Among the many mediums of art, acrylic paint on canvas is among the most popular and Amanda Fe Echevarria, a local pride of Davao City, does not shy away from it.
“I have been painting since I was five,” Amanda shares. “I remember sitting with my mentor, Victor Secuya, on an upturned plant pot in the middle of an anthurium garden. I had my share of family problems and painting has helped me cope with everything that was happening around me.”
For Amanda, painting is not just something she does for what-not. “I paint because this is my calling. This is one of the reasons why I am alive.”
A woman of the times, she juggles several things during her day, “I help manage our family inn, I teach children and adults art, I make my sculptural lamp orders, and I also assist Victor Secuya in his many art projects. I paint every time there is a lull in between all these concerns. These lulls usually happen in between classes and at night after fulfilling all my motherly duties.”
In her own lens, painting is not something one does out of whim, “Painting is 30% planning, 20% cleaning and prepping, and 50% problem solving. Admittedly, Amanda says that she continues to strive for perfection but “I have learned to accept that imperfections also bring with it a different kind of beauty.”
While this determined woman mainly uses acrylic paint on canvas, Amanda doesn’t let her creativity rest in finality. In fact, she innovates and fuses other possibilities to her work. “I also enjoy incorporating other media such as paper pulp, gold leaves, and others in my work. I sometimes get bored with a flat surface. As for my sculptures, I work with PVC off cuts. I value the environment and I desire to help as much as I can. Using PVC is one way of helping. I also use reclaimed wood when I need a break from all the hard plastic,” she shares.
Recently, Amanda finished an artist residency grant in Rotorua, New Zealand, being the only Asian and foreign delegate among six artists who had been awarded the grant.
With her life-long journey with art, Amanda has this to say to individuals who also desire to work with it, “I reiterate the art is an acquired skill. You must be disciplined. Like one artist used to say, ‘You must be inspired by eight o’clock in the morning.’
“Another point is that all artists have this secret drawer of failed attempts. Make all the mistakes you can but make sure you have a secret drawer. Lastly, your aesthetic standards should follow your intentions. If you want to express emotions and use art as a form of therapy, then you shouldn’t expect a realistic and perfect output, This is especially important if you are a beginner. Your expectations will determine the amount of satisfaction you get from your output.”
Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan is a teacher at Tuburan Institute, Inc. She is also a wife and a mother of two. For questions and comments, feel free to drop her an e-mail at email@example.com or visit her Facebook page, Joan Mae Soco.
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