Despite her hectic schedule, Solenn Heussaff never forgets her passion for the arts.
When she's not doing anything related to showbiz, the 34-year-old GMA-7 actress releases her creativity through painting.
In an Instagram post last April, Solenn wrote, "Mindfulness increases productivity. This year is all about being present. Goodbye negatrones and toxic beings #SolennArt"
In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) on May 16, Solenn reveals that she was about three years old when her parents enrolled her in art classes.
She recalls, "I went to the house of this Spanish girl and she was teaching kids art.
"So we did everything—from painting on silk, ink on gloss paper—we did tapestry, we did clothes made out of plastic bottles, as in anything you can touch and create something with, we learned it with her.
"So feeling ko, dun na-open yung eye ko about fashion and art and everything.
"And then when she left, natuloy naman yung classes ko, but it was never the same.
"For me, she was the best teacher. I had a tapestry arts teacher, 'tapos nag-still arts ako sa Mile Long Building dati, 'tapos nag-nude drawing ako sa Ayala Museum.
"So tuloy hanggang 18 years old, and then at 18, I just started painting on my own, trying to look for my own style.
"But I’d have to say it's only been the last six years talaga na I've been consistent—as in every week, I paint."
To find her own style, Solenn initially started imitating the works of some of her favorite painters.
She explains, "For me, like when you imitate—it's the best way to start, to copy. I used to [Paul] Gauguin, I used to copy [Salvador] Dali.
"I would copy their work until you'll find na, 'Okay, mas kumportable ako dito sa mga dot-dot-dot, mas ganito yung stroke ko, mas short strokes,' or 'Mas blended pala ako,' ganun.
"So you get to find there kung saan ka mas komportable, 'tapos siyempre you need to use different materials like oil, acrylic, pastel, charcoal or watercolor, para you can find din what you’re comfortable with."
Solenn's subjects are usually the people she sees on the streets.
She tells PEP.ph, "Although I hate [painting] hands and feet, but I love painting people. I don’t know why."
This was apparent in her very first solo exhibit titled Our People in April 2016.
Held at Pineapple Lab in Makati City, her art debut featured 25 of her large-scale oil paintings.
"I take photos of people on the streets, pero siyempre, hindi like super magkamukha.
"It’s more like for positioning kasi if I want to imagine, let’s say, a guy driving tricycle, I’m not that talented, hindi ko ma-imagine kung paano.
"So I really take it, when I’m in the car, pini-picturan ko yung mga tao sa paligid.
"When I’m travelling, I love also tribesmen because marami silang colors, marami silang parang they have lived through so much and you can see it through their soul.
"And sometimes, I ask friends to take photos also. Si Bea, actually, takes a lot of pictures in Sulu for me.
"Yung last exhibit ko, actually, a lot from her. And then, I have some from Bukidnon."
Bea Constantino is Solenn's go-to stylist who hails from Mindanao.
Currently, Solenn is busy working on a new collection of paintings, which she hopes to showcase soon.
She says, "The ones I'm painting is mostly Manila, yung everyday life."
Solenn had to work hundreds of hours just to finish one painting.
In February, she showed a painting on Instagram, and wrote, "205 hours. I want to cry lol. Didnt think i would ever finish this one haha."
Asked how she manages to squeeze in time to paint, Solenn said, "Time management is my pinaka-talent. I'm very good at time managing.
"A lot of people are asking me how and I never think about it na, 'How?' Cause para sa akin, it comes out natural.
"People are asking me, 'How do you do this and this and this?'
"I don't know, like siguro sleeping early, making sure that if you tell your friend you'll be there at 1 p.m., you'll be there at 1 p.m.
"Like you know, traffic is 30 minutes to an hour, just segregate it.
"If you wanna paint, you can paint today.
"There's always ways to make time if you really don't sit on the couch and bum."
She added, "You really just have to not say, 'I'll do it later' or 'I'll do it tomorrow.'
"If you decide to do something, do it now."