Still Life

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Summer notes

The summer has afforded me the time to (FINALLY!!!) do more exercises in watercolor, long neglected in my case, and I have been fortunate to have been able to venture outdoors to execute some of these notes. Here are some products of this summer´s studies, some done plein air, others in the studio.

The monument to Velazquez presiding the Prado´s main facade.

In front of the Casón del Buen Retiro.

…and, the main pond in the Retiro park.

Riaza, in Segovia.

Spent some time up north with my family, in the Cantabria and Asturias areas, and these are some notes from our stay.

A street in Ribadesella, Asturias.

The same Asturian town, on market day.

The bridge in San Vicente de la Barquera, Cantabria

…and then there were the smaller, quicker sketches, each done in an hour or so….

A corner of the main square in Santillana del Mar.

Cantabrian landscape around the Mazcuerras area.

…the hills around the El Soplao caves, with the fog rolling in…

…from a bluff in the Playa del Toró, Llanes, Asturias...

…and, a little boat anchored in  San Vicente de la Barquera.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

More sacred spaces, New York City

Had the opportunity to visit New York City recently, and was there for a week. While there, I visited the site of another recent altarpiece of mine, I had been asked to execute some minor modifications on the paintings. It´s a private chapel right smack in midtown Manhattan and the space is quite an oasis of calm and tranquility in the midst of the legendary hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.

Here is a shot of the interior of the chapel:

…and a close-up shot of the central piece:

Finally, a trip wouldn't be complete without the random, personal notes in the sketchbook:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Some new watercolor notes

Try as I may, I still find it so hard to update this blog in a manner that is more frequent…

Here are a few studies done lately, here and there, taking up watercolor again -- as I tend to do every now and then -- my favorite medium for what I call  "nervous relaxation".

This first one is a one and a half-hour (maybe two) sketch of the statue of Goya that presides the north facing entrance to the Prado Museum here in Madrid. I remember doing this same statue a few years ago, from another angle. I enjoyed painting it then as I did now. It lends itself well to be painted...

This one is a view of the beach at Sesimbra in Portugal...

…and a side street in Toledo city...

…and finally, a couple of strollers at that beach in Sesimbra again...

Hopefully, I will be able to do more this summer, who knows…
BUT, if you want to feast your eyes on REALLY good watercolor stuff, check out this link (click here) to my Pinterest page. All of the pieces featured here are truly exquisite and clicking on them will lead you to other exquisite examples. You know how it works...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Painting with another purpose

Despite the "lean years" being still very much a thing of reality, especially in the Art world, I still do manage to obtain the occasional commission for sacred, devotional paintings. The Church, as it is known, has always been historically one of the main patrons for artists and, thankfully for those of us who still insist on choosing this way of earning a living, it still continues to be. A symbiotic relationship, I think it is: the artist serves the need that the Church has to evangelize by converting the mystical and spiritual into something tangible and graphic for the faithful, and, in this way, the hunger that the artist has to create and be poetic in his creation is also fed. His main aim from the client´s point of view is to invite meditation and to offer the faithful something "real" so as to make the sublime more accessible and something to be reached.
 One of my more recent ones were these three pieces I was asked to execute for a chapel in Rome, no less…quite flattering for any painter, I think.

And this is how the pieces looked in the workshop before shipping. The client wanted a background that was quite undefined and just  a juxtaposition of quadrilateral shapes with gold-ochre tones to sort of  imply light and lend an ethereal character to the figures.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Quiet presence

Another new piece I´ve managed to work on in spurts and have finally finished. Sort of like a "spin-off" from my last one, like those characters in sit-coms that go off and start a series of their own. I used one of the carnations from my last piece. I only hope that, unlike the TV spin-offs that usually bomb out, this one actually succeeds…. I like it, at least.

"Even in the quietest moments,
I wish I knew what I had to do…"
"Even in the Quietest Moments"

"Quiet presence"
Oil on panel, 33 x 24 cms

 …and a bit of sourdough from last week.

Friday, January 17, 2014

First piece for ´14

I have this penchant for small works. The ones you have to come up to real close to look at but, at the same time, they also ask you to step back and check them out from afar.
This one took me almost two weeks to complete, not for its complexity nor for its unusual difficulty, I blame my double life which takes up most of my time. Also, the very limited winter daylight was a factor.

"Carnations, glass bowl, winter light"
Oil on canvas on board, 27 x 35 cms.

Since I work from right to left, the original position of the carnation on the extreme left had to be adjusted as it had wilted a bit, but at least the light was pretty constant all throughout. And my dog cooperated and let me work...