Meet The Artist - Reena Gabriel
We're thrilled to launch our new scent, Rosal, a tropical gardenia from the Philippines. Reena Gabriel created the beautiful artwork for Rosal. We chatted to her about her work and process.
Hello, Reena! Great to chat with you again now that we're launching Rosal!
It has always been an honour working with and painting for Carroll&Chan and I'm thrilled to get the opportunity to work on yet another line that is very Filipino.
What do you think of when you smell Rosal?
Ooooh.. When I smell it and close my eyes, I imagine myself leisurely sipping on a tea latte as I sit in a patio overlooking a lush garden in the countryside. It's a serene image, isn't it?
Does this flower hold any special memories for you?
I didn't have any particular attachment to it before, but I was given a rosal plant two years ago and it has been very giving - with a bloom or two at least every month when it's bloom season.
How about generally in the Philippines - how is Rosal appreciated? Is it associated with any particular occasion or use?
I would honestly say that the rosal is one of the most underrated or overlooked local flowers, mainly because the flower itself is so fragrant and beautiful, and the leaves are often so lush.
You painted beautiful flowers for the Carroll&Chan Rosal range. Can you tell us a little about your painting process?
For the rosal line, I am so glad the commission came at a time when I had many reference photos of my own rosal plant. Using these photos, I paint the rosal blooms and leaves in watercolour and scan them as soon as I'm finished. From there, the layout process becomes digital through my iPad and my computer.
Do you start with a pencil drawing?
Yes, I always draw everything using a mechanical pencil (with blue lead whose that magically disappear after the paintings are exposed to the sun for a few days)
What materials do you use?
For the rosal paintings, I used watercolour on paper, specifically Mijello Mission Gold paint on 300GSM Arches paper.
Do you take inspiration from a real Rosal flower?
Yes, I really do. In fact, I probably have over 50 photos of the bloom and leaves of the rosal already on my phone. Hahaha!
Where is your favourite place to paint? [eg, in your living room, your garden...
Ooooh this is interesting. So, since I work from home, I mainly work where my painting table is located - in my bedroom! Hahaha! Though after a week or so, I usually get a sort of "cabin fever" so I move to my "alternate office" which is our dining table. At the moment though, I have moved my painting table out of my room and I'm in the process of trying (albeit VERY slowly) to set-up a "studio"
How do you usually feel when you're painting?
I honestly go through a range of emotions when I paint. Sometimes I'm zoned out and my brain flies, with thoughts consumed by anything from what to eat to the meaning of my existence. When I work on the smaller details of the paintings though, I am totally focused on each stroke because although it won't be seen in the final layout or print, I'll know in my mind that I did it right and I did it well.
Can you share anything about how you felt while painting Rosal?
It's always challenging painting white flowers but it's a challenge I always welcome with open arms. As I always say, I am absolutely in love with endemic/local flowers and this especially goes for white ones. The rosal also has a very soft and lush bloom coupled by its subtle and sweet smell, so that was totally giving me happy vibes throughout the painting process.
We know your work is in demand in the Philippines! What kinds of projects are you working on, or have been working on?
Aside from privately commissioned work for paperie, I have recently gotten into painting with acrylic. It's a whole new world and a totally different set of materials and challenges, but like I said, I'm happily going out of my comfort zone if it means I'll learn something new. A project that I'm currently engrossed in is a lot of 12 pieces that will be on display at a plant nursery. Aside from this, I'm in the planning stages of coming out with paper products that will feature my own designs. So thrilled for that.
Where can people contact you if they would like to buy your work, or commission a piece of art?
They can reach me via Instagram (@missreenaph) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org