Rubén Belloso Adorna was born in Seville, Spain in 1986 and attended the University of Seville, winning many awards. He is becoming well-known for his large-scale hyper-realistic portraits in pastel. He has chosen a selection of colours for portrait painting and Sennelier have created the Ruben Belloso Soft Pastel Set for Portraits (this set is now discontinued but other Sennelier pastel sets are available). Rubén tells us about his practice and influences in this recent interview.
Rubén Belloso Adorna is a much sought after tutor and gives workshops around the world. In 2016 he will be teaching workshops in Seville, Rome and Holland. This year Ruben exhibited in Feytiat in France, one of the most important pastel exhibitions in Europe, where he was the guest of honour. He has been invited to Pastel d Opale in 2016 and in 2017 he will be exhibiting in China. He has completed the First National Pastel Exhibition in Italy with the PASIT association of which he is the President.
Rubén Belloso Adorna Master Pastel Portrait Painter
Julie: Why do you paint portraits?
Rubén Belloso: I have always been passionate about the expressive power of a face. Hence my passion for the human figure and the portrait.
Julie: What kind of models are you interested in?
Rubén Belloso: I am interested in a model whose face has something interesting to say, is expressive, has a story, regardless of their social class. In some cases I claim that my pictures have a social component such as is the case of my series “Tales from the street.” The subject of this series are the homeless that I found on the streets from Seville to Rome. People for whom the loss of a loved one or a job has led to this unfortunate situation. I saw that people usually passed them without even turning their head, or they would even cross the street to not see them. Hence the size of my works.
Julie: Are the models people that you know?
Rubén Belloso: Sometimes they are people close to me, like my family and other times they are people that I see in the street.
Julie: Why do you like pastel?
Rubén Belloso: For me pastel is an incomparable material. Pastel combines a speed of execution with a colour quality and brightness that is difficult to match. It also allows me to work with my hands in direct contact with the material, without intermediaries.
Julie: You often paint with pastels on wood panels. How to prepare the surface?
Rubén Belloso: When I paint on wood I make a preparation in which I mix acrylic gesso with pumice powder and tint it with some acrylic colour as needed.
Julie: Do you use a fixative?
Rubén Belloso: I never use fixative. I have not found one that does not distort the colours. Also, the fixative wets the pastel and something is lost in the appearance.
Julie: What can you tell us about your painting process?
Rubén Belloso: I’m interested in drawing, it is essential for me, it is everything. From there, I try to convey the image through spots or overlapping lines of pastel that at a certain distance, give a realistic effect to the work.
Julie: Do you paint from real life or a photo?
Rubén Belloso: Unfortunately, I do not always have the good fortune to paint from life and I turn to photographing people in long sessions.
Julie: Of the paintings you’ve done, which is your favourite?
Rubén Belloso: I could not choose just one, each has something that attracts me, the colour, the idea, the composition… I have a special feeling for my first large format pastel portrait ‘Portugal 4 Study’ created in 2008 during my student years in the Faculty of Fine Arts in Seville. It opened my eyes to the possibilities that pastel could offer.
Julie: Who are your artistic influences?
Rubén Belloso: I have been influenced by many artists: fellow students in my time in Seville, the great masters of the past, and countless contemporary realist artists. You can learn a lot from others.
Julie: Who are your favourite contemporary artists?
Rubén Belloso: I have many, for example Jeremy Lipking, it seems both thematically and in technique we have similar concerns. In the technique of pastel, Vicente Romero, has an excellent use of the technique.
Julie: How did you choose the colours to include in your Sennelier ‘Rubén Belloso’ pastel collection set?
Rubén Belloso: It took a long time to select the 24 colours from the 525 that make up the whole of the Sennelier range. I had to make several portraits with different incarnations of skin until I found the final colours.
The image at the top is:
Rubén Belloso Adorno
pastel painting on wood panel
Click on the underlined link to go to the Sennelier Soft Pastel Sets on the Jackson’s Art Supplies website.