When stock market maven Trina Kalaw invited me to an art exhibit opening last week, I did not know that it would take me on a nostalgic trip.
What a reunion it turned out to be! The artist, Linda Rodriguez-Angeles, and I happened to be both Ateneo ROTC corps sponsors during our college days. She studied in St. Paul’s, and I in UP, and since Ateneo was an all-boys’ school then, the Ateneans searched for muses in other school campuses.
“I recall our ROTC field parades were held early in the morning, and under the sunlight, the cadets were saluting us,” Linda said.
I remember very well Linda’s exceptional beauty. And I now see that same kind of beauty in her three daughters, Geline Bugayong, Angela Garcia, and Monica Angeles, who were present during the exhibit at Chef Jessie in Rockwell.
Her husband, Vicente Angeles, passed away nine years ago, after which Linda, never one to waste time, engaged in productive passions. But it was only during the pandemic that Linda started painting.
She did not have formal art training though she took up a few rendering subjects in fine arts in UST and in Madrid as well. But she was an art lover, having collected a few paintings from some of her favorite artists like Isabel Diaz, Legaspi, Edgar Doctor, HR Ocampo, and Olazo.
“I asked the Lord to give me the skills so I could offer my paintings for a cause,” Linda explains. “I am familiar with Fr. Manoling Francisco’s works, so I thought I could donate proceeds to help the marginalized.”
The exhibit gave Chef Jessie’s resto a garden atmosphere as her artworks, all 50 of them, were floral. “I chose flowers because they are gentle and attractive, soothing and beautiful. Our country and the world were going through the dark ages during the pandemic, so I thought flowers would bring happiness to people who saw them.”
Architect-interior designer Ramon Antonio, who attended the exhibit, remarked: “Linda’s paintings make beautiful decorations for the home.”
Maribel Calma bought two of her paintings. “And I was so surprised that her husband, Pabling Calma, who has an eye for art, approved of them,” smiled Linda.
Giving their nod were interior designer-sisters Cynthia and Ivy Almario, who cut the ribbon with artist-designer Budji Layug.
“The wind beneath my wings were my daughters, who take photos of my artworks whenever they visit me, and post these on social media. And so friends would call me up and inquire about my works. My sisters Marilou Laurena and Tess Alba would instill confidence in me, as they would come over and ransack my paintings for a song.”
All-out support was evident from her relatives, including the gracious Trina, whose late husband Teddyboy Kalaw III was Linda’s cousin.
Linda was always into creative pursuits, doing a few interiors before she got married. Then she was into build-and-sell, but wanting to devote more time to her kids, she opened a small dress shop where she designed dresses and girly stuff like hair accessories and lace suspenders.
When her daughters stopped wearing petticoats. Linda shifted to doing Christmas decor, landscaping, fancy jewelry and gift wrapping. She hand-painted eggs and put them into birds’ nests for decor and parties. Until one time, the eggs hatched, and fast forward, she flew to her next passion: painting.
This art exhibit showed me a work of art: a woman who is restlessly creative, passionate and fearless about discovering what she can achieve, while having nobility of purpose in what she enjoys doing.