May 28, 2024

Many say one could never go wrong in abstract painting.
And this has never been truer for Claire Torres-Jaun, who knows she never went wrong in deciding to follow her passion for creativity via abstract artwork in her early 60s, which would later become her medium in helping paint a better future for abandoned kids and those who may have lost hope for having less in life.
After putting family first, Claire got the push from her husband and two daughters themselves who told her three years ago it was time for her to pursue her passion and provided her all the things she needed to start painting as a Christmas present.
Known as one who always fixed and designed everything in their house, has eyes for beauty, and wants things to be perfect, it was only a matter of time and for Claire to create hundreds of huge and fascinating abstract paintings, which led to her first major exhibit in the Philippines, organized and presented in Baguio City on March 15, in time for the Women’s Month celebration.
The exhibit, entitled “Claire: A Woman’s Artistic Awakening,” presents 45 art pieces that embody Claire’s intense passion for art and knack for throwing random colors on the canvas and combining them just as what her heart, feelings, basic techniques, and own style would dictate.
“Each result, whatever I would come out with, is always a mystery, and that what makes it fascinating to me, because I enjoy it,” Claire said.
Having the usual “tantrum” of an abstract artist of throwing paint colors on the canvas – never small but always a huge one – and always being messy, Claire is never one to use a pencil but only two main tools –a palette knife and a brush, sometimes recycled paper and plastic in spreading acrylic.
Whatever it the outcome would be, she would always wait for art to unfold in all its unique glory.
Her art pieces, which mostly are spectacular combinations of strong colors, are results of Claire’s style which she said she had never learned from school, but came from following her feelings, ones that are not copied even after seeing the styles and works of others.
“I just throw the paint. What comes later on, comes. That’s what I follow, not my mind. What really comes out, I never expect. The works are the ones telling me what to do,” she said.
And the rest as they say is history.
But what she wanted to do with her works was never random.
Claire has remained closely in touch with her roots in Narvacan and Sta. Maria in Ilocos Sur while also regularly travelling to reside in Baguio City and in Zurich, Switzerland where her husband Heinz owns and manages a construction company.
Swinging back and forth their three homes, Claire put up a charity foundation called Ayat Saranay Ylocos, which she founded and dedicated to the plight of the less fortunate and children who have no parents, and to which all the proceeds from her exhibits go.
Through the foundation, Claire would fund food drives and provide assistance to sectors in need.
Her 40 years of acquaintance with Ibaloy artist Roland Bay-an and other members of the Baguio arts circle would later lead Claire to an introduction to Maricar Docyogen, one of the founders of Pasa-kalye Group of Artists that promotes the causes of home-grown talents and also organizes fund raising drives for various causes such as assisting patients undergoing dialysis and those with serious medical condition.
This year, their collaboration gave birth to the Claire: A Woman’ Artistic Awakening exhibit presented by the PGA and curated by Baguio artists Julius Baniqued, Angelica Rosalin and Roshelle Bakisan in partnership with SM City Baguio where the arts show runs from March to April 30 at its Exhibit Hall.
Claire said most of its proceeds will be donated to support PGA’s causes while some will go to her foundation in Narvacan, where some of works are also housed.
“I’m happy I can invest my time for my passion and at the same time do something that would help people. That makes me quite proud because I have knowledge I could use to do something worthwhile, while also having the time to do my painting that people could appreciate,” she said.
Claire said being a woman of her age who is able to pursue her craft may prove it is never too late to follow one’s passion, especially among women, young and old, who still have not figure out a meaningful interest.
“I encourage them to do something really worthwhile, like painting, and it’s never too late to start. It’s always nice to learn something, they just have to find their time and have motivation,” she said.
And like Bay-an’s motto, Claire urged those who are into painting to never stop doing art until they are able and making one final masterpiece until they breathe their last. – Hanna C. Lacsamana