The winged creatures of Tubbataha as seen by BenCab

'Green-footed Booby with Juvenile' by Bencab .Watercolor on handmade paper 2012 13" x 18"
 Hello to you unseen, unknown, (maybe also imaginary) blog readers!

I'm taking a break from activities here in northern Luzon to blog about a near-encounter with National Artist Benedicto Cabrera a few months ago during the height of the grounding of a American warship in Tubbataha Reef.

I've mentioned before that I'm uncomfortable about the idea of bringing art "down" to make it accessible to pedestrians by displaying them in commercial establishments. Still, it's a joy to live in Ortigas where malls that feature some art exhibits are just a few blocks away from my house that I can take a couple of hours or so skipping from one display to another, from mall to mall, on a free weekend afternoon.

So back to BenCab, I saw him one day being interviewed in Megamall Atrium as his works of birds are displayed around. Being a reporter myself, I wanted to approach him for ambush questions but I hesitated. While I didn't feel like working at that time, I also didn't bring witty questions to throw at him, so I abandoned my ambition of being up close with a great or risk being labeled incompetent by a popular stranger.

So I just looked around, and saw these:

'Sunset at Tubbataha' by BenCab (detail). Watercolor on handmade paper 2012 18" x 13"

The exhibit did not carry originals, of course, but the pieces did catch the attention of many passers-by just looking for a cheap buffet offering or looking to head to  the uppermost floor to attend Mass. Subtly vibrant and with a vintage color scheme, BenCab's Birds of Tubbataha series show his masterful use of the tough practice of watercolor.

The Philippine Star's Igan D'Bayan writes: "BenCab painted the watercolors in Baguio, based on his own photographs. None were done on the spot. The paper he used is a very special handmade paper we bought in Moulin de Larroque, a 13th-century paper mill in the village of Couze, in the Dordogne region in France."

Since I'm nearer Baguio this time, maybe I can finally take a peek at BenCab's museum? Let's see. Maybe tomorrow.