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The birth of Fundación Arcilla, not just one more Foundation…

June 18, 2015

ENGLISH: Artists have always felt the need, in general, to create in the solitude of their studios, lost in their peculiar world and obsessed with that research of form and content that for many is their reason to live. Not even universities facilitate much the encounter and the exchange among talented artists, I still remember how I was feeling the necessity to isolate and work outside the classes in order to continue creating without meeting the harsh criticism of professors and peers, all too advocated towards the “conceptual” tendencies of an art form where manual skills are banned. This is why I had always found it difficult to meet talented representational painters, apart from some that worked in my same gallery, until the social media have helped us find each other and communicate. During the last 2 or 3 years, in fact, thanks to internet I have been able to meet up, dine and socialise with those painters that before I admired but I didn’t think that it would be possible to get to know personally. That encounter among painters of a certain professional level is fundamental in order to create a spirit of group and to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information. Spain, a country still inmersed in a deep economical crisis, is the country to which I owe a big part of my formation and my professional development, and where there is a solid tradition of realist painting at the highest standard. But the crisis has actually favoured that connection among artists that now feel the need to find solutions all together, uniting forces and targets. The same traditional model of the art gallery as the only entity to affirm and strengthen the value of an artist has changed with the crisis, and the collective of artists today is more aware of their own responsibility in creating their own oportunities to exhibit and sell their work, especially after the closure of many important galleries all around Spain.

The idea for a Foundation that gather the most talented and famous artists in Spain was born from the valuable effort of some patrons and forward-looking artists and from the opportunities created by the new social media in internet. The artists will not only be painters or sculptors, and not only bound to the representational style, there will be also actors, musicians, poets, video artists, etc. This new association is called Fundación Arcilla and it officially opened its headquarters in a new building named “ArtEXpacio” with an exhibition of realist painting, to which I participated, last Thursday 11th June in Madrid, and it is already working towards national and international projects.

In the UK, where now I live, the artists that use traditional mediums have joined forces and formed exclusive societies since a very long time ago. Examples of societies are the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP), the New English Art Club (NEAC), the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI), the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA), the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS), the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE), the Pastel Society (PS), the Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA), the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) and many more. Almost all of these societies have found in the central Mall Galleries their perfect space for exhibitions, promotional and didactic activities, taking turns to use the space. This way, the societies have succeeded to create a point of reference for all the people who love contemporary art in its traditional forms. The prospect that “ArtEXpacio” could become a sort of Spanish version of the Mall Galleries, seems finally real to me, and I am very proud to have been called to be part of this new reality with artists of very high level. As artist and co-founder Modesto Trigo said in his inaugural speech, the direction towards which the Foundation is bound depends on the will and the action of each of its members. It is certain that we all know each other now, we all share a sincere admiration for each other, and we share the same determination to cooperate and contribute to this wonderful project that will hopefully give visibility to the traditional art forms in their contemporary vision.

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artEXpacio: everything ready for the inaugural ceremony, unpacking the paintings.

SPANISH: Los artistas siempre han sido en general muy solitarios, metidos en sus estudios, perdidos en su mundo visionario, obsesionados por esa búsqueda de formas y contenidos que para muchos es una necesidad vital. El mundo académico de las universidades tampoco facilita demasiado el encuentro y el intercambio entre los artistas de talento, todavía me acuerdo de como yo sentía la necesidad de aislarme y trabajar fuera de las clases para seguir creando sin incurrir en esas críticas demoledoras de profesores y compañeros de la universidad, todavía tan abogados hacia las tendencias más “conceptuales”, donde las habilidades manuales son un engorro. Es por eso que siempre había encontrado difícil conocer a pintores realistas de talento, a parte los que trabajaban con mi misma galería, hasta que recientemente los social media nos han abierto a la comunicación y al encuentro virtual. En los últimos dos o tres años, de hecho, gracias a internet he podido encontrar, cenar y socializar con muchos de esos pintores españoles que antes admiraba pero no pensaba que sería posible llegar a conocerlos personalmente. Ese encuentro entre pintores de cierta trayectoria profesional es fundamental para crear un espíritu de grupo y para facilitar el intercambio de ideas y de información. La crisis en España, país al cual debo gran parte de mi formación y de mi desarrollo profesional, y donde hay pintores de grandísimo talento y tradición, también ha ayudado esa cohesión para buscar soluciones colectivas entre pintores, para unir fuerzas y caminos. El mismo modelo tradicional de la galería de arte como único reducto para afirmar y corroborar el valor de un artista ha cambiado tras la crisis, y especialmente tras la clausura de muchas galerías de arte importantes por toda España, el colectivo de los artistas es hoy más consciente que nunca de la importancia de su propio papel en crear oportunidades para exponer y vender su obra.

Es desde el valioso esfuerzo conjunto de unos cuantos mecenas y artistas de ideas clarividentes y desde ese nuevo movimiento colectivo social impulsado por internet que ha surgido la maravillosa idea de crear una Fundación que una los artistas de más talento y fama de España, en el ámbito de la pintura, de la escultura, de la poesía, del teatro, del video arte, etc. Se llama Fundación Arcilla y su sede y espacio de actividades, “ArtEXpacio“, se ha inaugurado el pasado jueves 11 de junio en Madrid, con el objetivo de promocionar sus trabajos en ámbito nacional e internacional.

En el Reino Unido, donde yo vivo ahora, los artistas que se expresan en los medios tradicionales están congregados en sociedades exclusivas desde hace muchísimo tiempo, como la Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP), New English Art Club (NEAC), Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI), Royal Society of British Artists (RBA), Royal Watercolour Society (RWS), Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE), Pastel Society (PS), Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA), Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) y muchas más… Casi todas estas sociedades han encontrado en el espacio muy central de la Mall Galleries su centro de actividades promocionales, didácticas y expositivas, ocupándo su espacio por turnos, y de esa manera han conseguido crear un punto de referencia para todo ese público que ama el arte contemporáneo hecho con técnicas tradicionales. Que ArtEXpacio de la Fundación Arcilla se pueda convertir en una pequeña Mall Galleries española, un espacio de actividad, promoción y difusión de las varias formas del arte español, lo veo hoy posible en España, y estoy encantado de haber sido llamado a formar parte de este maravilloso grupo de artistas de altísimo nivel. Como dijo el artista Director y co-Fundador Modesto Trigo en su discurso inaugural, la dirección a la cual está encaminada la Fundación, y su éxito, será determinada por la voluntad y el operado de todos nosotros, los artistas que han sido invitados a formar parte de ella. Seguramente se nota el entusiasmo colectivo de los artistas, todos ahora nos conocemos y compartimos esa admiración recíproca y esa voluntad de colaborar y contribuir a este maravilloso y necesario proyecto para recuperar el valor del arte español. Con profundo agradecimiento a esos fundadores que han dedicado su tiempo y sus energías a este importante proyecto.

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View of ArtEXpacio, headquarters of the Fundación Arcilla, during the opening ceremony.

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With the incredible hyperrealist painter Antonio Castelló Avilleira and my painting “Sunny Interval”

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ArtEXpacio, the opening of the headquarters of the Fundación Arcilla.

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With Arantzazu Martinez and her astonishing painting, winner of the 2015 ARC International Salon.

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With Carmen Mansilla and Arantzazu Martínez in front of Carmen’s painting

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From Left: Modesto Trigo, Andrés Castellanos, Antonio Castelló Avilleira, Arantzazu Martínez, Carmen Mansilla and me, all in front of Antonio Castelló’s painting

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ArtEXpacio, the headquarter of the Fundación Arcilla

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PRIZE WINNER!

May 31, 2015
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The Artist’s magazine’s article

ENGLISH: I was overwhelmed when I heard the news 6 months ago, and now is out published in the July/August issue of The Artist’s Magazine: I’m the Grand Prize winner of the “All Media” Art Competition! This is a competition for artists that work in the media of oil, watercolour, acrylic, pastels, mixed media, drawing and digital photography, there are winners for every category and an overall winner, the Grand Prize. With over 2500 entries, it must have been a very tough decision for the judges. My winning entry is “The Rest”, a 190x200cm painting of two siblings. This is a painting that was originally a commission and that I started as a demonstration piece in the Patchings Festival in 2014. The family asked me to paint these two siblings and gave me a certain freedom to treat it just as one of my paintings. Although we originally planned a grey background, I decided to take a risk and paint a very exuberant colourful background with a bicycle wheel included in the composition. I did not mind it if I had to re-do it, but I thought that I had to follow my instinct and give some life to the scene, contrasting the intentionally somber or bored mood of the siblings with some colourful pattern. When I showed it to the family they just loved it, and now it hangs in their beautiful house in Madrid, which you can see in the pictures below.

SPANISH: Estaba eufórico cuando me dieron la noticia hace 6 meses, y ahora se ha publicado en el número de julio/agosto de la revista americana The Artist’s Magazine: ¡soy el ganador general del premio online “All Media”! Con más de 2500 inscripciones en las varias categorías (óleo, acrílico, arte digital, técnica mixta, pastel, acuarela, dibujo), no habrá sido nada fácil para el jurado elegir un ganador absoluto. Mi cuadro ganador, “El Descanso”, es un óleo de 190x200cm de dos hermanos. Este era un cuadro por encargo, pero tuve toda la libertad de hacerlo como si fuera otra más de mis piezas. Lo empecé a pintar en el festival Patchings el año pasado, delante del público, y seguí pintándolo luego en mi estudio. Hasta que lo acabé la familia no sabía que había optado por la opción más ostentosa en cuanto a colores y formas, pero en seguida les gustó el cuadro, el cual ahora cuelga en su preciosa casa en Madrid, como se ve en las fotos que me enviaron:

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The house of the family where the siblings live, in Madrid, where my painting hangs.

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The family house

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The family house

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Me starting the painting “The Rest” for a demonstration in the 2014 Patchings Festival

Free workshop in Manchester with Winsor and Newton

May 28, 2015

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I am delighted to having been invited by Winsor & Newton to give an oil painting workshop in Manchester on Wednesday 3rd June! The best news for painters is: it’s free to attend! Also, there will even be a goodie bag for all attendees. The workshop will take place in the Fred Aldous art store, and I will concentrate on how to achieve pure. clean mixes and how to create the effect of light also in the shadows.

This is the program of the workshop: after a brief presentation of art materials by Winsor and Newton, I will present my work and discuss my painting practice, followed by a painting demonstration. In the demonstration I will explain my use of the materials and my colour mixes step by step, and in the afternoon attendees will be able to try their hands on oils following my example in the demonstration.

I have been using Winsor & Newton Artist’s Oils for many years now, and my choice to use them was dictated by comparing the results of empirical experiments that I did using several popular colour brands.

It is possible to book your place in the workshop by emailing: a.zinga@colart.co.uk

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Winsor and Newton oil tubes in my studio

Summer Group Show in London

May 28, 2015

SUMMER GROUP SHOW

90 PICCADILLY, W1J 7NF, LONDON

www.fineartslondon.co.uk

This week I am participating to a new group exhibition in London with Fine Arts London. After last week’s exhibition in a pop-up space in South Kensington, this time the exhibition will take place in central Piccadilly. You can see the works on display from 27 May to 1 June, with the private view being on 28 May from 6-9pm. The other featured artists are: Alf Lohr, James Mylne, Kristian Schimdt, Max Zorn.

I leave you with some shots from the private view last week in South Kensington:

En plein air, a British struggle and passion

May 26, 2015
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Haidee-Jo and Adebanji preparing to wrap up the paints after the 4-hour session. The models enjoying a cigarette behind our easels.

ENGLISH: Last Friday I had the pleasure to paint from life with Haidee-Jo Summers and Adebanji Alade, such a high level there, for a very enjoyable afternoon of work and chatting. We took a couple of models to the sides of a canal that didn’t look as picturesque as we decided it to become on canvas, and that is the beauty of improvisation: you don’t need to go too far away to find inspiration, any small spot with some interesting colour or pattern could become a nice background for the models, in fact this place was convenient for us because it is just outside of my studio building, The Chocolate Factory. Having grown up by the Mediterranean sea, I still find that England is too difficult a territory for en plein air painting, if one is looking for strong lighting contrasts coming from the direct sun and needs to work over more than one day with the same conditions. In fact the best thing to do in here seems to be either avoiding the ephemeral sun completely, in order to be able to work over several days with similar lighting conditions, or, in those lucky bright days, to leave everything aside and rush to do a painting in just one quick session. In this case we had a typical variable weather, with sun, wind and clouds alternating, a very difficult condition to capture. It was difficult also for the models, who stoically resisted most of the times the temptation to adapt their clothing to the abrupt changes of temperature. Nevertheless it is always fulfilling to paint from life outdoors, and England is perhaps still the homeland of the plein air painters, and those painters that sometimes we encounter in our Mediterranean countries working in the streets are especially foreigners, many Anglo-Saxons among them, of course!

ESPAÑOL: El pasado viernes tuve el placer de pintar del natural con Haidee-Jo Summers y Adebanji Alade, para una tarde muy agradable de trabajo y conversaciones. Pusimos dos modelos a posar a lado de un pequeño canal, el cual no parecía tan pintoresco como lo pintamos todos nosotros en el lienzo. Esa es la belleza de la improvisación: no se necesita ir demasiado lejos para encontrar inspiración, cualquier lugar con ciertos colores o formas se puede convertir en el perfecto fondo para los modelos, y de hecho este lugar lo elejimos por comodidad, estando justo fuera de mi estudio, The Chocolate Factory. Habiendo crecido a lado del mar mediterraneo, tras varios años viviendo en Reino Unido todavía pienso que inglaterra es un territorio demasiado difícil para la pintura al aire libre, si uno busca los fuertes contrastes de luz que la luz directa del sol origina, y si uno necesita trabajar en esas mismas condiciones durante más de un día. De hecho, lo mejor que se pueda hacer aquí es evitar el sol por completo, porque es una condición demasiado efémera, si se plantea hacer un cuadro que dure varios días y se busca por ello una condición generalmente estable. Otra solución sería la de dejarlo todo en cuanto salga un día afortunado de sol más o menos estable, pero completar la obra en el mismo día. En nuestro caso, tuvimos una típica sesión variable, con viento, nubes e intervalos de sol, unas condiciones difíciles de capturar para los pintores, y también para las modelos, las cuales resistieron la tentación de adaptar su ropa demasiadas veces a las variaciones de temperatura tan bruscas. Y sin embargo, inglaterra quizás sigue siendo la patria de la pintura al aire libre, y en nuestros paises mediterraneos los pocos pintores que se ven pintando en la calle son sobre todo extranjeros o turistas… Muchos Anglosajones entre ellos, claro!

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“Summer Group Show” exhibition in London

May 18, 2015

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Tomorrow it will be the VIP private view of a pop-up group exhibition with Fine Arts London, where I will have 7 paintings on display. You are very welcome to join to meet me, the other artists and to see the works in flesh. Please RSVP to the gallery if you would like to attend tomorrow: enquiries@fineartslondon.co.uk

"Dunes", oil on linen, 46x89cm

“Dunes”, oil on linen, 46x89cm

This is the invitation email from the gallery:

‘SUMMER GROUP SHOW’
VIP INVITATION | POP-UP EXHIBITION 18 MAY – 1 JUNE
46 THURLOE ST. SW7 2LT, 18 – 23  MAY
OPENING RECEPTION, 19 MAY 18h-21:30
Pop-up shop opening hours 10-18h

 
90 PICCADILLY, W1J 7NF, 27 – 1 JUNE
OPENING RECEPTION, 27 MAY 18h-21:30
Pop-up shop opening hours 10-18h

 

Fine Arts London is pleased to invite you to our ‘Summer Group Show’ opening at two pop-up locations in central London, 18th  May – 1st June.
 
The first exhibition is located in South Kensington (beside the tube station) and will be on-view for one week only from the 18th to 23rd of May. The selected artists for this exhibition are amongst some of London as well as Europe’s most promising, up-and-coming, and cutting-edge: Alf Lohr, Anna-Louise Felstead, Ben Young, James Mylne, Max Zorn and Michele Del Campo.  The featured works share a focus on London, summer and cycling, images drawn from iconic places, people, and an urban London lifestyle.  The cycling theme is a ‘sneak preview’ for another pop-up show opening at the end of June 2015. Please stay tuned for more details on this exciting exhibition in partnership with Tour of Britain.
 
Our second pop-up exhibition will be held on Piccadilly, in Mayfair, opening 27th May – 1st of June. On view will be a broad selection of works ranging in style from photo-realistic drawings to contemporary abstract painting to photography and film stills.  Cinema, fantasy, drama and irony are the main themes explored. This show will also feature award-winning wildlife and fashion photographer Kristian Schmidt and renowned director/photographer Christian Lamb, both who are premiering in a London show.
 
We really look forward to seeing you at both of the events! They have been specially curated with a unique theme at each venue. Please be sure to RSVP in advance due to limited spaces for the preview evenings: enquiries@fineartslondon.co.uk

Thurloe St. Exhibition:
18-23 May

Piccadilly Exhibition:
27 May-1 June

Our mailing address is:
enquiries@fineartslondon.co.uk

Video of my painting process

May 9, 2015

ENGLISH: I have made available this quick time-lapse video that focuses on my painting process for the portrait of the redhead girl that appears in my painting “Sunny Interval“. This portrait (the head and the hair of the girl) is the work that I did in one session, working “alla prima”, while the painting was still wet. The effect is more fresh and spontaneous in comparison with the techniques applied on dry paint, where the painter needs to wait for the layer to dry first and advance at a slower pace. As you can see, I use almost always big brushes, also for the details, while I use a small brush only for the retouches in the hair. This allows me to focus on the painting as a whole instead of losing my attention in the details, as these are then created in the eye of the observer in any case.

ESPAÑOL: He publicado este breve video time-lapse donde se muestra sobre todo el proceso de retrato para la chica pelirroja del cuadro “Sunny Interval“. El retrato lo hice en una sesión, trabajando “alla prima”, o sea, mientras la pintura al óleo está mojada, para un efecto más espontáneo y expresivo en comparación con las técnicas de pintura por capas, donde el pintor necesita esperar que la capa de pintura se seque para luego poder avanzar a un paso más lento y gradual. Como verás, utilizo casi siempre pinceles de gran tamaño incluso para los detalles, mientras utilizo un pincel pequeño solamente para los retoques del pelo. Esto me permite focalizar mi atención en el conjunto y no preocuparme demasiado por el detalle, ya que esto lo construye el ojo del observador.

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