Veteran painters showcase life's work at exhibit

by Patrick Camara Ropeta, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Apr 28 2012 10:58 AM | Updated as of Apr 28 2012 07:00 PM

LONDON - A pair of seasoned Filipina painters joined forces for an exhibit at the Philippine embassy in London to showcase their life's work.

Paintings by Nene Martin, 72, and Susan Robertson, 64, took center stage at a joint exhibition entitled “Glimpse”, featuring a range of their work from still life to landscapes to portraiture.

“It’s a glimpse because it’s our paintings since the beginning. My oldest painting is here. It’s what we have done through all the years. It gives us delightful memories of how far we have come in painting,” explained Martin, who has been painting since 1979.

Robertson, who started drawing as a child, added: “It’s nice to be here in the exhibition to show our work. It’s exciting - we’re meeting people, and we’re seeing them appreciate our work. Some of our friends are even surprised that we’re doing this, because they didn’t know we paint.”

Held at the Philippine Embassy in central London, the show highlights the visual interests of both artists, predominantly involving scenes and people from their everyday life, cultural heritage, and travels.

“I like to paint things that are very personal to me, intimate things. And I always say that’s how I waste my time,” said Martin, whose work is heavily influenced by the Impressionist movement.

Robertson, on the other hand, prefers clean lines and details. She shared: “I like details, but I’ll try many things as a challenge. I like to paint trains and boats, and I like scenery and landscapes. I also do flowers, dogs, and anything with water, glass or metal, because I like painting reflections.”

Both artists have lived in the UK for many years. Martin, a trained teacher and UP graduate from Tarlac, moved to London as a domestic worker in the 1970s, and is now working as an administration assistant in Hammersmith.

Her journey in painting started with a curiosity in her employer’s art collection. She was working for an art dealer when she was exposed to masterpieces, encouraging her to take adult classes in art. Her biggest inspiration, however, is her father, who is also a painter.

Robertson, from Laguna, also started as a domestic worker in Hong Kong, before marrying an Englishman and settling in the UK from the 1980s. She is now a housewife and focuses her energy into painting, taking commissions and creating pieces for herself. She is also a member of a local art society and participates regularly in their group exhibitions.

“I’m so glad this exhibition is at the Philippine Embassy, so we can show our work to fellow Filipinos. It’s such as exhilarating experience because my artwork gives me joy. And I’d like to impart that same feeling to fellow Filipinos, and perhaps they would also be able to put paintbrush onto a canvass,” revealed Martin.

“Glimpse” by Nene Martin and Susan Robertson is at the Philippine Embassy in Suffolk Street, London until April 30.