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Home Weekly The Sunday Times Magazine ‘Pastel Puro:’ A revival of realism in pastel

‘Pastel Puro:’ A revival of realism in pastel


They may be based on opposite sides of the globe but their shared love for pastel as a medium brings Manila-based Celeste Lecaroz and Florida-based Gary Carabio together in the exhibit “Pastel Puro.”

Lecaroz, an outstanding member of the Portrait Artists Society of the Philippines (PASPI) Inc. Manila Chapter, and Carabio, who is in the Master’s Circle of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS), are feted in the back-to-back exhibit which will run from August 10 to 23 at Galerie Y in SM Megamall.

Celeste Lecaroz


Gary Carabio

As the title denotes, “Pastel Puro” is a showcase of realistic art works done in the pastel medium.

For this exhibit, Lecaroz presents the “Sisterhood” series — paintings of Filipinas at the turn of the century relishing their freedom and enjoying activities such as reading, dancing, decorating the home, touring the city and having a nice meal.

Lecaroz’s’Sisterhood’ pastel painting series

American art enthusiast Cathy Veitch Williams describes this collection as a “body of work that is beyond magnificent… I have never seen such incredible pastel work before!”

Carabio’s works, meanwhile, reflect his fascination for everyday life and for portraiture.

Filipino writer Leon de Pola points out two works in “Pastel Puro” that illustrate Carabio’s wide scope and illuminated style: the portrait of Filipina tattoo artist Apo Whang-od and a painting of a US cityscape.

Carabio’s pièce de résistance,
‘Apo Whang-od’

De Pola writes, “Apo Whang-od, national icon, (is) patiently and gracefully painted in pastel colors. Even the small, intimate lines on her cheeks are faithfully recorded on paper. The viewer can palpably feel the admiration and love that the painter feels for his subject… In the painting ‘Piccolo Italia’ that encompasses a community of Italians in America, Carabio captures the dialogue of cultures now going on all over the world…”

‘Piccolo Italia’ by Carabio

Lecaroz and Carabio are passionate artists whose love for the visual arts has motivated them to hone their talents further.

Inspired by his great-grandfather who was a sculptor and a painter, Carabio, who hails from Bantayan Island, took up Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines in Cebu. He moved to St. Paul, Minnesota in 2012, and now resides in Florida.

Carabio’s most recent exhibits included participation at the National Arts Club in New York, the Butler Institute of American Arts in Youngstown, Ohio, and the International Association of Pastel Societies Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America.

Lecaroz’s only formal art training was a short summer workshop. In 2016, the mom of four took up adult coloring books as a hobby. Little did she know back then it would lead her to becoming a full-fledged artist.

In a span of three years, Lecaroz has done numerous group shows and one solo show: “Lecaroz Spontanrealismus” mounted in May 2018. Her spontaneous realism painting of the Jones Bridge was given to the Richmond County Museum in Washington, DC, as a gift of the Philippine government to commemorate Jones Act centennial.

Lecaroz is also one of the featured artists in the first show of the Portrait Artists Society of the Philippines Inc. Manila Chapter entitled “Portrait of Nature,” which runs from August 7 to 21 at Gateway Gallery. She is currently preparing for her next solo show to be held in September 2019.

For more information about “Pastel Puro,” email Galerie Y at or call 634-2704.


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