I am Consuelo Diaz, a watercolor enthusiast from the Philippines and an avid learner in the wonderful world of illustration arts (follow me on Instagram!). I graduated from the university with a business degree many years ago and worked in a financial institution for a few years until I started a family.
While raising my children, a daughter and a son, I helped my husband in running a restaurant and volunteered in my children’s school, teaching crafts-making in the girls’ club. I also volunteered at a center that grants 2-year vocational course scholarships to deserving students from low-income families where I taught basic baking, math, and entrepreneurial subjects.
When the children were a little older and my husband went back to working in the corporate world, I went back to the university to pursue a Master’s degree in Child Development. I worked as a preschool teacher soon after.
Aside from the immediate rewards of teaching young children, another favorite part in my teaching career was designing and drawing stage backdrops during school programs which made the school director think I was qualified to handle the art classes in one summer program despite the fact that I had no formal training in art. I taught basic drawing and art appreciation to young children using my artist friend’s syllabus and lesson plans and had a most enjoyable summer that year.
When we moved to our new home in the suburbs, which was far from the school where I worked, I had to give up teaching altogether. After a few years, when my children were working and moved to their own place, I was left with too much time in my hands, more so when they eventually migrated to Australia. And so began my belated foray into the creative world of art and retirement and an ‘empty nest’ were some of the reasons behind it.
My daughter, who was into watercolor painting at that time, encouraged me to sketch and paint with the medium and fill up sketchbooks and journals with my drawings and writing that she could someday compile into a book. A year and a half ago, I started drawing the things that I knew best; things that I treasured most and held dear in my heart.
My favorite things to draw are montages of the my family’s most memorable trips and activities, favorite foods and food haunts, and treasured objects around the house. I have also started on my project of illustrating birds and medicinal plants, most of them endemic to the Philippines.
My daughter has since moved on to colored pencils and pastels, her current favorite medium nowadays, which left me with the sole use of an assortment of Holbein watercolor paints, watercolor brushes and other paraphernalia.
I prefer to work on sketchbooks, both store-bought and handmade ones. I make line drawings with an ink pen (for cold pressed and smooth paper) or a graphite pencil (for rough paper) before I add washes of watercolor. Since I am self-taught, I learn the rudiments of my craft from books and from the works of the artists I follow on social media sites.
More than a year into my craft and it still is a constant series of hits and misses with more of the latter happening. But, I am still enjoying myself so much at the moment that it only takes a few encouraging words from friends to put me back on the creative track. I make sure to get fresh doses of inspiration and ideas from the works of the artists I follow on social media. I like to read art blogs, too, mostly for the reviews of art materials and for some helpful drawing and painting tips from very generous, talented artists.
At first, I was content to be spending time at home doing this most satisfying activity without any pressure to excel or to become a serious painter. I just wanted a way to document my own life, to find pleasurable ways of self-expression and to make good use of my free time. Now, I believe that the ultimate joy in a creative life could be in honing and bettering my craft, the possibility of a career in art no matter how late in life, and belonging to a group of like-minded creatives in the pursuit of these art goals.