Posted on April 9, 2015 by rica

Learning to Dance with Life’s Questions

During our retreats in high school,we were made to answer questions. According to my parents, it is but normal to have questions since we were at a point when we should be deciding what our roles in life would be. Mainly.. what to take in college. Whatever we did take in college was supposed to ‘set us up’ for the future.

After I graduated college, I realized that not only was I still asking the same questions, the list kept growing. My mother would tell me “I don’t know about you, but I already knew what my direction in life would be and how I want my life would be by the time I was 12.” I then believed that I was the ‘confused one’. My brother would always look at me and go, “why do you have so many questions? why do you have to ask yourself all these questions?” I told him it is because “I do not want to doubt myself and I want to know why I do the things I do.”

A few years after, I met my ex-husband who never asked a question at all. I thought this was good. His reasoning was, “you think too much.” What I didn’t know was I would slowly stop questioning life and reason in general as the relationship progressed. By our 5th year, I no longer asked questions, I just went through the motions of life. That was when I realized that, I felt dead and I wasn’t even six feet under yet. I was terrified. I was empty, I felt empty but I was not content nor at peace.

By the time I separated, not only did the list grew in size, but I had nobody to talk to regarding this. Nobody likes questions. It’s confusing. In a way, it even makes you doubt yourself when there was none. So I went through in life, still asking questions, wondering what was wrong with me. I was already in my 30s [yes…am old] and I was still asking questions that any teen-ager would’ve answered by the time they get to college.

That was until my 7 year old son started asking my questions. Not only did he ask “my questions”, he added onto them. That was when I realized I was taught never to ask questions. Questions just rocked the boat. As my son and I answered his questions, I found out that our world didn’t change, our points of view did.

He never stopped asking [something that also drives me insane now…aside from his taste in music]. In fact I always encouraged him to ask questions. In doing so, we end up answering them..and as we kept answering, we found out the truth in everything we experienced – even in the things and topics we take for granted.

Now asking questions has become a habit as well as answering them. This goes for my son, my partner, and all of my friends. I have slowly, learned to live with the questions and appreciate them for the way they rock my world. The list has grown and perhaps once I reach 40, this list would’ve doubled. All I know is that it helped me define my life..as it is helping my son define his too. So these are the questions..that I am now sharing with you.

“What if?”

“What if I said YES?”

“What if I said NO?”

“What if I did not need to be liked by anyone?”

“How do I want to Be right now?”

“If not now, when?”

“What if I really could?”

“What am I resisting?”

“Is this who I am?”

“What would love do now?”

“Is anything I fear ever happening right NOW?”

“What will you do? when will you do it?”

“Which part of me is in charge of me right now?”

“What is stopping me?”

“What if I were less hard on myself what would I do?”

“Am I being true to myself?”

“What do I wish to release?”

“What if I could?”

“What is next?”

“What if nothing happens by accident and there is no such thing as random coincidence?”

“What/Where is the opportunity in this problem?”

“What, at this exact moment, is lacking?”

“How would I respond to anger if all anger is a call for help?”

“What do you want?”

“How many more times?”

“Which choice would I make now if I believed that I could not make a mistake no matter what I choose?”

“Could I be fully happy even if everything stayed exactly as it now is for the rest of my life?”

“What is the question for which my life is the answer?”

(written 2009)

Posted on March 21, 2015 by rica

Live Painting Sessions at the Ayala Museum

This was the first time I ever joined a live-model painting session. It was a learning experience for me. I’ve always wanted to join one, I never had the money nor time. Agos Kulay organizes this every 2 weeks at the Ayala Museum. It is a fantastic way to stretch your skills and imagination.


I learned that:

  1. Whatever organization you enter there will always be people who are more interested in the things you have rather than on the technique you used. I just find it interesting. I learned a lot stuff about paper too though. :)
  2. Somehow your group identifies you. It is who they are. Since I do not technically belong to any group, I am a nobody. Ah the freedom of being a nobody!
  3. Since this is the first time I joined this, I realized I need to bring certain things* in order to create a better painting. This is not an urban sketching moment. It is a paint-a-decent-portrait moment.
  4. I love washes. I love the challenge a wash painting brings. I really do. I love the adrenalin rush while painting something you know you just have an hour to do, and do well!
  5. I also loved the works that were done in chalk pastel.

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This I will need to bring.

  1. More brushes – for wash, for details, a waterbrush and a blending brush.
  2. A rag
  3. A waterbucket and a ready palette.
  4. My trusty waterspray.
  5. A fan to dry the paint — I was so impatient, I did a 2-minute sketch while waiting. Then again, I guess that was a good thing.
  6. A small stool to put my stuff on.
  7. A white board thingie.

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Photo Credit: Billie Beltran

Posted on March 18, 2015 by rica

Politics, Without Politics How Will Our Lives Be?

Perhaps we’d be talking about the latest showbiz gossip. Sometimes politicians are their own reality show – specially when they commit mistakes and don’t own up to it. Here are two illustrations I’ve done on the latest issues in the news today.


The Mayor of Makati, who happens to be the Vice President’s son, refuses to accede to the suspension order given by the Office of the Ombudsman. Mayor Junjun Binay was able to get a TRO right after the Vice Mayor was sworn in. What does this mean? This article by Atty. Rod Vera answers that question.


But the best news came earlier when the Senate declared that the President was ‘ultimately responsible’ for the Mamasapano massacre. Yes, it is a massacre not an encounter.

Posted on March 5, 2015 by rica

2-minute Sketches with the Pilot Parallel Pen

I love my Pilot Parallel Pen – it can be quite expressive with its lines. As you can see here – the lines range from .5mm to 6mm. In fact it looked like I used a brush in doing these 2-minute sketches.
This was done at the Navotas Fishing Port. It was one of those small fishing boats.

These two were the Urban Sketchers [Philippines] artists I was with. I took photos. They painted the scene.

I did a short tribute to Leonard Nimoy when he died – a 2-minute sketch of Spock Prime and a memorable quote from his role in Star Trek.
This was based on a pic a blogger took of a deer on her backyard while it was snowing. I just shows – I still have a long way to go when it comes to doing landscape paintings in watercolor.

Posted on February 21, 2015 by rica

Watercolor Portrait 57 of 100: Memories in a Box

Children grow up so fast. I know – when they’re whiny and all, you can’t wait for them to grow up so you can talk sense into them. But when you step back and watch them, engrossed in their own world of wonder, you gasp and wish you could tell time to slow down. You want to hold them and listen to their laughter forever.



That’s why my classmate gave me this. She was able to take a pic of her children through a phone came. However it was too small and pixelated to be printed and framed. So she gave me the pic and told me to ‘work my magic’.

This was actually one of the difficult paintings I’ve done. It was on an A4 and the thumbnail image was like 2 inches wide.

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