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FIELDS OF GOLD | Henry Lao Ordoña

In the tradition of Mabini artists Fernando Amorsolo and Oscar Ramos, Henry Ordoña is the contemporary cross-over of these two great masters of landscape and portraiture.

Quiet and peaceful rice fields abound the landscape perspective. F. Amorsolo’s most popular subject, “Rice Planting,” in bright, optimistic and pastoral images are, so to speak, re-mastered in fresh canvases; a becoming chinita provincial lass wearing very modest clothes and a most endearing smile becomes the main viewpoint of the painting.

Wordless, she would look at us and reveal her poetic beauty. She conveys in her delicate proportion such respect that can only belong to a woman. Motionless, she walks in natural grace in spontaneous movement. There is no better good feeling for us than to honorably be with the finer side of a maria clara and her traditional values; yet without her giving any semblance that she is ritualistically dressed like a chapel and possibly with a symbolic scheme of wings. She is a beautiful love story!

She is beautiful not because the artist wanted her to be beautiful for our visual pleasure and emotional attachment. She is beautiful because she is the sanctuary of the artist’s soul. The titles of the paintings taken from Psalms and Songs are considered the natural symbolic value of Ordoña’s painting.

She is beautiful also because of the exactness of the strokes capturing the distinct Filipina. The light and shade and shadows on her face have the truly artful and masterful hand of the artist, just that of Oscar Ramos. Henry Ordoña being himself, the beautiful young woman becomes herself.

The perfect landscape is evidently native to the point of conventionality that, in all senses, has the breeze and smell and sound of the provincial ricefield. The truest kind of the simple treasures of the landscape lead us to the purest imagination and description of happy, peaceful lives of the townsfolk at work or at rest . . . The idyllic landscape is not symbolic or much less mythological to be against modernity. It only depicts the window of the artist’s thoughts, which are all in praise of the true, the good and the beautiful.

Artists become great because they are symbolic without knowing it. Like his mentors, Henry Ordoña can become great one day. He combines the good-scene of the young, beautiful woman with the back-scene of a peaceful landscape. He is no small artist content with his art, but can become a great artist content with nothing except everything about the painting. His art startles not only because each tiny variation of element on his artpieces make every painting an arresting art, but because the artist marvels at the arresting dogma of truth behind every canvas he paints.

This clear and fine perception of what may be called the aesthetic element of impressionism is, undoubtedly, the work of great artists such as Fernando Amorsolo and Oscar Ramos. Considering the time of say 50 years that we may have to keep a Henry Ordoña painting before finding out if he indeed has become a master or not is a very small price to pay if we only consider the skills and talents that he now has which are akin to the masters.

Henry Ordoña can only get perfectly better through time.