Accidental Artist
Art springs from the depths of nowhere.
Munting Nayon, June, 2003
Artist and Wife, Carol

Some years back, he saw the Night Watch of Rembrandt in the Rijksmuseum. He thought it would not be a bad idea to have the same painting in his living room. Obviously, buying the painting was beyond his wildest dreams and finding a copy in oil or an artist who could reproduce it appeared to be out of the question. So he decided he should do the copying himself. But, even with some painting experience behind him, he considered his art skills insufficient for the task. The solution was clearly to improve them. His struggle to hone his painting skills in order to come up with a Night Watch in his own living room was going to be the story of Vic's artistic adventure. But, who is Vic?

Vicente Collado Jr. is a Filipino who has been residing in the Netherlands for the past year and a half. He was born at Magsingal, Ilocos Sur on an October 18, significant for being the feast day of St. Luke, the patron saint of painters. For his elementary and secondary education, he studied and graduated valedictorian at St. William's Institute, a private school in the same town run by the St.Paul sisters. He then took up BS Math-Physics at De La Salle University in Manila where he was consistent member of the Dean's List and, upon graduation in 1979, received the Gold Medal for Academic Excellence in Physics. After a couple of years teaching Mathematics, Vic took further studies in Philosophy, in Italy and Spain. In 1984, he successfully defended his doctoral thesis La Generacion del Verbo Intelectual, which was about the formation of concept during the act of understanding.

Gayleen's Hideaway
(Oil on Canvas, 50 cm x 60 cm)
A cut-out from a newspaper given to him by his cousin, Gayleen, was the artist's source for this typical European rural landscape. Except for a modern day traffic signboard before the bridge, everything else in this painting indicates a setting straight out from the era of Asterix and Obelix. This is one example of Vic's fondness for mixing the old and the new.

Upon his return to thePhilippines, Vic worked professionally as a resource person in various educational and cultural institutions and as a software developer in his own consultancy group. As a professor, Vic lectured extensively on Mathematics, Computer Programming, Logic, Cosmology, Metaphysics and Epistemology. As a computer programmer, he specialized on database programming, producing various software applications like programs on Accounting, Salary, Loan Application, School Registration, Report Cards Generator, Statistics, Thesis Writing, Scheduling and even Games. He also made researches on Programming in Logic and on Artificial Intelligence. Lately, just to keep up to date with the cyber world, he learned HTML and XML and developed Art Creations, a web-site-like program that stores and displays his own paintings.

But, Vic is not all academics. When he was a kid, he climbed trees, fell into fishponds, chased speeding trucks, set fire to the haystack of his grandpa, had regular fistfights with the bully next door, etc. As an adult, he is very much into basketball, swimming, long-distance running and mountain climbing. On weekends, he loves to dismantle the engine of his car and carries out the maintenance work himself or to tinker with light emitting diodes, transistors and electronic circuitries. He also loves gardening and had successfully raised tilapia in his own backyard.

Napoleon at St. Bernard Pass
(Oil on Canvas, 90 cm x 60 cm)
The original by Jacques Louise David was the artist's inspiration for this figurative painting. It took him a couple of months to finish. Vic admits that his experience with this particular art work not only gave him deep insight into the nature of painting but also led him to start believing that maybe he had a talent or, at least, could be close to acquiring one.

On December 8, 1998, Vic got married to Carol, a charming, intelligent lady with whom he shares a lot of interests including the passion for wine and for shopping. Carol graduated valedictorian in her elementary and high school and finished cum laude with a double degree of Business Administration and Accountancy at the University of the Philippines. A Certified Public Accountant, Carol now works for Shell International BV as Controller for EP Companies. She is currently one of the few leading experts in the world on Production Sharing Contracts, a topic that, Vic claims, has not failed to induce him to sleep.

But, how did art get into the picture? Well, through the backdoor and quite by accident. It was October 6, 1993, the day Michael Jordan announced his retirement. There was a long brownout, which was very common in Manila then. Computers couldn't work and neither could Vic. While wandering aimlessly around the house, he stumbled accidentally upon a watercolor set in the garage. And remembering a demo painting by Bob Ross on TV, he decided to verify if painting was really as easy as the afro-haired artist showed it. The result was spectacular. Or, so Vic thought. And he was lucky he thought that way otherwise art for him would have been consigned forever to history. Since then he never stopped painting. He looked forward to every brownout to mess-up with some paints. Praises from friends and family members served only to increase his enthusiasm and interest. He painted systematically and even came out with a series called Twin Red Studies. Later on, he abandoned watercolor and ventured into Acrylics and Oil.

Vic never had any formal training in painting even though he ardently desired it. He simply didn't have the time. So he settled for a substitute: Teach-Yourself-Painting books. Up to this date, he still refers to those books when in doubt and continues to learn from them.

Allegory of the World Wide Web
(Oil on Canvas, 50 cm x 60 cm)
This is one of Vic's early attempts to emulate the Dutch Masters known for their allegorical paintings. A globe, a world map, a homepage, a surf board, a key board, books on XML-HTML-JAVA, a net, a web, a mouse, messages, worms, bugs, apples, windows - Vic could not think of any other title.

The greatest moment of his art adventure came when he sold his first painting. Up to that point, he painted only for the thrill of it and never believed viewers would be willing to pay cash aside from the customary attention and compliments. Of course, his initial clients were family members, relatives, friends and acquaintances. And they can be excused for being so patronizing. But, when total strangers and even foreigners began buying, Vic's confidence in his skill grew tremendously.

In 1999, his painting took a dramatic turn for the better when he came across the works of Jacques Louise David in Louvre and of Rembrandt in Rijkmuseum. In them, he saw the path he had to follow and the goal he had to achieve. Since then, every painting session became a conscious effort to progress towards the same degree of perfection.

However, painting never went beyond the category of a hobby for him. Fate changed all that a year and a half ago when Carol got cross-posted to the Netherlands. All so suddenly, this weekend hobby took center stage as Vic found in his hands all the time in the world to paint. Now, he can work for his goal. And he worked and is working like mad.

At the moment, the Night Watch is not yet in Vic's living room. His other paintings, which will be featured in this column, hang there instead. But, some time in the future, Vic assures us, it's going to be there, watching over his living room night and day.



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