Tete-aTete: Tom Allison Verano
(The Wise Owl chats with Tom Allison Verano)
The Wise Owl has an interesting chat with Tom Allison Verano, a passionate, self-taught freelance artist who uses varied mediums like watercolours, graphite pencils, ink and acrylic paint etc. Tom’s expertise and inclination is to paint portraits, mainly female faces. He has served as an Art teacher in Dindee Kindergarten School, Vientiane, Laos in 2016-2017 where he taught basic arts to pre-school and kindergarten students. He also worked in Dream School and Dream Center, Bokeo, Laos where he was happy to impart his expertise to grade school and high school students. Tom has won the Department of Trade and Industry painting contest (2007) and Civil Registration painting contest (2008) held by the Philippines Government. He was declared Artist of the Year in 2008. He is currently residing in Baler, Aurora in Philippines where he is pursuing his passion for the arts full time.
Thanks, Tom, for talking to The Wise Owl.
Q. Our readers would like to know how and when you decided to pursue creative art? What were the major artistic influences in your life?
A. I got interested in drawing as early as 7 years old. Growing up I really dreamed about studying Fine Arts. And what influences me to draw is the animated cartoons in the television, and why I really love drawing and painting human faces.
Q. Please tell us about your artistic journey.
A. I was in 2nd grade when I discovered that I have a talent in drawing, and since then I draw almost everyday in summer, or whenever I have time and even in school. I started copying Marvel characters, and Dragon Ball Z characters. I honestly don’t know how to colour my drawings until I was 14 years old, only because I became one of the students who are representing our school in poster making contests during my high school. I was in college year 2010 when I first tried to draw a real human face using charcoal pencils. After I graduated in 2014, I started to be more serious on practicing and discovered watercolour painting. Year 2015 I started to do commissioned works. Then 2 years later, when I was in Vientiane, Laos I started to combine ink and watercolour. Until now, I’m still learning, still experimenting and discovering my own art style.
Q. You use varied mediums like watercolours, graphite pencils, ink and acrylic paint. Which is your favourite medium?
A. Watercolour is my favourite, because it’s fun, and exciting. It’s unpredictable, and challenging at the same time.
Q. Looking at your work it is clear that you are partial to painting portraits. What attracted you to this form of art?
A. Well, I am really attracted on human faces, women faces to be more specific. I like capturing the emotions of my subjects, especially the eyes. It was always challenging.
Q. Your work ‘The Laotian Girl’ is beautiful and reflects a pandemic afflicted milieu as it shows a young girl with a mask. Did the pandemic impact your art?
A. The pandemic really impacted my art. My reference for that painting was a photo taken last 2020, from one of our school’s outreaches in the countryside villages. When I saw that photo I feel like I really need to paint it. That child’s smile is so genuine and pure, that even in the midst of the pandemic and the poverty in their country, there’s always a reason to be grateful and happy.
Q. Who is your favourite artist? What is it about your favourite artist that you find the most compelling?
A. My favourite artist is Agnes Cecile. I just like her loose style of watercolour painting. How she express the emotions of her subjects in each of her masterpiece. Her style is unique, I was really amazed by her works.
Q. Budding artists who are reading this chat would love to know what kind of paper, colours and brushes you use in your paintings. Do you have any quick tips for upcoming artists?
A. Right now I’m using Canson Montval, Fabriano and Baohong watercolour papers. For watercolours I use Daniel Smith watercolours. For brushes I only use synthetic brushes in various sizes, since I can’t really afford artists grade brushes because they are too expensive for me. For upcoming artists, like me, all I can say is, just do what makes you feel like yourself. Enhance and develop what God has given you. And don’t stop creating. You’ll never know how far can your gift and talent can bring you in the future.
Q. You have a vibrant Facebook page where you display your artwork. Our readers would be eager to know if you are planning any exhibitions of your work in the near future.
A. I recently joined the Artists Association in our province. We have an ongoing exhibit. But, since I am a new member, I didn’t get the chance to join the exhibit. But probably we will have another art show somewhere in the middle of the year.
Thank you, Tom, for talking to The Wise Owl. Here is wishing you the best in your creative pursuits. Keep your followers happy with your beautiful and delicate artwork.