Crazy hot that afternoon was. My sketchbook served as a mini shade in my search to find the perfect spot to paint in the Malalison Island shoreline. I was quite excited to do a live painting session there covering a different area. I did one last time under the Talisay tree surrounded by so many children near the sandbar – haha! My backpack was equipped with watercolor tubes, paint brushes, and of course, drinking water. I was that enthusiastic despite the heat.
Walking alone along the coast, I was eyeing on another Talisay tree to settle down and begin sketching but the angle was too cluttered. Small boats were all in front of me and the shadow of the tree will soon change direction. I headed on with the hopes of finding that one special place to make it all happen. Then from a distance, I saw a tiny hut quietly sitting in the middle of the coast.
“Perfect!” I said.
As I got closer, I caught a little boy staring at me. When I waved at him, he hurriedly tugged the shirt of his mom. They both looked at me with sheer curiosity. I flashed them with a smile and asked if it is ok for me to stay in their hut for a while. The mother said yes and I was relieved to be sitting under the shade of the hut, so comfortable, so cool, so peaceful, that I instantly drew out my things and said to her “Nay, mapinta ko diri ha? (Ma’am, I’ll be painting here, ok?)”
I began making basic washes on my sketchbook. While I was in the process of mixing more colors, her second son joined us and watched me “play.” Then I initiated a conversation with Audrey, the mother. She happily narrated to me her life story, how she and her husband met, how she sacrificed her job to become a full-time housewife – it was quite a humbling experience getting to know her while painting all at the same time. Her sons shared some tales about school and their friends as well. The four of us spent the afternoon together exchanging stories.
In the middle of the session, I heard people murmuring something behind my back. Literally, they are there talking behind me but I did not mind. I continued on, hoping to finish the painting before going back. Then, this girl, a 6th grader, asked me what was I doing. “Painting” I replied. I asked her to sit beside me as she was outside the hut under the sweltering heat. Two more came in and another three.
And when I finally finished my work, as I stood up, there were 14 people around me – all smiling, all clapping their hands, all congratulating me for a job well done.
Wow. I feel deeply honored to be surrounded by them. They made me feel right at home. I’ll never get tired of Malalison Island.