Wet strokes

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Monday, February 17, 2014


WATERCOLOR may seem elementary at first glance. Well, one cannot be blamed if one initially thinks that watercolor is an easy-to-handle art media, considering that it was almost a requisite in most art projects in grade school.

Yet to come up with a truly thought-provoking art work done in watercolor, one would have to possess not just the skill in using water and tints but also the patience to prepare the work itself.

Creating the different effects in watercolor entails specific techniques and the right sensitivity of the hand to manipulate different brushes. But Surigao-born painter Katherine Paler-Rivera finds this somewhat tedious hobby interesting.

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“I have tried almost everything from pencil, pen and ink, to chalk pastel and acrylic but I fell in love with watercolor the most. And I’m now trying to master this one,” she says. She also tried her hand at coffee and cocoa painting, which are as interesting as watercolor.

WOMANHOOD oil on canvas by Katherine Paler-Rivera
WOMANHOOD oil on canvas (Katherine Paler-Rivera's last college painting) 2005. (Contributed photo)


She remembers that it was her father who ignited her love for painting. It was the canvas that was given to her as a birthday gift that started it all, she says. “It was a way of calming my kind of rebellious teen life back then,” she recalls.

From then on, Katherine went into full-artist mode, painting fascinating and beautiful images of nude women and babies as well as flowers. She does this today whenever she wants to relax after a busy week.

After earning her diploma in painting arts at the University of San Carlos (USC) in 2005, it was a grand homecoming for this artist.

Together with some generous people, she organized her first solo painting exhibit in her hometown. It was held at the Surigao Heritage Museum.

Her latest exhibit happened just last year in a friend’s newly opened café, “Bintana,” in Elizabeth Pond near Redemptorist Church, Cebu. Katherine feels grateful for all these opportunities to showcase her artworks and hear people say that they get inspiration from them.

She is just channeling inspiration from the ones that she got from her mentors, now colleagues in the Fine Arts faculty of USC. She also acknowledges famous international artists like Georgia O’Keefe, Salvador Dali, Picasso and what she referred to as the Renaissance men (the “ninja turtles”). These personalities, she says, challenges her to be a better artist.

Her watercolor paintings show her years of practice and all-out passion for the art. Overcoming the tedious preparations for the painting, unleashing those colorful strokes on the blank canvas or paper and then finding satisfaction and refuge in the work are moments to cherish in a true-blue artist’s life. For this artist, watercolor is not a hard art media to handle but a flexible one to depict different, colorful and interesting images around her.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 18, 2014.

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