During my formative years, I was very drawn to artists such as Botticelli, Duccio, Piero Della Francesca and Fra Angelico (to name but a few). But I didn’t learn their technique of egg tempera until much later.
The artist Fernando Montes, my dear friend and neighbour, taught me this technique. At the time I was at home enjoying my family and spending time with my two little boys so it came as an unexpected pleasure to meet this wonderful man. Fernando, one of Bolivia’s most distinguished artists, was drawn to the Bolivian high Andes and painted evocative landscapes of quiet contemplation. This was a feeling I could relate to and wished to explore.
In 2001, after a few years of mastering the art of making gesso panels and my own colours, I joined the ‘Egg Tempera Society’. Egg tempera allows the artist to build up a painting in slow transparent layers that remain luminous, clear and do not lose their graphic quality; the colours have a jewel like quality.
I also like to use other techniques, such as oils and soft pastels which allow me to create and explore different moods. I always like to start from a strong set of drawings as I feel these inform the rest of the work: drawing is the “grammar” of painting and it demands a search, a discipline of looking and understanding.
It is intriguing to create an emotional response in the viewer without needing to be aggressive or to shock. The beauty of mountains in stormy weather, a landscape close to my heart, goes beyond what it depicts – it can summon an essential feeling of awe or fear – it induces contemplation. Flowing water can communicate the endless need to adapt and the uniqueness of each response to circumstances.
No matter where we are it’s all there if we care to look. I choose a subject if I can feel a relationship to it; if it has a story to tell- which is why I also love painting people. My work never seeks to shout, nor do I have any interest in gimmicks. I believe in the craft of drawing and painting as a means of exploring the world.
We need to reclaim the art of attention to detail, the quality of looking and pondering, to find the new and ever -changing just as my Italian ancestors had to do when they first came to London 150 years ago without speaking a word of English.. My work invites the viewer to participate and search for something of their own.