Many are familiar with the work Conchitina Sevilla Bernardo has done as vice chairwoman of Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Incorporated. But what may come as a surprise is that her penchant for beauty and grace has made its way from the stage on to canvas.
When and how did you start painting?
I started painting two years ago when I was 72. I had just had heart surgery and was so depressed. I thought I was going to die! A friend recommended that I go to the Sunshine Place senior recreation center to take tai chi. When I was there, I saw a man teaching someone older than me how to paint. And I thought, “Kaya ko ba yan?” So I asked him, “Matuturuan ba ako?” He tells me, “Lahat ng tao may talent, kailangan lang ilabas natin.” And I went to classes and you know what? He was able to squeeze whatever little talent I may have had!
What made you keep on painting?
It helped me focus. It puts me in a state of mindfulness so everything else around is forgotten—the aches, the pains, the problems… and there’s a lot of pleasure in it. It makes me happy. I will never be a Monet but painting is therapy for me. It’s meditative, and it becomes like a prayer. When I complete something I offer it to God and say: This is my gift to You.
Can you tell us a bit about your process?
In the beginning I was taking pictures from the web and I would paint my own expression of them. Now I’m not really painting but more of drawing. I use both paint and a graphite pencil. You see, I have a tremor. My hand shakes. I cannot control it, and my paintings would get distorted. With the pencil, I can really manage it better. And I notice that when I put gold leaf or silver leaf, it comes out very nice. I’m still searching for my style. But I’m going this way.
Swipe through the gallery below to see some of Conchitina’s works!