In interview with Raymond Roncero

Monday 13th December 2010


How long have you been painting?

Since the age of ten…my ambition then was to exhibit in a gallery…any gallery.

Why oil painting?

I always wanted to use oil paints but did not dare as I found them a bit daunting…in the early days I used poster paints and watercolors……at the time my parents did not encourage me to take up painting as a career as they saw it as a dead end job with no prospects….so I became a school teacher instead…..though I must point out I kept my artistic spirit alive through the art lessons I taught in school classes.

When did you take up painting as a full time occupation?

In 2003 after conversations with my school days peer Bathsheba Peralta, who I used to meet at the hairdresser, she encouraged me to take up painting and join Willa Vasquez art classes.

This I did and Willa encouraged me to paint in oils which I still do to this day.

I still attend her art class and also Ambrose Avellano’s classes. I find that the classes offer me mentorship and art criticism which I find essential for my development as an artist and also provides me the fraternity so essential towards work.

How many times have you exhibited publicly?

‘Venice: Behind the Mask’ is my third solo exhibition as a fully committed painter.

Maribel what inspires you?

Beauty……I am an optimist…..I want to put back beauty into a world that is sometimes full of pain and ugliness…take for example winter; all bleak and barren….then comes spring and a transformation takes place…..the transforming power of beauty….the transforming power of colour……beauty is a life enhancer….a re-birth amidst pain and suffering.

So I can safely assume that colour and nature is your inspirational muse?

Yes…glorious colour.

What artists do you look at?

Van Gogh for colour and movement…..Rafael, Tintoretto and the Pre-Raphaelites….the Pre-Raphaelites being my favourite…..these are the artists that i go to for technical assistance.

An example of finding technical help in other painters is my ‘Modigliani’ exhibition….that series of work was a voyage of discovery…in terms of colour mixing techniques and picture composition….I learnt about the construction of a painting….for me it was a return to traditional academic training. My 2007 Gibraltar Spring Exhibition award winning best Gibraltar theme painting entitled ‘Casemates’ shows my use of the Modigliani colour palette.

Maribel tell me a bit about art in Gibraltar…

I find there are many good committed artists/painters in Gibraltar…but sadly we do not have a structured government support…like say sport….we could do with the official bodies promoting and exploiting artists …..a good start would be a Gibraltar city art gallery.

Before we end talk to me about ‘Venice: Behind the Mask’

For the past ten years I have been holidaying in venice; I have fallen in love with the city….if I could I would live there….the carnival has been a total inspiration for me…here again we have the power of colour to transform…..who are this people…are they tall, short, fat, thin, disfigured, beautiful, ugly, moral, immoral…I will never know…..all I see is a transformation through colour and form.