Vicente Romero In His Own Words
"I am a Spanish painter, born in Madrid in 1956. At that time, it was not unreasonable for a family of modest means to be able to send their children to university for higher education. This was true in my case, and in 1982 I finished my degree in sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid. Very soon thereafter, the necessities of survival forced me to paint portraits on the streets of the Iberian coasts, as well as on the islands of Ibiza and Tenerife. Those years of semi-nomadic life moved me away from sculpture—an activity that requires an artist to live in a fixed location. On the other hand, all those years served to familiarize me with the techniques of pastel art, which I had never used before. I found that medium suited my sensitivities very well. I then settled down on the Costa Brava, a peaceful and radiant place whose great luminosity has deeply transformed my vision of light and color.
From a very early age, I was naturally attracted to the world of women. While mysterious, I find it greatly fascinating. I don’t believe in art which is too conceptual nor steeped in virtuosity. I can respect art that does not communicate emotionally, but I’m not interested in undertaking it myself. The fact that, iconographically, my paintings have a marked “retro” or anachronistic flavor it is not due to a desire on my part to revive old times. Stylistically, I consider myself as a very classical painter. My most admired artists are mainly those from the 17th century—especially Rembrandt and Velázquez. This is because I understand that it is the culmination of the developments of the Renaissance. Classical Greek sculpture, particularly the pediments of Phidias’s Parthenon—the zenith of our artistic tradition—has also sculpted me.
Although I was born in the interior of the country, my life in the Mediterranean has allowed be to be progressively seduced by the explosion of light and color that stimulates me every day. That’s why I understand that my paintings may often seem impressionistic, but nothing could be further from the truth. I admire the influence of the Impressionists because they liberated light and color. However, drawing as a support for painting is practically absent in the work of artists like Monet. For me, drawing, in its various aspects, must be the structural foundation on which a painting is built. For this reason, other artists who are lumped in with Impressionism, like Manet, Degas, Cézanne or Sorolla himself, interest me much more because they never disregarded the drawing aspects of art.
Although I also use oil as a pictorial medium, the freshness and immediacy of pastel is unmatched. It is the most direct pictorial technique—the only one in which the artist works with pure pigments. This brings some important advantages. First, wet painting techniques are hampered by the shifting of color when the paint dries. The paint may darken, lose brightness or get yellowish. Pastel, on the other hand, being a dry medium, remains unchanged. Second, pastel gives the artist the freedom to work at his own pace without being forced to adapt to the drying cycles of the wet mediums. Thus, there is no need for the artist to rush if the wants to paint “alla prima” and no need to wait for the paint to dry. There are no conditioning factors that constrain the freedom of the artist to express emotions or ideas spontaneously. Finally, the feelings experienced are only comparable to clay modeling, because no additional tools or instruments are necessary—your bare hands and some pastel sticks are all that is needed!"