Monday, March 31, 2008

Behind the Scenes: Painting Poverty

Posted on behalf of Scott Cotter.

I admit it. I don’t have a stitch of artistic talent. None.

I’ve tried my hand at water colors, oils, pottery, sculpting, sketching and anything else you can think of. I guess it’s just not happening for me.

That’s why talented painters like Lynyrd Paras have always amazed me. They take something they see in their heads and will their hands to create it. Whereas I see images in my head but when my brain sends the signal to my hands, they interpret it much differently than how I imagined it.

And consider this. Lynyrd grew up in what he professes to be very painful circumstances. Hunger, stress, scarce resources, despair. These were the calling cards of his childhood. For many, whatever inspiration they had, whatever dreams flickered to life in a situation like that, soon dies along with hopes for anything better.

Not so for Lynyrd. He found the storyline for his paintings in the poverty he witnessed as a child. And he credits sponsorship with helping him tell that story.

Now, amazingly, he paints incredible, deeply personal images that speak to people everywhere, and he has become quite popular among Philippines celebrities. In fact, he held a public showing in Manila recently and walked away empty handed. That is, he had no paintings left to carry back to his Manila studio after selling every single piece.

Now he has been booked for another show and is busily trying to create new images to share with others.

It’s quite a leap from poor kid growing up in a rural part of the Philippines, relying on sponsorship to fill in the gaps, to becoming a well-known artist with a growing international reputation.

But Lynyrd is definitely up to the task.

Starting Tuesday afternoon, April 1, please visit our home page, take a few minutes to look through the pictures taken during his recent showing and let us know what you think of his skill with the brush.

Scott Cotter has been a writer with Children International since 2001. To read more articles by Scott, please visit and browse our archives.


Anonymous said...

You may not know it, but many families with "nowhere" to go are more than grateful of the help they get especially from total strangers like the CI folks and the sponsors.

Human spirit during these times is really amazing.

friarminor said...

I remember Lynyrd, from the time he was just a kid participating in our very first art contest and just a few months ago reading about him as a featured artist in the weekend mag of the leading Phil daily.

Really is such a talent and kudos to CI for paving the way for him to realize his potentials.

[fmr CI, Manila staff who in his heart still is]