Written by Janet B. Villa
Art can be tricky: it demands vulnerability—for all art is autobiographical—but it could also incite vanity. There is a line that tempts artists, a line that crosses into vainglory. Beyond that line, the Latin root vanitas—meaning “emptiness”—reverberates, for while the artwork could still provide joy, something in its making is lost for the artist more preoccupied with his ego.
But what if art transcends the self? What if art and the making of it becomes a form of worship?
Then it could partake of the divine, the kind that resonates in Pinky Cruz Peralta’s “On the Edge” series of watercolor paintings.
Each dawn during the quarantine, Pinky found herself staring at the clouds as she ran. Varied, multicolor, limned by the day’s first light. Those morning runs became her prayer times. Where she wrestled with the Lord for the day’s challenges. Where He revealed His magnificence. Where He renewed His fresh mercies.
How Pinky’s blank paper came to life! Reflecting the ethereal, her cascading washes are punctuated by staccato bursts, a bright, dreamy homage to the Divine Artist. The light flares, the shadows dance on the silver lining.
Her brush speaks of the immediacy and serendipity of her watercolor. The spontaneity of her mind is in synchronous dance with her hands, all in the flow of watercolor. Nothing laborious, premeditated or tentative in her pieces. Only a boldness and energy arising not from a confidence in the self, but from a paean to the Almighty.
The easy, unaffected dynamism and freshness of her art cannot be taught. Neither can it be caught. It is experienced. Technique can help manipulate watercolor, but there is that magic moment—spiritual, in Pinky’s case—when there is less of the artist and more of the art and the Artist. Art is lived and released in that moment, right there on the edge of craft and expression, on billowing, sensuous clouds that paint the edge of heaven and earth.
Our response is almost visceral. In her watercolor Pinky discovered a language so audible that her voice can be heard in her every artwork.