Original paintings by Jorge Aguilar
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> Paintings by Jorge Aguilar
Jorge Aguilar is of Spanish origin and now living in the UK and has exhibited all over the world.
JORGE AGUILAR – AGON BAgr, AEA, AAPB, FRSA
Eh, qu’aimes-tu donc, extraordinaire etranger?
J’aime les nuages…
Les nuages qui passent
La bas… La bas…
Les merveilleux nuages.
To whom but Aguilar would these famous lines by Baudelaire be better directed? Suggestive poetic powers of creation, sensitive to a personal universe. A painter of fleeting emotions and nostalgic visions that guide us into a private world of sortilege.
S. Pottiez. Paris
“You do not know how fortunate you are, Jorge, to be able to do what you like most and be successful as a result of doing it.”
I have heard these sentiments expressed by envious, well-meaning friends and art collectors all over the world. In fact, they are absolutely right and as I believe that these factors are dependent on each other, so long as I continue to be creative, I will remain happy and contented.
I have always been of the opinion that artists are born rather than made, being a self-taught artist, I believe that, because I was given a natural talent for artistic expression, sooner or later I would have been compelled to find an avenue to channel that creative energy. Let me qualify these statements:
I was born in Barcelona in 1936, right at the start of the Civil War, and I became the product of the religious public school system that took me to High School and University. A few years later, equipped with a degree in Agriculture, I left Spain, seeking broader horizons on a journey of self-discovery, with a baggage full of dreams, enthusiasm and determination.
For the next two years and following my instinct, I took to the roads of Europe, visiting most countries and surviving on a variety of occupations, from farming in Switzerland to furniture making in Germany, with others including tourist guide, cook, window dresser, hotel night porter, etc. All the time, I was gaining invaluable experience, learning new languages, something that today allows me to communicate freely in six or seven languages.
The turning point came in Munich on a winter’s afternoon amongst Bohemian literary friends from the Swawinger Kunstkreis. I was given canvas, a palette and a challenge to paint a still life. It seems that, subconsciously, I had always taken for granted my natural ability to paint. As early as primary school, I was always the one requested to come up to the blackboard and draw botanical and anatomical designs with coloured chalks. Why me? Well, twenty years later, I was to find out in that cold attic in the old quarter of Munich. I rose to the challenge and finished my first painting.
Blinded with artist pride and encouragement, I made my way to Paris where I began to paint on the pavements of the Boulevards, at first, with chalks. To this day, I still have not forgotten the sound of coins hitting the ground and the rain on my shoulders.
One step further, and I graduated to painting on canvas in the Place du Tertre, with the established artists. At first, only in black and white, being the only colours I could afford. At this stage, my main concern was to achieve a reasonable degree of pictorial accuracy, trying to beat images into submission and transferring them onto the canvas.
Unfortunately, the French police took objection to artists selling their works to visitors and tourists. With unpleasant regularity, we were taken unceremoniously to the local prison where we were kept overnight, sharing a very limited space with tramps and prostitutes, a very humbling but enriching experience.
By this time, I was already married to my German wife, Anita, and it was during one of these nights in prison that our first child, Daniel, was due to be born. I remember pleading for special early discharge and I arrived just in time to hear my son’s first sounds. Later that day, I was delivering a painting commission by “Chez Zizi” to a Montmartre restaurant in the Rue du Chevalier de la Barre. I was paid the handsome amount of one hundred francs and a meal of my choice. That afternoon, I bought a pram and a soft toy elephant. I was set for family life.
Life in Paris could be exhilarating but it was certainly precarious and, after a few months, the family decided to move to the United States, but planned to stop first in England to become better acquainted with the English language. As they say, the rest is history. After a stint on the London Hyde Park railings and further trips to the Continent, publishers began to show interest in my work and my first reproduction, “Tranquility” became a “Fine Art Top Ten” and a world best-seller. Others followed like “The Archway” and “Serenity”. These were well rated and on one occasion even shared popularity ratings with Constable’s Vale of Dedham.
By now, I had had my first individual exhibition at the Medici Society in London’s Grafton Street and, in 1967, our second child was born in London, a daughter, Salome, to complete our international family.
Another turning point occurred when I joined the “Group 63” composed of distinguished professional artists. We travelled around the country and many exhibitions followed, accumulating market experience and artistic success. I remember the headlines that my work provoked at the Great Yarmouth Library – “Aguilar breaks all the rules and gets away with it”. That sort of comment sealed my attitude towards an uncompromising dialogue with nature. At first, as a landscape artist, the choice of subject and the problems of depiction made nature an enemy and a problem to be solved with difficulty. In the years between, which I describe as “the hazy years”, I equipped myself with more technical knowledge, resisting the mere transfer of reality. It had to be more than a photographic image and all my energies went into allowing the release of my instinctive natural style. Now the real fight started, to find the balance within the artist’s dual personality. I had the weapons to destroy the visual image but how far could I go with its reconstruction, to achieve the desired visual expression? I have to accept that very seldom I realised “my vision”, as the demand for self-improvement is too honest to be compromised.
In the Seventies, an economy of symbols prevailed and some surrealist influences filtered through my style, adding to an already rich pattern of resolutions.
By now, many publishers and overseas exhibitions had added to an extensive Curriculum and invariably the headlines would read “Internationally Famous Artist”, “Aristocrat of the Print World”, and such like, which always helps in dealing with the insecurity that plagues all artists with a fragile ego. The fact remains that we often become isolated islands of individuality and that it takes many moons of constant self-searching to come to terms with the two worlds in question and the values of reassurance.
I have been greatly spoiled in the department of reassurance, belonging to different Art Societies and European Academies which have given me the chance to aim at International Awards. Fortunately, I have become quite a collector of these, but I take special pride in the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts, and the Ancient Order of the European Academy of Arts.
My style of work has been described in a variety of modes, from the very pedestrian “he paints boats”, referring to my early successes in the publishing industry, to the complexity of “a romantic Impressionist with surrealist undertones”. I like to believe that, being self-taught, my style is a reflection of “me”; I cannot deny the fact that I have never felt the need to please nor to seek acceptance. I have always painted for myself, not in a selfish way, but within a self-generating process of improvement and reward, to satisfy my intense need for expression. By the end of the Eighties, a period of introversion and professional soul-searching had created a distinctive period of less defined contrasted images that I referred to earlier as the “hazy years”. Today, my increased respect for the landscape, combined with a still very detached attitude in the spectator/performer position, practically takes me back full circle to my preoccupation with the accurate translation of reality. However, my assessment of the real today is very different to that of the observer in the Sixties.
It was then that I started painting with acrylic, one of the forerunners of the medium that suited my personality and style, combining the need for hazy subtle transparent backgrounds in the water/gouache tradition and the textured palette knife strength of the heavier oils dedicated to the portrayal of space and light in total harmony.
For a good number of years now I seem to have been caught by a fever of transatlantic travelling. It all started in 1977 when my publishers offered me a tour of Australia. It served its purpose, opening certain doors and creating the necessary contacts with a number of galleries. It was a hard but fruitful experience and, by capitalising on the personal exchanges, I have been returning to Australasia and expanding the market of exhibitions into the building of world tours. My sixth world tour took me first to a tour of New Zealand, then dates in the USA and Canada, followed by some long-standing engagements in Europe, particularly Paris, Brussels and ended up back in the British Isles. Taking as much as three months, reserves of stamina were put to the test. As usual, the demands for promotional sessions put an unnecessary strain on my life. While, by now, I should be accustomed to the bright lights and the interviews, along with the less taxing eternal public questioning by attending previews, at the end I always feel a sense of deep void and unnecessary personal exposure.
Years of travelling, painting, and over a hundred individual exhibitions have built around me a very rich pattern of visual references that are bursting to be put down and expressed on the canvas. This should go some way to towards answering a well-voiced question – “where do you get your inspiration, Jorge?”
Looking back over the years as I have had to write this article, I realise that it has already been a long journey, like in the case of a long-distance runner, it helps to be able to release massive amounts of energy at prescribed times. My life so far has been very intense, not to say hectic. Contrary to popular belief, this profession requires a solid mental and physical constitution. I believe that the controlled, but consistently active, release of the inner force, which can be called an inspirational flame or, simply, creative energy, assures the longevity that artists enjoy.
These days I divide my time working between the studios in London and Cambridge, with regular painting journeys throughout Europe, visiting my favourite spots, the townscapes, landscapes and seascapes of France, Italy, Holland, Spain and Greece, not forgetting the dreaded but challenging world tours.
I suppose that most artists have a favourite time of day, subject and season. I would say that for total exhilaration it should be midday summer on a Greek island and for quiet repose, an autumn afternoon on a Parisian park. Should you meet me, please come and say “hello”.
Coastal Marine, Badalona, Spain - by Jorge Aguilar
18" x 24"
JAG001- by Jorge Aguilar
Beautifully mounted and framed
16" x 12"
Snow Scene - by Jorge Aguilar
Size is 15" x 12"
JAG003 - by Jorge Aguilar
22" x 18"
JAG005 - by Jorge Aguilar
36" x 24"
JAG006 - by Jorge Aguilar
24" x 20"
JAG004 - by Jorge Aguilar
24" x 20"
JAG002 - by Jorge Aguilar
12" x 10"
'Out of Season' by Jorge Aguilar
16" x 12"
'Waterway' by Jorge Aguilar
20" x 16"