In the pastel painting “Dreams 2,” an expectant mother, dressed in pure white and just a few weeks away from giving birth, nestles among cushions as if embraced by clouds that have gently lulled her to sleep. She looks content, with one hand resting gently over her baby, perhaps subconsciously ensuring her baby rests too.
The painting is the second image in a series that master pastel painter Rubén Belloso created of his wife’s pregnancy. The couple had had trouble conceiving and so when they discovered she was pregnant, they felt “extreme happiness,” Belloso says in his online artist statement. It was a time of immense inspiration for him, and he painted his wife’s portrait a dozen times.
Belloso doesn’t paint for fashion’s sake or because he knows something will sell better. What’s important for him is to be true to himself. He almost always paints people he knows, his family and friends, often seeking to convey positive feelings. He wouldn’t want people to feel indifferent after seeing his work.
For the past 12 years, Belloso has specialized in creating images with pastels as he feels it’s a complete technique: “It combines the best of drawing and painting,” he said in an email. Belloso particularly enjoys the directness of the technique. He can paint pastels with his hands or fingers straight onto the painting surface without the need for intermediary elements. There’s also no need to wait for the pastel to dry so the immediacy of the medium is something he enjoys.
Belloso continues to be surprised at the possibilities pastels bring to his art, even after so many years of painting. Ultimately, he wants to revive pastel painting, a medium he feels is underappreciated in some sectors of the art world.
Belloso teaches pastel painting in Seville, Spain, where he is based and across Europe, hoping to instill his love for this under-used medium to others. “My goal is that pastel continues to grow as a technique and acquires the recognition it deserves,” he says.
“Dreams 2” is part of the “Distilled Beauty” exhibition, at the American Legacy Fine Arts, in Pasadena, CA., that features select artists from the 14th International Art Renewal Center Salon. The exhibition runs until Nov. 8; to find out more, visit AmericanLegacyFineArts.com