Paintings that inspire hope this holiday season

When RC Manrique-Santos and her then-boyfriend—now-husband—were still dating, they would frequent Robinsons Galleria in Ortigas to hang out, catch the latest movies, or grab a bite to eat. Many years later, with three children to complete their family, RC returned to painting, a childhood interest that her mother encouraged and helped cultivate.

“I was in primary school when I discovered my love for art. My Mom taught me how to draw. I remember loving her drawings and copying them,” RC said.

While in high school, she began sketching houses (“I love interior design”),  faces, and religious images like the Holy Family. “I would paint the face of Jesus Christ every Good Friday,” she recalled.

RC took up AB Communications and several Fine Arts units at the Philippine Women’s University in Manila. Her mother supported her creative pursuits, reminding her constantly to take care of her hands.

“She wouldn’t let me do house chores after school because she believed in ‘pasma’—unfortunately for my other siblings [who took up the slack]. My mother loved and appreciated all the pieces I made even if I felt insecure about some of them,” RC said.

Two years ago, her mother passed away. “She was my No. 1 fan. I am sad she’s not here to witness my first solo show, but she is proud of me, watching from above,” she mused.

RC’s abstract paintings share a common theme. She starts by painting a cross on the canvas, allowing her whispered prayer to take flight.

“I just paint how I feel. What I love about abstract painting is the result and how certain strokes make something genuine. It is always a surprise to me how I finish a piece in a certain way,” she said.

RC chose the title “Spes in Cruce” (Hope in the Cross) as a way to give hope to those who are going through a challenging situation at this point in their life, adding, “It is also my way to show gratitude to Him who gave me the talent to paint.”

She is excited and nervous about her first exhibit, which will run from Dec.1 to Jan. 2, 2024.

“I’m so grateful that God answered my prayer to have a solo show. It is a dream come true for me. It is amazing how my dreams are now becoming a reality,” she said.

Visitors can look forward to her paintings depicting hope and ” reminding [viewers] of God’s unconditional love, especially in this season of Christmas.”

Holding her first solo show at Robinsons Galleria is like coming full circle for RC, too.

“It’s a sentimental place for us, but more importantly, I’ve heard from other artists that ARTablado is one of the best galleries as it is very generous in supporting amateur or professional artists. ‘May puso ang ARTablado sa bawat artist.’”

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