The Accidental Artist
PR consultant Jingjing V. Romero has assumed many roles in life. From founding a 25-year old PR business, to being mother and grandmother, the spirited sixtysomething has also just faced down breast cancer.
Today, she adds “artist” to a profile already full of achievements.
Jingjing mounted her first solo exhibit titled Postcards from Mamita, paintings created from memories and reflections on her numerous international travels. The collection of paintings was on exhibit at The Wellington Centre on 32nd and 4th at the Bonifacio Global City opened on July 25 until Aug. 8.
“Originally I planned to write a collection of travel vignettes for my grandkids to get to know me better when they grow up. I thought it would be a lasting memento for them to show their kids too, to remember me when I am long gone,” she said.
Her children compiled the first paintings into a family photo book dubbed Postcards from Mamita, from which the exhibits got its name.
Midway through painting, while fighting the pain and fog of chemotherapy and radiation, Jingjing realized it could be something more. The paintings gained a larger purpose beyond sharing her globe-trekking spirit to her family.
Postcards from Mamita became a commitment to support the Catholic priesthood, specifically, to send scholars from the dioceses of Cabanatuan and San Jose, Nueva Ecija to the seminary.
Jingjing traces her roots in Nueva Ecija. She had already sent two scholars to the seminary, and one had even graduated and became a Rogationist missionary in Africa.
Jingjing’s cousin, Bishop Oscar Azarcon-Solis, head of the Salt Lake City Catholic Diocese, and a graduate of the Maria Assumpta Seminary in Nueva Ecija, welcomed the project. She likewise gained support from renowned artist Betsy Westendorp, a good friend and art adviser. Willie C. Soong, “the father of luxury car brands in the country,” generously lent The Wellington Centre for the exhibit.
Jingjing began painting only in March this year, fulfilling a childhood dream. She had thought of making 65 paintings before her 65th birthday. On days free from doctor’s appointments, client calls, press events, and flights to other destinations, she painted more remembered things and experienced places. A bird bath in Talinn, Estonia; a medieval castle in Germany; a spring valley in Israel; her breakfast in Kuala Lumpur; the Polish countryside; a hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia all remembered in vivid colors on her canvases. Her travels and painting will continue, as will her recovery.
Notes on ‘Postcards from Mamita’
By Jingjing Romero
I started learning to paint to fulfill a childhood dream. Though rather late, the timing seemed perfect. I had acupuncture and painting to distract me from the pain and discomfort of chemo and radiation treatments.
From March 25, 2017 to the present, on days without client calls or press events, I spent my waking moments putting on canvas happy memories of my travels. I have surpassed my 65-paintings-by-age-65 goal, as I now have 73 paintings in my portfolio.
Originally I wanted to write my autobiography highlighting my travels for my grandkids to get to know me better. Now it’s a travel journal. I thought it would be a lasting memento for them to show their kids too, to remember me as their “frequent flyer” mamita. What a happy coincidence that I was able to include illustrations in this travel journal for them! Suddenly, I am also an accidental artist.
Twenty nine of the 73 artworks have been bought by a number of friends. I hope the collection will be sold out since I want to resume sending seminarians to school. My last three scholars (a Voice major, a niece and a nephew) have graduated and are gainfully employed now.
About 15 years ago, I supported two seminarians from first year high school onwards. One was Fr. Jeffrey Sara Jagurin Rcj, who is now a Rogationist missionary assigned in Africa. The other one, muy guapito kasi, left just before he was to be ordained.
I would like to see more priests spreading the Gospel and defending our faith. They will be a vanishing tribe if we don’t support them now.
I have consulted my cousin, Utah-based Bishop Oscar Solis about resuming scholarships for seminarians. We talked about it before, about three years ago, but cancer and other medical issues got in the way.
Now that I am fully recovered, I would like to praise God more for His infinite goodness. If I sell all the paintings, I would have raised enough funds for three seminarian scholarships.
(All paintings on exhibit were sold on the day Postcards from Mamita opened. ---- Ed.)
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