ALEX Chan sat down, picked up a Chinese paintbrush, immersed the tip in water, then dipped it in watercolor from a mixing plate and with quick strokes finished a bamboo painting in seconds. He picked up another sheet and with swift movements composed a Chinese orchid before moving to the next paper, where he finished a landscape painting with a waterfall.

The three demo artworks were done in less than ten minutes. If he wasn’t explaining the methodology, he could have done the trio easily under two.


Or so I thought. Not until I picked up the brush that I realized that two hours was not enough for my fingers to get acquainted with the brush. More so, learn the tricks of the wrist to achieve an acceptable single stroke.

More time is needed, and I needed that spark of passion. Patience, which is not a virtue of mine, is also a must. It’s quite clear that to master the brush one must master patience.

Patience was what the teachers in the room were exuding, from the patriarch himself, Chan Lim, his family, Alex included, and the students. There were 25 of them, all accomplished artists who are in town for the Chan Lim Mid-Autumn Art Festival.

This is the fifth time the Chan Lim family of artists and students flew in to hold an exhibit at the SM Lanang Premier.

“Every year, we have a different theme and we aim to make the exhibit bigger and better,” said Alex.

Last year’s Davao mall show, which had 330 artworks, centered on lanterns.

This year, the hand-painted fans will highlight the exhibit. Of the 340 paintings, 200 are fans and the rest are on scrolls, canvas and a porcelain jar (this year’s piece de resistance by Chan Lim entitled “Four Beautiful Women”).

It’s a special time for the family. Chan Lim is celebrating his 80th birthday this year, and on that note, Alex said the artworks will be exhibited in eight cities, seven in the Philippines and one in the USA. Davao is the 7th stop and the General Santos show will culminate the exhibit run.

“Davao has a special place in my dad’s heart and he is quite fond of the Philippine eagle that’s why he’s donating P20,000 to the foundation as part of his celebration,” Alex said.

I could have joined the 500 other soon-to-be-masters in the atrium the Chan Lim family and students are mentoring, but opted to admire the artworks on display. My love affair with the paintbrush might just happen, who knows?

What of my first bamboo painting? My mentor, Janice Azarias, said I was a quick learner. That’s certainly a compliment from someone who shocked me with her exhibited artworks I marked as my favorites.

Shocked because I always browse for pieces that appeal to me before I look at the artist’s name. A couple of Janice’s pieces certainly popped up from the array.

How to be you, Chan Lim family and students?

The Chan Lim Mid-Autumn Art Festival at the atrium of the SM Lanang Premier will run until September 16.


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