A tribute to Davao artist Rachel Holazo

A tribute to Davao artist Rachel Holazo

- in Feature
@Jon Joaquin


Isang shuuk lang yan.”

That line is the biggest artistic influence on my entire art practice to date.

Early in my practice I would have occasional visits with the Rachel Holazo. I would always look forward to these occasions since I admired Rachel as an artist so much. Rachel would be one of the few extremely talented artists I knew. I loved how her colors were so clean even when working with complementaries. I wanted to learn under her but I felt it would be too presumptuous of me, a beginner, to even ask a Rachel Holazo if she could mentor me.

So I would just content myself with small chitchats and would be overly excited if, on some occasions, she would show a piece she was working on. I would savor every visual sensation, take in every detail, hang on to every word she uttered. And from these bits and pieces, I tried to make out what it was that commanded every color choice and directed every stroke. In other words, i was trying to learn under Rachel without her even knowing it.

One day, she showed me a portrait she was working on. It was near completion and she was thrilled at how she created the glimmer effect on the pearl earring of the lady in the portrait. “Isang shuuk lang yan,” she said, gesturing with her hand to make a big comma in the air.

And there it was. That short sentence. Making an impact on me as an artist like no one and nothing else ever had. Shaping my whole artistic style.

From then on, I knew what i wanted to do and become. I decided I wanted to be an impressionist. It did not matter what subject matter I painted. My goal was to create an impression, execute an effect in as few applications as possible.

My dear Rachel, I wish you had lived 50 more years so i could learn some more from you.

We remember you today, a day when God blessed the world with an artist like you.

Happy birthday, Rachel. pastedGraphic.png

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