Connie Quirino holds second solo art exhibit after 2 decades

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Jul 07 2022 02:38 PM

Connie Quirino painting in France
Connie Quirino painting in France

MANILA -- At a young age of five, Connie Quirino held her first crayon given by her mother, Conchita Quirino. Young as she was then, Quirino learned to draw on her coloring books.

“Years later, I was mesmerized by my sister Cory’s charcoal sketch of ‘The Dying Slave of Michael Angelo,’ which she brought home from her studies in Madrid, Spain,” Quirino told ABS-CBN News.

That sketch inspired Quirino to learn how to draw. She began basic art classes at the Assumption Convent in San Lorenzo, Makati, where she received high merits.

“That encouraged me to pursue further training under Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, who became my mentor in 1985,” Quirino said.

Alcuaz taught Quirino his style of impressionism through his live portraiture painting demos, “Tres Marias.” 

“The first known artist in the family was my esteemed grandfather, President Elpidio Quirino, who at that time, was a budding portrait artist,” Quirino shared. “He earned a modest amount from his sketches, which helped cover some of his school expenses.”

Quirino believes she inherited her artistic talent from her grandfather. She took up Psychology at Assumption College, but did not complete the course. “Because I was too busy attending to my children,” she honestly said.

Her childhood dream was to study in Spain, but that did not happen. “Instead, I got married early at the age of 20,” she disclosed. “I focused on being a homemaker and mother, but that did not dampen my spirits to still become an artist.”

Quirino’s first solo show, “Romancing Life,” was staged more than two decades ago, in May 2001 at the Gallery Y, Glorietta 4 in Makati City.

Connie Quirino's first one-woman show, 'Romancing Life,' on May 1, 2001 at the Gallerie Y in Glorietta 4, Makati. Cutting the ribbon is maestro Fedrico Alcuaz, sister Cory Quirino, Vernon Gamboa and Cocoy Cordoba
Connie Quirino's first one-woman show, 'Romancing Life,' on May 1, 2001 at the Gallerie Y in Glorietta 4, Makati. Cutting the ribbon is maestro Fedrico Alcuaz, sister Cory Quirino, Vernon Gamboa and Cocoy Cordoba

“My first mentor, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, graced the occasion alongside my sister, Cory Quirino, to cut the ribbon,” Quirino recalled. “Federico was the first to purchase a still life painting from me.

“I was truly honored. It took me so long before planning my second one-woman show, because my main focus was to bring up my children.”

In between, Quirino also traveled to France and the US to further her studies in the arts through intensive workshops.

“I became a member of Atelier L’arc en Ciel under mentors Elaine O. Herbosa and Mia Herbosa for 12 years,” Quirino said. “I participated in annual group exhibits at the Artistspace of Ayala Museum, The Bellevue Hotel, Art in the Park and more.

Connie Quirino (second from left) at Atelier L'Arc en Ciel with (from left) Chichi Laperal, teacher Elaine Herbosa and Ane Miren Rotaeche Dowdall in 2017
Connie Quirino (second from left) at Atelier L'Arc en Ciel with (from left) Chichi Laperal, teacher Elaine Herbosa and Ane Miren Rotaeche Dowdall in 2017

In 2007, Quirino was introduced to modeling for TV commercials and print ads, something she enjoys doing up to the present.

She also loves to “swim, snorkel, dive, workout in the gym, bike, walk, go bowling and collect stamps,” other activities that take up much of her time.

This pandemic, Quirino encountered her biggest challenge since she never wanted to stop learning techniques and improving her skills. Working in the new normal, she enrolled in online classes at the Art Students League, New York.

“My bedtime hours were reversed because of the time difference between New York and Manila,” she said. “It was also difficult to go out and draw live subjects because of the restrictions of the pandemic, so I had to improvise at home based on my imagination and homemade compositions.”

Connie Quirino painting in Anilao, Batangas in 2021
Connie Quirino painting in Anilao, Batangas in 2021

Quirino is a single mom with four “wonderful” sons – chefs Paul and Chuck, US military staff sergeant Curtis Christopher, youngest Daniel – and is a doting grandma to three granddaughters, Kisses, Zoie and Arya

“When this pandemic is over, I’d like to travel to the US and visit my son, Christopher, who is based in Colorado, as well as my sister, Cecilia, in New York. I would also love to go back to art school in Manhattan [New York].”

“My kids tell me to be happy, stay healthy, and remind me that failures are lessons in life and to keep on going because they makes me a better person, a better artist,” she said.

Quirino unveils her new works in “Bold and Beautiful,” her second solo exhibit that opens on July 7 at Fashion Interiors Philippines on Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. The exhibit runs from July 8 to 30.

Connie Quirino (middle) with sister Cory (left) and Michaela Phiffer, curator of Fashion Interiors Philippines
Connie Quirino (middle) with sister Cory (left) and Michaela Phiffer, curator of Fashion Interiors Philippines

She opted for that title “simply because life is beautiful and one must be bold enough to seize it,” she explained. “Also, my subjects in this exhibit cover nudes, plein air, seascapes, landscapes, still life and portraiture from life. They all depict what is pleasing to the eyes.”