Bright and optimistic: Sarah del Rosario’s paintings to benefit sick kids

The first thing one notices when gazing at the paintings of Sarah Grace Del Rosario is the profusion of flowers.

There are flowers clasped in someone’s hands and flowers that cover somebody’s head, partially obscuring the eyes and nose, exposing only pursed lips.

Other times, the faces are featureless, just blank spaces on which the viewer can project their imagination.

Del Rosario is still in the process of finding her style, not that she’s in a hurry. She began earnestly painting in October 2020 in her home in Nueva Ecija.

“I come from a clan that can paint and draw hyperrealistic paintings and portraits. And then there’s me, who could only doodle and paint cartoon characters,” Del Rosario recalled.

She was in third grade when she discovered her innate talent for art. It may not have manifested as hyperrealistic or even realistic art. Still, the resulting pieces resonated with her audience, who appreciated the brightness and optimism of her abstract, impressionistic art.

The textured and multi-colored roses that crown a young girl’s head in one series of paintings seem to invite the viewer to touch them. Her mixed media pieces incorporate dense acrylics and natural crystals like jade, onyx, obsidian, quartz, clear quartz, and amethyst.

“I love mixing dried flowers on my paintings and sculpting textures for my abstracts. I love adorning my fish with natural stones and crystals, so if a visually impaired person comes to discover my art, they can feel and appreciate it,” she said.

Del Rosario counts Filipino celebrities Aubrey Miles, Rocco Nacino and Melissa Gohing Nacino, Irma Adlawan, Rosanna Roces, Mayor Nina Jose Quiambao, and Ivana Alawi as clients. She has collectors from the Philippines, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and the United States.

Since 2020, she has raised over P2 million from selling her paintings donated directly to severely ill children from different parts of the country.

IBULONG MO SA MGA LOBO 1

Del Rosario admitted feeling insecure about her work when she was starting. Later, she realized that “people will appreciate your work as long as you give your heart to it.”

Her favorite artists include Bob Ross, Maud Lewis, and Frida Kahlo.

“Bob Ross is relaxing to watch. He inspired most of my landscape paintings. I also love Maud Lewis, who paints like a young girl trapped in the body of an adult woman,” she said.

Lewis’s two-dimensional paintings of rural Canadian life have a naif-like quality. “She is another proof that even if you can’t paint a realistic portrait or landscape, your art will be appreciated by the right person. In some ways, I am Maud because my art is imperfect. It’s always a work in progress, but people are already finding joy and beauty in that progress,” she recounted.

Del Rosario not only identifies with Frida Kahlo because of her empowering art but also because—like Kahlo, who figured in a horrifying vehicular accident—Del Rosario has a disability.

“I have Psoriatic arthritis that attacks the nerves and joints, and which makes it painful to paint when I’m not on medication,” she said. “Unfortunately, it is an incurable and lifelong illness.”

VANISHING WOMAN

For “Of Blooms and their Stories,” her first solo show at ARTablado, the artist created 30 paintings that will benefit as many child patients as possible.

“Each painting represents a child battling life-threatening diseases with 100% of the proceeds for each painting sold going to the child.”

Del Rosario is grateful for the ARTablado platform because “it serves as a stage for local budding artists like me… to spread kindness through art. Expect me to bring you to the field of blooms and other stories.”

“Of Blooms and Their Stories” is on view at ARTablado at Robinsons Galleria until January 31.

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