Catch the children at play

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Monday, February 24, 2014


RUEL ROSELLO'S artworks seem to sell well even before the he can put the last line on his paintings, the last dab of color.

A newcomer as professional artist, Rosello, a photographer for Sun.Star Cebu, has always been into art, even if he “strayed” into electrical engineering in college, and into photography as a profession after college. He has worked as a professional photographer for the past 15 years, the last 13 of which had been with Sun.Star.

Painting, actually, has been a sideline pursuit for Rosello since his childhood. In grade school at the Holy Rosary School, he was always the one called to do whatever artwork the class needed. And in high school, he was consistently named Artist of the Year. His artistic bent has always been with him, even when he turned to photography as his means of livelihood.

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It was his work with Sun.Star, covering art exhibits, that he struck friendships with some of the artists he covered, notably Carly Florido and Publio Briones and they invited him to visit their studios about two years ago, when he decided to take up painting again. He was also mentored by Ramon de Dios and Mar Vidal for traditional—that is, realistic—painting. He joined the art group they belong to, the Portrait Society of the Philippines (PSP). His first group exhibit was with PSP, and his painting was among the first to be sold, along with Romulo Galicano’s
Speaking of his modern art, Rosello says this started after Celso Pepito asked him to make a documentary film entry for Sinulog 2013, which was awarded the best documentary about Pepito’s paintings titled “Cubismo.” After that, he relates: “I was encouraged to paint, focusing on children.

For me it’s a blessing if I paint using children as my subject because it is related to the Santo Niño. Children have become the focus of my modern paintings because children are our hope. They are the trademark of my modern art.” He has a series of children at play with traditional Filipino games like luthang, buwan-buwan, sabong sa kaka and skipping rope. For Christmas 2013, he had a series of children as carolers. Rosello has also exhibited with the Cebu Artists Inc.
PSP artists, Rosello points out, are traditional and into realism. For this group, his paintings are oil on canvas. CAI artists, on the other hand, are more into modern painting and for this group, Rosello paints in acrylic on larger canvases. His works here are more conceptual and somehow skewed, with the subjects having large eyes, distorted limbs and even trees are distorted.

So far, he has sold three (meaning all) of his traditional paintings and six of his modern works. The last to be sold was his “Buwan-buwan” for Artabang, which was actually snapped up before it was even displayed because the art buyer saw it when he was delivering it to the exhibit hall.

Asked if he is going to give up photography, Rosello says no. Photography, he says, helps him in the choice of subjects which makes it possible for him to transfer his ”still life to canvas.” His skills in photography, he adds, can be used in his paintings. After all, photography is equally an art.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 25, 2014.

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