dab of paint was obviously done carefully and meticulously to create a magnificent masterpiece. In most artworks, it really seemed like there was a spotlight inside the painting. It was astounding.
Take note that I actually have little knowledge about the artist when I went there; so I was really amazed when I saw the portraits. Since I was young, I have always wanted to learn portraiture but since I used to think that I cannot draw, I ended up learning photography to compensate. Well, I enjoyed it; but the frustration remained. And seeing the works of a prime Filipino artist furthered my vexation.
But I should have known that the jealousy I initially felt will eventually turn into something constructive. Because when I came to the part of the gallery where Amorsolo’s sketches and studies were displayed, I felt motivated – like I can actually draw.
Perhaps, it’s how simple and honest the sketches were. Though framed, they were drawn on plain sheets of paper. There were mistakes. There were erasures. The guides were visible. Some even looked like there were just simple fading lines. Anyone who doesn’t know wouldn’t really think that those were from the maestro himself.
Seeing those things in display made me realize that just like any ordinary artist, Fernando Amorsolo started his paintings from scratch. He drew guides and sketches, and then transformed it into breathtaking masterpieces. Like any other artist, he practiced until he mastered it all.
And I guess that’s the biggest factor why when I went to the mall the next day, I bought a sketchpad and some pencils, thinking that I can do it too. Amorsolo had convinced me that practice really makes perfect, and there is no better time to start the drill than as soon as possible.