Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Feature: Pablo Villicana Lara

"Eh Kneek II" original watercolor by Pablo Villicana Lara
Pablo Villicana Lara was born in a small village thirty miles sour of the California/ Mexico border.  He came to the U.S. when he was five to receive medical attention need due to contracting polio when he was two years old.  He alway intended to go back to Mexico, but by the time the medical attention was over, he had been in school for several years so he decided to stay and finish his schooling.  He received his BFA from St. Mary's College in Moraga, California, then went on to receive his MFA in drawing with distinction at California College of the Arts in Oakland.  Though he was raised in both Mexican and American cultures, most of his paintings reflect his Mexican Native heritage.  Through bold color, dramatic lighting, handmade objects such as pottery, baskets, blankets, musical instruments, cultural objects, and portraits of family members and traditional people, he creates paintings that speak of the heart of his people and the culture that many are trying to preserve.  He tries to evoke a sense of ancient history and tradition as well as weave symbols of stories passed down orally from generation to generation.

To see more of his work visit his website and facebook page.

 How did you get your start what has been your artistic journey so far?

I found myself hiding in the art and music rooms during high school so when I went to college, naturally I declared a business major and practically flunked every class. It took one art class and a "why are you in the business dept" from a wise art instructor to transform my college career from academic probation to the deans list. That got me into an art college where I devoured everything from ceramics to paper making to acrylics to fiber arts but nothing compared to the challenge and satisfaction I got from watercolors which is what I have been working with for the last 24 years.

"Preparing for Eclipse" original watercolor by Pablo Villicana Lara
Where were you born?

A little pueblo 30 mins south of Mexicali Baja Ca
If you could live anywhere where would you live?

Somewhere in the mountains.
What is your favorite thing to paint and why?

Portraits are my my first love but I also really enjoy the diversity of still lifes.

"Shell Keeper" original watercolor by Pablo Villicana Lara
Can you discuss your painting techniques?

I have no painting tricks or special techniques, I paint very directly, using as few layers as possible to keep the colors clean and fresh. I like to mix the colors I want to see on the painting in the palette although I really enjoy seeing how colors interact when I float different colors into wet areas. I try to plan out paintings before I put paint to paper but also stay open to happy accidents that change the direction of the painting. My mantra is "Slop it on and make it work!"
What are your favorite paint colors?

I work with a fairly limited palette, some of my favorites are Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, New Gamboge

"This Little Piggy Went To Market" original watercolor by Pablo Villicana Lara
Do you have a favorite artist?

Georgia Okeefe, Joseph Rafael, Andrew Wyeth, Mary Cassatt, Stanislaw Zoladz, Victor Martinez
What have been some of your crowning achievements?

My first solo show was the first time I stepped back and really looked at what I could do which has inspired me to push myself further and work harder at what I do. I've been fortunate enough to do well in the society competitions.
What are 5 things you would like to have happen, dream big here:)

Show my work in a major museum.
More solo shows.
Buy land where I can build a separate studio from the house.
That's all I really need.

"I Scream" original watercolor by Pablo Villicana Lara
What would be your best advice for an upcoming artist?

As an instructor, I've always encouraged to draw every day, learn techniques and know your colors so you can explore what they can do for you but as an artist, I encourage being creative in every aspect of your life.
What's the best advice you have received?

I'm trying to listen to advice but I just can't do it!  I tend to listen to my own instincts.

original watercolor by Pablo Villicana Lara
Speed Round

Chocolate or Vanilla?
Dream vacation?
Retracing my grandparent's and great grandparents footsteps  and visiting the traditional villages of Mexico.
Book or movie?
Favorite Author?
Rudolfo Anaya
Favorite Movie?
I only watch intellectual movies like Dumb and Dumber.
Romance or Comedy?
Favorite Dessert?
Anything Chocolate!
Night Owl or morning person?
Morning person, but I also enjoy staying up to late.

Thank you so much Pablo:))


  1. Carrie, you get up as early as I do! Loved reading about Pablo and seeing some of his work. His color use is amazing!

    1. Sherry I schedule my posts:)) But I was up until 3a.m. I'm a night owl:)

  2. Amazing work - such talent in these Artists! Awe inspiring :0)

    1. He is amazing, I just love how he uses such fabulous colors in the backgrounds it really energizes the whole painting.

  3. His work is absolutely beautiful ...and his website is so impressive! Thank you so much Carrie for sharing him with us!!!!

  4. I love his work, amazing! Thank you Carrie!

  5. I love learning about new artists...Pablo is fabulous!!! Thanks so much for the introduction!

  6. Thank you so much for inviting me to be feature Friday artist! What an honor! :0)

  7. Pablo's paintings are terrific and now, thanks to you, we know more about the "man behind the brush"! Very nice article, Carrie!

  8. This is interesting! I enjoyed reading your great post.Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have shared here. The Dance