Edna Belleza Fortades
Artist | Architect | 50 years old
FTV: What is your art style?
EBF: They say it can be impressionism. Being a self-taught artist, I am still exploring my style and hoping to develop my own distinct signature of strokes or colors. My only background for arts was during the early years in College of Architecture where we have Visual Techniques as a subject.
FTV: What materials do you use?
EBF: I use graphite pencils, charcoal, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylics, and soft pastels. My favorite for now is soft pastels for its softness and richness. I’d like to try oil paint soon.
FTV: What subjects do you often paint?
EBF: I love nature as subjects, from landscapes, seascapes, flowers, and animals. But now, I have a growing interest in figure/portrait, although I know it is not my forte, but I think we can hone skills if we want.
Her collection of landscapes and seascapes:
FTV: What were your exposure in the arts as a child?
Noong elementary at high school, napipili akong contestant sa mga art or poster making contests.
FTV: And how did that progress?
EBF: I have been doing drawings/sketches and some watercolor paintings since childhood and during college days, but it was only during the pandemic that I went back to my old passion to alleviate the anxiety brought about by that event. My work as an architect has been greatly affected, design and construction were either canceled or put on-hold. Somehow, art kept me sane during that difficult time.
FTV: How do you think you got good at art without formal studies?
EBF: I do not have any formal art training or workshops in Arts, except for the basic Visual Techniques in college which lean more on the technical side for architectural presentations. Sometimes, I get inspiration from the artists I look up to or follow, and just go with what I feel like drawing or painting. I am open to attending workshops or learning from mentors, which I know would help me a lot to improve my skills.
FTV: How does inspiration hit you?
EBF: Every time I go to places, or see something which piques my interest, lagi ko naiisip, “uy, parang ang ganda nito i-paint.” Iniisip ko na gawin ito in my own version. Masarap i-translate into painting ang mga bagay or lugar na merong significance or meaning sa’yo, or nakakapag paalala sa’yo ng isang maganda o ‘di malilimutang pangyayari sa buhay.
FTV: Do you dream of painting to be your full-time occupation?
EBF: Yes, I can see myself retiring from work as an architect and just do painting in my own studio. But for now, I cannot do it full-time since I have to work and help with our finances. I have to balance everything.
FTV: What other forms of art did you try?
EBF: During the onset of the pandemic, I thought of hand painted mini pots since that time people were into plants, to somehow add as income, since the construction industry was badly hit. Sometimes the buyer wants customized hand painted pots with the portraits of his or her pets in it. It was a very tedious undertaking since you have to do some surface preparations before you can paint on it. I was doing it on my own, so it’s a bit hard to keep up, although I enjoyed doing it. I even sold canvas tote bags with my painting printed on it. Those are the things you have to do just to survive the pandemic.
The artist’s mini pot collection that she sold during the pandemic:
EBF: Art has always been in my blood, my passion.
FTV: Anong mga pinagpilian mong propesyon?
EBF: Architecture has always been my first choice as a professional. That way I can create structures with the artistry and architecture combined.
FTV: Ano ang mga inaasam mong magawa bilang isang artist?
EBF: I want to inspire other aspiring artists, especially the kids, to go for their passion, whether as a hobby or profession. Even those older people, to go back to their old passion, doing what they love the most, when having a job occupied most of their lives. It is not too late to start with something, regardless of age.
FTV: Any other artists in the family?
EBF: I would say that I came from a family of artists, starting from my late grandfather, my aunts, my mother, siblings, my son, and other relatives who have innate talents in drawing. Although they do not practice it actively, I can see that they have the skill and talent, they just have to cultivate it.
FTV: How do you wish your art to be perceived or viewed?
EBF: I really do not have much expectation as to how my art will be perceived or viewed. It is always in the beholder’s eye, I think. But somehow, I received feedback from friends that they felt they could relate to it, or in a way touched their hearts. Art is truly an expression of one’s inner self. It can reflect our present mood, life’s status, and inspiration, that others can relate to. I wish that my art conveys feelings, emotions, warmth, and a varied meaning for each viewer.
FTV: How is your life being a visual artist / illustrator in the PH?
EBF: I can say that the Philippines is so rich with talented artists all over, recognized and unrecognized. Being a newbie in this field, I just enjoy doing it whenever I have spare time away from work. Some friends and clients are requesting that I should make bigger paintings than my previous ones, so I will try to squeeze in some time for things I love the most, one of which is painting.
FTV: How does art make you feel?
EBF: Art is my escape from all my real-life worries and cares. I feel that I am being taken to another dimension while doing it. Sometimes when I feel heaviness in my heart, I start working. Somehow, it lightens the burden and my mood. You can see it in my choice of colors. When I am happy or inspired, you can feel that too.
FTV: What for you is an artist?
EBF: For me, artists are visionaries and dreamers.
The artist’s sketches. “Left,” graphite and charcoal (the artist’s own hand). The others are ballpoint drawings:
FTV: What for you is the essence of painting?
EBF: A painting or any form of art is the translation of an artist’s life, visions, and dreams. It can be an expression or a message an artist wants to convey with regards to the present status of the society he or she lives in. That is why it is essential in the exchange of information, culture, and history since the beginning of time.
The artist’s “Flowers” Collection:
FTV: Any message to Filipinos around the world?
EBF: Filipino artists are exceptional! We should believe in ourselves, and be proud of our culture and heritage. Let us support Filipino artists here and around the world.
Edna accepts commissions. To view her other works or get in touch, her IG account is @edna_belleza_fortades.arts
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