An Interview with Rina M. Macasaet
Tell us about your first trip to Kyoto.
My first trip was actually in the dead of winter, February 2006. I was on a business trip and had limited time to sightsee. Despite the snow-covered grounds, my eye caught the fine detail and beauty of historic Kyoto. I promised to return for the Cherry Blossom and Autumn Festivals, which I eventually did in 2008.
What was the first impulse you had when you picked up your paint brush and began to paint?
Light strokes of cherry blossoms, colorful tones and hues of pink, orange, blue and green. Autumn leaves, the smell of bamboo and the natural glow of light peering through nature early morning and late afternoon walks.
What about Kyoto inspired you to paint?
Kyoto is heaven for any artist. The city is lined with trees and budding flowers, Historic temples and shrines have intimate stories to tell. Kimonos, green tea, rice paper, geishas – any way you look, There is something unique that stands out. I could not inhale enough of the city’s elegance and beauty surrounded by a slow graceful movement that brought me inner calm.
How long did it take you to paint this series?
The entire collection took me about a year to complete. I traveled to Kyoto in April for the Cherry Blossom Festival, returned home to paint and traveled again in October for the turning of the autumn leaves. I came home in November and painted my heart out until the collection was done.
Is this your first time to use watercolor as a medium?
Yes, I felt that watercolor was the best medium for me to bring out the charm and natural beauty of Kyoto. My strokes needed to be fleeting but soft and graceful. I decided to experiment with watercolor and the result turned out way beyond my imagination.
Some say watercolor is the most difficult medium. I try not to think about difficulty but rather allow myself to go where the colors or the paint run. I don’t try to control the consistency of watercolor, but rather, allow it to flow wherever the colors wish to flow on my canvas or paper and take it from there.
Which group in this series is your favorite?
I like the Kimono series! I enjoyed painting them! The Kimono in itself is a work of art. So pretty to look at with so many designs and colors to appreciate, it’s like telling a story of love, fantasy and humor!
Yasuyasu is a personal favorite. Very peaceful is precisely how I felt in all my trips to Kyoto. I long to return some time in the near future.