2021 was a particularly unique year to our family. And it wasn’t only because of the pandemic but also because we lived a large part of the year in the town province of San Juan, La Union. What was meant to be a two-week visit to surftown for my birthday almost immediately transitioned to Kayo and I apartment-hunting and very spontaneously deciding to settle indefinitely. We thought it was a good way for us to get out of the harrowing conditions in Manila and at the same time, give our children a more healthy and carefree environment. So we did. And we have been living in La Union for ten months now.
In the course of our stay here, I have completed another 100 Day Project — a creative online challenge I take part in every year since 2015. This latest one, I feel, is a reflection of what life has been like for us in La Union. In a playful and abstract way, I turned it into an avenue to document the little joys and pleasures of living so close to nature. It became my way to capture the interesting things happening around me on a daily basis and, at the same time, express my feelings and frustrations toward the pandemic, our incompetent government, being away from loved ones, loss and loneliness — a rollercoaster of emotions!
I did keep a journal this entire time in La Union and tried to describe my experiences in words but there is something both very intimate and freeing about painting them instead. From the fluttering shadows leaves make on the ground as sunlight hits the trees to the migratory birds swooping across the orange skies; from the sound of my children’s giggles to the overwhelming crashing of the waves; From the critters that creep into our apartment to the welcome company of friends at sunset — bits and pieces of these made their mark on my amateur abstract paintings, minute details I unknowingly hold on to.
Each day brought to light something new about life. Though it wasn’t always easy, it gave me pleasure to just play with color and indistinct forms. Looking back, I realized this project was a journey to discover the world around me like I have never really seen it before, but at the same time, it was also pretty much like a journey inward, into my thoughts, my hopes, my truths.
You may view all 100 paintings by checking out #100PlayfulAbstractsbyNica on Instagram.
My previous 100 Day Projects: