How did your love for art start?
Behind the canvas and paint brushes is me - painter and illustrator - Jesamine V. Totañes (JVTotañes, 1982) born in Butuan City, Philippines, based in Assen, The Netherlands. When I moved to Europe for love, I fell in love with Europe’s art and culture. Finding a job back then was difficult, so I initially took part in a local art class and hobby shop. Then I opened a business where my artwork can be viewed online, in local galeries, exhibits and art market. I eventually became a freelance creative instructor.
A fan of Frida Khalo and Gustav Klimt, I paint still-life, portraits, animal and cityscapes with lots of bold colours and contrast. I carry a sketchjournal wherever I go and record memories through sketches.
What initiatives, projects or work have you done or doing to further your art?
I became a member of Urban Sketchers Netherlands, a group of global illustrators who gather monthly to capture what we see through sketches. We inspire members to share their work through official social media urban sketchers group. The Filipino community in the Netherlands hold special events every now and then and I collaborate with them by donating a painting for a cause.
How are you using your talent at this time of a pandemic?
Since 2016, I’ve been conducting workshops as well as sketch journaling. Both are always funpacked but all of a sudden, the world stopped caused by a corona virus pandemic. So did my creative workshops of 6 events lined up for May 2020. Hectic schedules turned into waiting moments, stuck at home. Did they say lockdowns create opportunities?
My creative me posted on Instagram and Facebook a 14 day-quarantine sketch challenge which asked: #whatsindahouse? It’s simply sketching anything one finds inside the house - a stack of shoes, laundry, food for dinner, etc.
What feedback have you received?
Positive reactions rolled in from social media, gaining sketchers from Spain, Denmark, Italy, India, USA, Asia and more. As excitement grew on, a 30-day challenge came next throughout April calling it, “The Social Distance Sketch Challenge. Inspired by this enthusiasm, a “Final Sketch Challenge” followed in May.
Meanwhile I was giving free online livestream painting workshops on Facebook and Instagram to guide and enhance skills. The list I made inspired a Corona sketchbook, diary and sketch journal. Anxiety turned into excitement, worries into laughter and hopelessness into faith - all while staying home.
Due to its popularity, local newspaper Dagblad van het Noorden featured #whatsindahouse sketch challenge in the news. ABS-CBN Global news carried the same balita with Jofelle Tesorio, and GMA’s 24 Oras with Oscar Oida.
Where can our readers e-connect with you for sketch lessons or painting tips?
See instagram artist account @jesamine|_creates
Youtube account with step by step artwork, tips and tricks
Visit my portfolio: www.jvtotanes.com