The portraits of Spanish artist Jaime Valero are an interesting example of contemporary realism that embodies the duality of simplicity and complexity. Each large-scale painting is pared down to a few basic elements seen throughout all of Jaime Valero’s work: a solitary figure typically from the shoulders up in an aquatic environment. The figures, both male and female, sometimes look out at the viewer, other times they are preoccupied with activity. While the format of each piece is minimal, it’s the painters’ acute observation of the figure that adds layers of densely packed information and visual complexity to the painting.
Jaime Valero uses photography as a source material for his paintings- a pragmatic necessity for capturing his water soaked subjects-but the end result are paintings that don’t feel beholden to the source. Instead, as Jaime works over the entire canvas, he’s constantly judging what the painting needs: adding small details, layering transparent glazes, and placing shades and tints that give life to the figure. The end result is a surface of which every square inch is packed with information about the figure, and stands as a testament to the observational skills of the artist.
I highly recommend watching the videos on Jaime Valero’s website. In both Spanish and English, Jaime narrates through the painting process-it’s a fascinating peak into the artist’s technique and motivation.