Singer, businesswoman, decorator, hotelier and evangelist, Kuh Ledesma has discovered that a sense of purpose is the deepest expression of the heart and soul. Recently, she rekindled her passion for painting, which conveys her innermost feelings.
On Sept. 12, she will hold a preview of her exhibit, “Unexpected,” at Whitespace, followed by a full exhibit starting Sept. 13.
The themes are metaphors of life and studies in flat shapes, bold colors, and curvilinear and rectangular patterns. She describes her style as “abstract,” mostly broad strokes sweeping across the canvas.
“I do a lot of lines,” she said. “I’ve got black and gold, colorful and white themes.”
It’s an oft-repeated story, how she loved painting in her youth but got sidetracked to a musical career.
“The success made me focus on music,” she said. Now at an age which she doesn’t want to reveal, she taught herself how to paint, and is learning the business of selling her art.
On how she got serious about painting, she quoted the parable of the talents, about the master who gave his three servants talents (a form of currency) according to their skills. One received eight talents, the second received four and the last received one.
When the master met them again, the two who increased their talents were rewarded, while the one who received one talent and hid it in the ground was penalized for laziness.
The moral is to make the most of what was given us, she said.
Ledesma seeks Divine Guidance by waking up at 5 a.m., and starting the day with a thanksgiving prayer and Bible study. She would paint for as long as 10 hours in a makeshift studio at Hacienda Isabella in Cavite, or in her home in Mandaluyong.
Some paintings were washed in black and embellished with swirling gold patterns. Ledesma said they were allusions to the blackened soul being transformed into gold by God’s purifying powers.
Others were abstractions of a broken cello, compositions of rectangular patterns and flowers.
“When I visit museums abroad, I would look at the paintings more closely and examine their detail and textures. In modern art, anything is possible,” she said. “A painter paints from the inside. It’s the sum total of what you’ve experienced. When you’re connected with God, you paint the things that will glorify Him.”
Ledesma cited that aside from painting, decorating was a childhood talent. She drew master plans of communities and building perspectives.
The talent for interior design was put to good use when Hacienda Isabella was built.
The place was a small five-bedroom farmhouse on a 4.5-hectare property in Mendes, Cavite. When a friend held his wedding at the garden, guests started making inquiries for possible bookings, and Ledesma saw the business potential.
Today, the 50-room property consists of 12 buildings and a swimming pool.
Ledesma favored a rustic look, with whitewashed walls and cement floors emphasizing the time-worn look of the antique furniture and the exaggerated proportions of their replicas. All the beds are framed with sheer curtains.
Over time, she added color, such as sand tones for the Marrakesh room and red for the Chinoise.
“I started with Balinese and a lot of Filipino antiques, then it went on to other diverse styles,” she said.
On hindsight, Ledesma is grateful for how the Bible has taught her how to multiply her talents. “It’s a powerhouse for lessons on how to live an abundant life.”
Whitespace is at 2314, Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati City.