I’ve known Carissa Chua-Chiaco since my freshman year in college. She was one of the first friends I made in my BFA Creative Writing block. I’m so happy we’ve stayed friends through the years — I even flew all the way to Vancouver to witness her becoming Carissa Dy as she married her wonderful Daniel!
I was drunk, ok?! HAHA. As you may have guessed, Cah is the beautiful bride in this picture. With us are our college block mates Danni and Zoe.
I first noticed her blossoming love for watercolor when she started posting typography using her brush pens last year
I saw the progress through the months that passed. I swear, I’m not a stalker! I’m just observant!!! Haha
Her talent was incredible, I just had to ask her to paint my baby.
I sent her this photo as reference:
In two weeks, I got this:
This was back in April, I can’t believe I waited so long to share it with you guys!!! I’m so incredibly selfish?? Hahaha jk. I just want to help spread the word about her talent because it makes as great gifts and -ber months na!! (BTW, Candy, if you’re reading this, I finally have Bunless’ painting and I’m giving it to you tomorrow!!!)
I asked Cah a few questions so you can get to know the artist behind Wundercolor a little better!
What got you into painting — specifically watercolor?
Basically, watercolor was the only thing lying around for a makeshift present. My husband, D, loves my dog Frank. He had previously given me a chalk drawing of him for my birthday a few years ago and I loved it. Valentines was coming up and I thought it’d be great if I gave him a portrait of Frank as well – maybe something just a little different. I painted Frank with the only medium I had on my desk – diluted ink from Kuretake watercolor pens. I thought the finished product was OK given that I didn’t even use real watercolor, lol! I showed my mom and naturally, she loved it (biased opinion as we all know moms are our biggest fans), but it wasn’t until I showed a few more people and received great feedback when I thought I could really do something with portraiture.
What made you decide to focus on animals as your main subject?
I guess my answer’s pretty simple. Still life didn’t appeal much to me, and I also didn’t want it on my conscience if I ever painted a human that didn’t look like the actual subject in real life. Imagine if I painted babies and they didn’t turn out looking like the real deal? That’s a lot of responsibility, LOL. I guess animals also spark so much happiness in me. I genuinely enjoy painting them and am so happy to come across humans who love their pets and want to immortalize them in a portrait.
When did you start accepting commissioned work?
I’d say about a month after I started painting. Upon chance, a pet owner from San Francisco messaged me on Instagram shortly after I posted a portrait of one of my dogs. She asked if I did custom work and I replied with a very hesitant ‘yes’. I gave a disclaimer that her pup would be my first go at commissioned work and after she accepted, I found myself sketching and painting this little long haired dachshund named Roux. The rest, as they say, is history.
How long does it take for you to finish a pup portrait?
It really depends on how much detail a pup has. Getting the colors right is half the battle, so I spend a good amount of time doing color studies before actually painting. I never finish a portrait in one go and usually prefer letting it sit and coming back to it with a fresh set of eyes. That being said, from start to finish, it can take me anywhere between 3-6 days.
So far, Cah has painted 25 dogs, 1 horse, and 1 cat. “I don’t discriminate against animals,” she says.😂
How much to get my pet painted?!
4×6″ canvas – PHP 2,500
6×9″ canvas – PHP 3,000
7×10″ canvas – PHP 3,500
9×12″ canvas – PHP 4,000
(“I’m also always open to other sizes but the above listed are my standard sizes.” – Cah)
Get yourself the perfect gift by sending her a direct message on Instagram (@wundercolor_ph) or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also just do yourself a favor and follow her Instagram because all the doggies are just so beautiful in watercolor 😭