My Work As I See It
I could describe my paintings as detailed figurations of objects used as metaphors for situations, feelings and relationships that affect human existence. Aspects of closeness, communication and isolation in different degrees are very important in my work.
I don’t try to make my paintings hyper-realistic, but I like them to give a first impression of reality, of the real object, so I try to keep the scale in which each thing is depicted close to the real size of the object, not to much smaller or bigger than the real thing. I also give each element a defined edge, since each of them has it’s own separate role in the scene. I chose to use detailed figuration to render my paintings because I find that this vision creates an instant connection with the observer, and this usually leads to an easier “reading” or interpretation of the work. It also allows me to fully incorporate separate elements into the full image, elements that are key in each of the paintings. It’s also just plain fun to paint “fooling” the eye.
I use mostly oil paint on canvas as the materials to work with. I like it because it gives me a bit of time before drying to make sure that I have it just right. I also like the soft sheen of the oil and of course it’s smell, which brings so many wonderful memories as well. I always paint from the background of the image to the front, light and shadow both are painted at once, finishing each area in one pass, in one session, working the oil paint in an “opaque” manner, no over washes, generally to the edge of each element or section, darkest and lightest values in before continuing with the next part.
In my work I use a series of elements that I find charged with meaning that help me express my thoughts. The relations between them, as well as their color, shape and position are very deliberate in my compositions. The colors chosen, even when in my earlier work the elements were only fabrics and skies, were and are very important since they have the power to invoque similar feelings in all of us.
The titles in my paintings are important to me because they do give a clue to the meaning that I put into the work, but I also enjoy listening to the interpretations that viewers give to them, based on their own existence, which most of the time I find, are somehow linked to my own human experience.
Since my series of paintings titled "De Los Paquetes Que Jalamos" (About The Baggage That We Carry), I decided to use the title of each painting as an element in the painting itself, many times in the shape of a “sticky note”, a little card, or something similar. Words are powerful, and very important in my painting. My images, or I should say, the combination of elements chosen to be part of the image, are there as a result of a word, a phrase, a story, something heard, read, thought, lived, that sparked the need for the image.
The title, once the painting is finished, becomes a clue to the image, something that hopefully will engage the observer into trying to figure out the painting, and in doing so, creating their own interpretation of the work related to their own personal experience, giving the work their own meaning, which, at that point, is the only meaning that really should matter.
Some of these titles include proverbs, sayings, quotations or combinations of them. I really treasure such written material because, aside from their intrinsic truth (most of them anyway), they speak to us from times past and present, and they have a special popular quality, and many time are wise and full of universality. I have been using both the Spanish and English languages in my titles, because to me some things sound more natural or stronger in one or the other. My life is divided between two worlds, very different in some ways, and very similar in others, Costa Rica and the United States of North America, the lovely McMinnville Oregon in particular, so, the use of the two languages becomes natural and reflects this situation of mine and of my family.
Other elements such as cloth, candles, strings, medals, roses, toys, pillows, photos, stickers, images of drawings and mudras, super-heroes, angels, etc., are reliquaries used to extend the main idea of each work, and depositories of humanity’s energies that I draw from, since they are sometimes symbols and images that have a more specific meaning in history, religion, and popular culture.
I hope that you find a little of yourself in my paintings, since I do believe that we are all part of ONE, much more connected that “one-self” may think, and with more similarities than differences after all. Everything that we do affects everything around us.