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

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.

Flowers in bright and happy colors are clasped in hands; they cover heads and partially obscure the subjects’ faces—sometimes leaving only pursed lips exposed. 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. After all, the full time artist based in Nueva Ecija only began painting in earnest in October 2020. 

“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 but the resulting pieces resonated with her audience who appreciate the brightness and optimism of her abstract, impressionistic art. 

In one series of paintings, the textured and multi-colored roses that crown a young girl’s head 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 fishes with natural stones and crystals so if ever a visually impaired person comes to discover my art, they can feel it and appreciate it,” she said.

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

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

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

Asked to list her favorite artists, she name checked landscape artist Bob Ross, Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

“Bob Ross is relaxing to watch. Most of my landscape paintings are inspired by him. I also love Maud Lewis who paints like a young girl trapped in the body of an adult woman.” 

Lewis’s paintings of rural Canadian life are rendered in a two-dimensional fashion and 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, 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 is also saddled with 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. Unfortunately, it is an incurable and lifelong illness,” she said.

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

“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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