WAYWARD AND FANCIFUL: Ritzel takes Pantawan Hall By Gail Ilagan

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/9 March) – She used to paint. In fact, she exhibited 22 years ago. That was some time before she became a lawyer, got married, had kids, and left her paintbrushes out to dry.

Between juggling the demands of work and home, we can well imagine that the luxury of time – such as is required for creativity to germinate and leisurely unfold – became rarer and rarer. The artist on hiatus moves through the world, noting the details, the mind consciously filing snapshots of every day for that moment some time in the future when she could give herself the license to retreat and recreate that which her mind’s eye sees. But something out there is bound to make the pulse quicken. In that moment, her soul responds.

“My spirit is awakened whenever I encounter a good subject,” she says.

By good subject she means people whose demeanor conveys character – a wizened old lady who seems to have lived forever, a young boy delighting in landing a fish, or the awkward, fleeting grace of a prepubescent girl who is yet to know she has to say goodbye to a well-loved childhood toy.

I have never seen her watercolors before until her proud husband handed me an invitation to her exhibit. Until then I’d only thought of her as the loving lawyer-wife who finds my take of the world kooky. Indeed, she smiles in seeming understanding when she sees me walking around lost in my absent-minded professor daze as I try to rearrange stuff between my ears. She knows, too, where I go to sneak a smoke, though she’ll never tell. And now I know why.

I thought she was lawyering as she went in an out of my peripheral vision over the years. But I see her strokes and it tells me that while she doesn’t intrude, here’s an empathetic soul who captures the texture of everyday. She looks out, rather than in. And like a tuning fork, she resonates with the emotional tone to people and events.

How much time does it take to draw a picture? How much longer does it take if one has to wait for the colors to dry before adding another layer?

Working with watercolors, she learned the value of patience and had been rewarded by it a hundredfold. The medium. The subjects. Her work. They tell you that.

Three days beginning 17 March 2011, catch Ritzel C. Rabor-Polinar’s Gallery of Details exhibit at the Pantawan Hall, Casino Filipino at Grand Regal Hotel in Lanang.

(Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan’s column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to gail@mindanews.com. “Send at the risk of a reply,” she says.)