Colors in Reflection
September 20 – December 7, 2007

montalban trees (1982) by fred liongorenThe Museum features this second term an exhibition titled Colors in Reflection - an exhibition that will showcase watercolor artworks on a wide variety of subjects by various Filipino artists. In the challenging realm of watercolor painting, artists' memories and emotions are visualized through colors and images.

Featured works are from the Wili and Doreen Fernandez, DLSU Art Gallery Collections and invited Filipino watercolorists namely Angel Cacnio, Fernando Catague, Edgar Doctor, Elmer Gernale, Fred Liongoren, and Steve Santos.

The objective of the exhibition is to give the viewers an opportunity to learn the significance of watercolor as a creative and permanent painting media with its transparency, translucency, and brilliance effect on various grounds or surfaces.

List of Artists

Wili and Doreen Fernandez Art Collection

  1. Carlos "Botong" Francisco
  2. Arturo Luz
  3. Vicente Manansala
  4. Rodolfo Ragodon
  5. Oscar Zalameda

DLSU Art Gallery Collection

  1. Lovely Abiva
  2. Allen Antonio
  3. Cirilo Bautista
  4. Ely Gajo
  5. Anita Magsaysay-Ho
  6. Benito Sabio

Invited Filipino Watercolorists

  1. Angel Cacnio
  2. Fernando Catague
  3. Edgar Doctor
  4. Elmer Gernale
  5. Fred Liongoren
  6. Steve Santos

Exhibition Notes

by Susan De Guzman

WATERCOLOR, art critic Leo Benesa once wrote, is "usually considered as the most recalcitrant of the painting media". It is indeed a fitting description because this medium – "watercolour" in British English and "aquarelle" in French – is a difficult one to master. The nature of watercolor is such that it requires deftness of hand and confidence in both the mixing and the application of pigments. There is no room for miscalculation or hesitation as the volatile mixture can easily run, leading to unsightly splotches and blots that can no longer be corrected.

Art books indicate that watercolor painting has its roots in ancient times. Its manifestations are said to include the cave paintings of Paleolithic Europe and the manuscript illuminations dating back to Egyptian times and, later on, the European Middle Ages. However, its continuous history as an art medium is said to have begun during the Renaissance period. Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) is considered among its earliest exponents.

Though the most common support for watercolor is paper, it has also been executed on papyrus, bark paper, plastic, vellum, leather, fabric, wood and canvas – each material no doubt challenging the dexterity of the watercolorist.

friends forever (2004) by fernando catagueBotanical and wildlife illustrations such as those made by Durer and John James Audubon are regarded as the oldest and most important tradition in watercolor painting. Artists who captured every detail and nuance of plant and animal life were known to be the most thorough and accomplished watercolor painters.

In the 18th century, watercolor painting developed simultaneously on many fronts in England. It became a hallmark of a good education in the aristocratic class, particularly for women, but it was similarly deemed significant by mapmakers, military officers and engineers for its value in illustrating properties and terrain. Watercolor painting similarly gained inroads in travel journals. All these led to watercolor being promoted as a distinctly English "national art".

In the United States, watercolor painting became popular in the United States during the mid-19th century, with various art groups devoted solely to producing works using this medium.

Watercolor is also known as a traditional medium in China and Japan, with delicate portraits of the Orient being rendered primarily on scrolls. Art rendered in this manner – with its notions of meditation and philosophy – continues to this day and even beyond the borders of its origins.

In the Philippine setting, as far as watercolor painting is concerned, artists have been influenced by both its Western and Oriental advocates. Chinese brushwork is practiced mostly by female expatriates and high-society matrons  under the tutelage of a professor of Chinese art. The themes tend to center on the traditional themes of flowers. Those hewing to the western style, on the other hand, infuse their renditions with local flavor, motifs and colors.

Artists' groups devoted to watercolor have sprouted through time in the country. National Artist Vicente Manansala, for one, is known as the father of the Samahang Tubiglay (tubig-kulay). Critic Leo Benesa supposes that it was probably Manansala's experience in the watercolor medium in the late '40s and '50s that gave him the idea of "transparent cubism" for his oils. Art masters like Ireneo Miranda and Diosdado Lorenzo also made their mark with watercolor. Another National Artist, Carlos "Botong" Francisco, is recognized for the spontaneity of his watercolor compositions.

Today, corporate-sponsored art competitions are nurturing watercolor painting by having a category specially dedicated to it. In this field, however, perhaps the best known contest of all is the Kulay sa Tubig organized by Gallery Genesis. Now on its 24th year, the invitational juried event held annually has yielded the country's most skilled watercolorists.


Benesa, Leo. "Towards a Watercolor Movement" and "The Master from Angono" from the book "What is Philippine about Philippine Art? and Other Essays". National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2000.

Alice G. Guillermo. "Color in Philippine Life and Art". Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino, Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas, 1992.

"Watercolor Painting."

mabuting ina (1996) by angel cacnioCollateral Activities

  • Lecture on The Art of Watercolor by Mr. Angel Cacnio will be held on October 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.  The lecture will focus on the historical perspective and insights of the artist in using watercolor as a medium of his creative works
  • A workshop on Basic Watercolor Painting by Fernando Catague will be  held on November 14 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.  The participants will be challenge of the use of watercolor as medium to create an artwork by knowing and applying the basic techniques in watercolor painting.

The DLSU community, as well as students and professors from other colleges and universities in Metro Manila like UP, PWU, TUP, etc. are invited to the activites.