My first one-man show in 1972 at the Hidalgo Gallery in Makati City offered more than fifty black and white drawings. It is an interpretation of Filipino home and still lifes. Most of my artworks are meticulously detail with a high quality of draftsmanship. It demands a special immense of knowledge and discipline. The other qualities to consider is the imagination and inventiveness. Pen & ink is a precise medium, like music or mathematics.
From the words of the late National Artist Alejandro R. Roces, “It is not surprising that the Art Association of the Philippines competition and exhibition in 1972, Baldemor’s pen & ink drawing won a major award competing with the oil, acrylic and watercolor painting.” The late art critic Leonidas V. Benesa observed: “No other Filipino artist had explored the recesses of the folk consciousness as Baldemor has done. Is there such a thing as Filipino identity? The works of Baldemor are an affirmative answer.”
From the time I garnered another Grand Prize Award in 1973 (at the age of 25) from an epic mural of pen & ink, I engaged relentlessly in artistic pursuits, not ever laying down my pen, brush and easel.
My wanderlust begun in 1975 when I got the British Council Grant in London then I traveled to France and Germany. The odyssey continued with invitations from other government agencies. My artistic international exposure and
exhibitions gave me a lot of exploring all the possibilities of working on different mediums such as acrylic, oil, fine prints and watercolor. Keeping on the right track of searching and possibilities, pen & ink is still my favorite medium. I was so aware, curious, excited with watercolor and colored pen & ink drawings and through such discipline and experience, I discovered the philosophical distinction of lines, colors and forms characterized by harmony.
The coursing flows of lines and strokes gives life to the simplest non- figurative forms similar to the musicality of the whole unit which the eye wanders without obstruction. Inspiration has always come to me from my surroundings and translated my emotions, my feelings and sensibilities into painting and poetry.
In these relationships thru research and hard works I discovered the science of philosophy and the mystery of harmony. By eliminating some figurative design, the art of Zen appears.
The less is more.
– Manuel D. Baldemor April 2023
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