Jaime Valero

Biography
A bit about Jaime Valero

When my first passion led me to discover another one

Creating + teaching

Drawing and painting have always been my form of self-expression. Through my artwork, what I hope to accomplish is to invite viewers to interpret and personally connect with my art.

About seven years ago, I ventured into teaching, sharing techniques that have shaped my creative path. What surprised me was how much I gained from this experience.  Teaching offers a refreshing break from my studio and combines creation, education, and community into a single, enriching experience.

Why I create

When asked why I paint, my answer is simple: I paint out of sheer necessity. It is my way of expressing what resides within me. I don´t even feel that I have chosen figurative art as a planned option but each step in my expressive journey has naturally led me in a representational direction. 

What I create

Over the past three decades, I have created landscapes, still lifes, seas and figures but I return time and time again to portraits. A face holds an enormous amount of visual power, it has the ability to stop time, to immortalize us on a two-dimensional surface. Through my portraits, I strive to convey a lifetime of experiences, capturing the highs and lows with utmost honesty.  

Water is another key element in many of my artworks. This vital resource brings forth color, reflections and gives a deeper intensity to the artwork. Water has the power to expose, reveal, and strip away the external layers that define us, including elements like our hairstyles that crown our identity. By doing so, water unveils our vulnerability, making us more authentic and real.

My goal is to gift the viewer a moment of reflection, encouraging them to ponder what is going on in the painting and to reflect and draw their own unique conclusions.  

In case you’re curious, more details below…

Jaime Valero with oil painting Portrait #15

It all began on my 13th birthday when I received the Beatles’ White album. In the album there were four photos of these musical geniuses from Liverpool. I became captivated by their expressions and personalities. I chose to draw Paul McCartney, and that simple sketch became my first attempt to capture a person with pencil and paper. From that point on, I found myself eagerly sketching everything within reach, including the legendary classical music composers from my school music book. Portraits were always my favorite subject matter as they proved to be the most challenging for me. 

During my early teenage years in Madrid, I would wander the streets in search of postcards, which later became the inspiration for my drawings. At that time, my artistic references were predominantly in black and white. However, my perspective shifted when my father introduced me to renowned photographers, and that is when my desire to work with color began. 

As I always shared a room with one or two of my siblings (I am the third out of five kids), oil color was out of the question due to space and ventilation. So watercolor was my chosen medium for years. 

When I was accepted into the Fine Arts School of the Complutense University in Madrid, I was able to begin to learn about oil painting as we had a dedicated space for us to create. I remember arriving when the University opened and staying until it closed so that I could take full advantage of this coveted studio space. However, to my despair, figurative art was frowned upon by my professors and the majority of my fellow students and abstract art dominated the curriculum. Consequently, I decided to change my major to etching. Despite this setback, my university years were magical as I was constantly creating and met some wonderful fellow artists whom I still maintain a friendship with today. 

After graduation, I accepted a position as a technical drawing teacher at a private school. After six years I finally, summoned the courage to take the leap and committed to a full-time artistic pursuit.

When I was accepted into the Fine Arts School of the Complutense University in Madrid, I begin to learn about oil painting and we had dedicated studio space. I remember arriving when the University opened and staying until it closed so that I could take full advantage of this coveted space. Unfortunately, figurative art was frowned upon by my professors and the majority of my fellow students and abstract art dominated the curriculum. Consequently, I decided to change my major to etching. Despite this setback, my university years were magical as I was constantly creating and met some wonderful fellow artists whom I still maintain a friendship with today. 

After graduation, I accepted a position as a technical drawing teacher at a private school. After six years I finally, summoned the courage to take the leap and committed to a full-time artistic pursuit.

During the late 1990’s through commissioned portraits and personal investigation, I was able to begin to achieve the desired results that I was striving to achieve. 

My wife is from the States so we took advantage before having kids and moved to the United States for two years in 2001 and that was when I began to paint larger-scale portraits. They were intense years as I did not have my typical “distractions” of family and friend. Instead, I spent long hours on my own. I learned a great deal about myself, my art and the art world during those two years. I established relationships with galleries and began showing throughout the US and made some wonderful friendships with artists and non-artists.  

We moved back to Madrid and the following years we formed our family and somehow survived the recession in 2008 witnessing the unfortunate closure of numerous galleries. During this time I never stopped creating and investigating new techniques.

In 2012 I had a lightbulb moment. I was working on a large portrait painting with a new technique using glazes, and to my surprise, I was able to portray exactly what I had in my mind onto the canvas. Before this moment, I had always “come close” to achieving the desired outcome but from this point on I was able to consistently put on canvas what I had previously conceived in my mind.

In 2016, I ventured into teaching art classes for adults, an endeavor that continues to this day. Through this experience, I have honed my ability to critique and effectively communicate artistic concepts. In addition to my weekly classes, I have had the privilege of conducting workshops both nationally and internationally. From Germany to Belgium, Japan to China, I have had the opportunity to connect with diverse artists and enthusiasts, enriching my perspective and creating new friendships.

As my artistic journey progresses, my investigation into new techniques and approaches continues. In 2020, I delved into a fresh creative process: constructing to deconstruct. Departing from the conventional focus on replicating reference images, I now embrace a more open-ended approach, leaving room for interpretation.  

With each passing year, I learn and grow and continue to investigate. As I look to the future, I eagerly anticipate the next pivotal moments that will shape my art and deepen the connection between my work and those who appreciate it.