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Posts Tagged ‘visual’

It’s like a white plate.

Soiled and you try to wash it afloat

with suds of soap and rinse repeatedly

at the sink.  Letting it dry and wait

until the film of water subsides down

into its gleamy surface. You try to contain

the glister.  The immaculateness of being 

unbroken, unsplintered.  Fragile.

 

It’s like a white paper.

Someone will throw dots and smears.

Smudges  and graphite dusts messed up

into your  page and jag the lines into visual noise.

But then, an eraser is a confident friend,

swiping them all.  Albeit,  the indentation

marks a heavy trace on the heart. Not quite

visible at the distance, I know.

 

You didn’t notice how I try to write the lines.

Ambiguous as it seems, indirect in its approach.

You think flaws are the darkness of the soul, but wait-

it isn’t that way you know, though. For in it you hope.

You dream.  You strive to become the light.

You seek to define the completeness of your whole,

unwavering  and uncompromised to the mold-

the dictates of the common.

 

No matter how broken it may get, the mosaic

of the plate is still a creation on a canvas.

No matter how crumpled the paper was,

someone will see it as a great work of art.

You try to accept the way you live your reality,

where living doesn’t stop there, it’s in how

you would be able to discover something new.

A difference you can call your own.

 

It’s like a white space.

When the horizon of doubt blurs

the line that separate you from immortality.

And all you see is your own lightness

that no shadow would keep you

stalled towards your destiny.

There,  you would know that peace

is the only way to move on.

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Musically Challenged

I have always wanted to learn how to play the piano.  It is one of the things in my bucket list that I am compelled to do, fulfilling the goals I have set several years ago, but so elusive that I never found the proper time and place to learn it.  Even if I tried planning to pursue a piano class, it was set aside due to my regular work schedules.  A couple of musician and keyboardist friends tried to convince me to study piano and even told me that they can pitch in to teach me, but I was left waiting and wondering when will be the time they had the energy to do so.

It is a good thing that out of their kindness, they promised.  But that is enough already, and it has led me to nothing.  I have progressed to nothing when it comes to learning piano.  And for now, the eagerness and my determination to learn how to play the piano grew stronger and stronger everyday.  I am so excited imagining how many piano pieces I could be able to play, leisurely at ease.  Of symphonies, orchestra pieces, musical pieces, overtures, preludes and many more waiting there for me to explore.  A daunting challenge for me to know musicology.  I am not contented of merely being purely vocal.  I have an inner need to express more my musicality even further, realizing the inner melodies I have kept humming throughout all these years.

Some maybe surprised to know that I have the ability to compose songs of my own, while riding a cab or a bus.  I am getting inspirations straight from the vibratory rhythms of the car wheels and infusion of surrounding background noises from the street.  The melodies are still fresh on my mind, even if it was long, long time ago, since its very inception. A germination of the musical idea derived through the exploration of our senses.

They say, when a song has been born out from you through your everyday experiences and you still remember them, they are meant to be revealed, creatively shared and exposed for public enjoyment.  Artists had their unique lifestyle – a life of producing and honing their art for expression.  They have also a need for expressing their sublime thoughts, may it be in the form of music, visual art or creative writing.

I don’t believe, when somebody says that a person has a gift for so and so.  In my personal opinion, art can be learned. Talents can be  nurtured gradually through the influences in the environment, or  an individual’s ingrained perceptiveness to their environment and a by-product, or a consequence of an individual’s current life situations, circumstances and past influences. 

I also don’t believe in the notion that one has to spend a considerable amount of time in actually learning an art. Although it might have some merits. The length of time is not a measure how one can evolve eligibly to be called an artist.  Everyone, no matter what their ages may be, have the chance to become artists of their own right, for as long as they have the determination to decode their abilities to express themselves through art. There is no doubt that they will eventually succeed.

Artists are governed by the inner satisfaction they get while genuinely expressing their thoughts through their art.  Artists are governed by the truthfulness of their artistic expression sans the dictates of the prevailing trends,  norm or standards.  Having said that,  most of the celebrated pseudo-artists are merely egotistically bloated and widely publicized musical figures, just for the sake of personal advertisement and cheap breed of entertainment for profit.

True artists of our time are the ones who are hiding away from the spotlight and have chosen to disassociate themselves from the commercialization of the art. True artists, therefore, are the ones who are sticking their hands to the originality and authenticity of their artistic output. In one way or the other, they  might find themselves in the future, being hailed as originators of a new art movement,  a paradigm shift to the art scene.

So, don’t be surprised. I actually mapped it out, this time. I have listed down the things that I will do when I  have learned how to play the piano. Possibilities are endless.  I might have a new song for the choir to sing.  I might have a new song that I can play when celebrating an occasion, and the need for some light music arises.  I might have a recital to be witnessed in a concert hall by a selected few.  The grandest of these plans, might be penning an opera or a musical play to the likes of Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Chess etc.

These lingering thoughts, get me so excited as I imagine my fingers traversing piano keys and weaving some beautiful melodies.  It is a fulfillment that I think, would go beyond compare and can possibly exceed my limitations. It is a lifelong dream, bordering reality.  Soon,  and positively achievable.

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I skipped my regular routine attending church services in the morning that Friday.  A week ago, I have already informed our pastor that I plan to attend the Industrial Area church service instead in the evening.  I also missed out our church choir practice that night, which I am so sad about. 

We braved the dusty road leading to Industrial Area. When we have arrived at the place, it was a regular accommodation building intended for company workers.  The road leading to the building is quite notorious with potholes and mountain of construction debris on the side.   We reach the worship place after winding up seven staircases worth of our stamina, of climbing the steps. The place of worship is located in the rooftop.  About 24 sq.m. approximately, capable of seating around 20 people, right there along with the clothesline of wet laundry left out to dry.

The truth is, I am not expecting it.  Of all places, to hold a church service.  A rooftop towering over other rooftops of factory buildings in the midst of desert wind and the usual darkness of the evening.  I am used to attending house of worship with the comfort of sheltering oneself against the external elements, such as rain, heat and dry wind.  That night is a wake up call.  Believers are called upon to honor the Sabbath, wherever, whenever and whatever it takes.  Be it under the shade of the tree, or under the canopy of the bridge, or an open field. 

I am deeply humbled by the fact that here in the wide stretch of the desert, away from the comforts of the homeland, people who are disciplined in faith, are braving the routinary grind of their overseas life, partially isolated to the urban centers.   This is mission’s work,  a life dedicated to the cause of bringing the Gospel to the far reaches of places.  Administering the continuous flow of the message and strengthening people’s faith in God.

I admire my pastor, who is a missionary himself, for the kind of passion he have for the lost  souls and bringing them all to Christian faith.   His silent ways are a steady yet constant reminder that complacency has no place in Christian service.  Believers are ought to steer clear of their comfort zones, sacrificing time and effort for building up Christ’s work and taking upon each the individual God’s calling in putting into action all the Christian training they have learned.

I admire my friend Grace, who chose to become a full-time missionary, while administering translation of the gospel to the native tounges of the tribes among the hinterlands of Mindanao and Luzon back home.  She already had the chance to go to India, for some introductory mission’s work as part of her trainings.

Sometimes, it is a pity, when I hear myself, complaining about being so tired to get up early in the morning to begin my morning prayers.  Sometimes, it is a pity, when I see myself, scrambling over reading best-sellers in the night rather than having a bible reading of a chapter or two. Now it occured to me, that what I am doing for the kingdom is not enough.  Christian life calls for able and willing men of faith to stand up and do the work.  Whatever the circumstances may be or a situation they are in. 

The next time, I will go to the Industrial Area to have my Friday church service there.  I need to listen to what God is saying to me, visually.

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Munad is the inverted name for “danum”, which in Ilocano (a Northern Philippine dialect) means water.  Under Iwag Palattao’s direction alongside with Dato, a Baguio resident artist, they formed a visual artist group of five which included myself.  I am the youngest and the least talented, and I don’t have that great artistic talent to venture out, other than just scribbling line figures.

Julius, a great friend I remember, the leader of Munad, approached me that time and asked if I am interested to join the group.  I was taken aback. Because, in my opinion, I am not inclined to visual arts. I said I am more into creative writing stuff. He said I can try and learn from there.

The next thing I know is that I was being introduced to a bunch of bohemian looking guys. Their eyes poring at me as if they are reading something. You know artists, they have a keen interest in observing things and personalities. I think, they are filtering me through that yardstick.  If I can truly express myself artistically, in visual artform.

Then Iwag, proposed for a group exhibit that was slated then to be mounted in two month’s time.  Each of us, are required to produce five visual painting pieces, either realistic or an abstract. I chose the latter. I came up with five, but only allowed to mount three.  They said the other two lacks depth of subject.

I remember the night before the opening of the exhibit, when I was asked to gather some dried leaves in the middle of the night. I hesitated at first but eventually I obliged.  That was the time, I felt that something has been stripped off out of me in the name of the arts. And the dawning of my free-spirited life occured.

I gathered a sackfull. Of dried leaves. Then Iwag, upon seeing me carrying it, grinned. Yeah, I think, he is also thinking about my initiation. Like in a fraternity. Then, I gave it to him and watch him fashioned it out on the museum floor along with sand and rice grain to form like a Japanese rock garden. I was speechless.  I can’t believe right before my very eyes an artist who can weave art like magic out of what can be considerd rubbish. It was awesome.

Then over the years, Munad goes on in mounting two more group exhibits.  And it somehow, lifted my self-esteem.  I was so thrilled looking at people stopping by my paintings and staying there for some minutes. What a joy to see, people interacting and discussing their thoughts over the paintings as if it is like a case study in contrast. And what more fulfilling it is, in actually explaining the meaning of your paintings over a group of artistic and intellectual people.  That was an experience no other.

That was the golden time for arts in Tarlac, when Tingting Cojuangco is still the governor of the province. She espouses the flourishing of arts in Tarlac by opening up Museo de Tarlac for painting exhibits and the like. Festivities are being held. Musicals like “Alikabok” had been staged at Diwa ng Tarlak. And there was a mobile museum doing the rounds in the barrios for people to experience visual arts closer to them.

One time, an uncle told me, that he was surprised that I am into painting through one of those mobile musem exhibits.  He is the driver of that mobile van.  And I can sense how proud he is touring my painting around the province and telling stories about me as his nephew.

That was the time, I produced a number of paintings over summers of each year. I had some paintings donated after that. Some are displayed at the university.  Some are in the government offices.  Some are with my trusted friends.  The mother of all my paintings was with Gerardo. I knew he is displaying it in his home.

I must say, when Julius approached me then, its like a water drop in my sleeping universe.  I never knew that this single invitation that I  accepted has created trickles and trickles of water until my consciousness towards arts grew like a river. And other artforms ensued. Poetry, university campus writing, theater, installation art, photography and this time blogging.

True to the form, Munad has been so symbolic to me in many ways.  It has opened myself to a lot of things. It has ushered me into that door of self-discovery. That I can be capable of doing something if I will just try and not afraid of failing. And the many waters of inspiration has quenched my desire to express myself creatively. 

I owe it a lot to my Munad group, though some of them are stationed in parts of the world, I know that there will come a time that the water droplets (as they are) will be gathered and create another wave from the rivers of beautiful inspirations of art.

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