Would you like to meet in person a creator who is close to the tenacity of Picasso, the genius of Dalí, and the particular humor of renowned cartoonists? I assure you that if you value quality painting, accompanied by endearing anecdotes, you could live an enriching journey walking through time.
The Spanish painter I am referring to, who came to experience the Spanish Civil War in Tenerife as a child, has such a personal fixation for showing the daily life of his population and environment that it well reminds me of the Japanese painter Hokusai, with the addition that both they painted many different views of their most iconic volcanoes. The first one engraved Mount Fuji in wood 36 times, and the Canarian artist has surpassed that figure by depicting Teide, the highest peak in Spain and a World Heritage Site on paper. To be next to this consecrated watercolourist and listen to him talk about his artistic beginnings, is to travel to the Laguna city of the 30s, where a young man was enraptured by drawing with colored chalk on walls and floors, while his mother worked as a seamstress. Can you imagine it?
A Difficult but Talented Childhood
Despite being orphaned at the age of 8 and having to sleep in a barn, the stars aligned themselves in his benefit so that the great artist in embryo could water the seed of his talent to make it bear fruit over time. Thus, no matter how small any gesture may seem, it can be the spur of something very large, such as the scraps of paper that the Curbelo printing press and bookstore provided so that the little portent could make his first pencil notes on the architecture of convents, fountains, tiles, cattle, bolts, sky …, which did not go unnoticed by the teachers who knew how to value them, promoting their skills.
Revolutionary Watercolour Style
With such an appetite to paint everything, over time, he developed a powerful self-taught learning that made him express in any medium what came to his imaginal world.The daring to innovate and his willingness to break with the above, led him in 1966 to a new stage with experimental watercolor, drawn through a lightly watercolor spontaneous drawing, which broke with the colorist realism of Francisco Bonnin, prevalent in that period. His painter friend Raúl Tabares joined the experiment and together they held the Experimental Watercolor exhibition in Tenerife, which marked a milestone in watercolor in the Canary Islands due to its modernity.
“We did watercolour in a different way. We drew staining the colors, we let them blend with the strokes. At that time they called us crazy because they did not understand anything of what we were doing”, he tells me, with a smile, at the same time that his eyes contemplate the more than 170 works that make up his latest exhibition ‘Estampas de Identidad Canaria’ Drawings of Canarian Identity, which is about of an exhibition that covers landscapes, corners and people that have marked the history of the Islands for several decades, giving testimony of a time lived and shared by the artist.
Being a Painter is a Life Experience
“Painting is much more than the stamp, it is overcoming many risks, it is daring to say yes to dizzying projects; it is the reflection of experiences that I have shared with many people who are no longer there”. It is fascinating to travel with the imagination to the life of the portrayed peasant, who will always remain alive in these special drawings.
This great international reference of Canarian painting, with more than 180 exhibitions behind him, is unable to say the number of paintings he has painted in his entire life: “I would say there are thousands”. Despite his brilliant resume, worthy of being consulted, he is known for having a rebellious and open spirit that goes beyond those molds that can narrow his open-mindedness. “I have said, repeatedly, that I cannot paint as the professor teaches me to do. My painting is mine, free, it is the reflection of what I live… it is my interior”; judge for yourself if this is not reflected in the many drawings of this unique collection.
His Ikigai is in Full Swing
This eager painter, who has worked on many techniques, loves to flow, because he has a real panic of stagnation; this resonates more than ever, because everything is change in nature and becoming in the lives of people. He began with a pencil and nib, and then he was captivated by watercolor, which allowed him to capture his deepest feelings on paper. He also enjoyed oil painting, now he uses acrylic a lot and even paints with markers! Nothing can resist Manolo’s creativity. “There is always something to do, something to contribute. I like to make posters, designs for everything, cards, books, folders or illustrations, such as the one I did for the Alaluz Poetry magazine in San José, California in the United States”
Upcoming Large-Scale Exhibition
Speaking of future projects, I would like to point out that very soon a long-awaited individual exhibition will tour the 15 heritage cities of Spain, giving proof of the value that an artist brings to their culture, creating a heritage that everyone is committed to supporting.
Meet the Protagonist
If one of the objectives of the exhibition is to bring the figure of one of the great Canarian artists closer to the younger public to make them participate in the important pictorial legacy of the Islands, we must congratulate ourselves that not only will they be the ones who will be able to enjoy their works and the physical presence of this 90-year-old giant, but all fans of painting and art in general, that they will be able to meet him one to one and see him paint some dream watercolors live
At the reach of your hand
Now you have the opportunity to discover how our Islands pass through the gaze of this genius, and even acquire one of his works to remember, for a very cheap price in my opinion (from just over 100 euros).I recommend it to you!
Manolo Sanchez, a close man who loves what he does and shares it with others. Listen to what he says.