In the Studio: Catalan artist Raquel Alvarez Sardina captures light, form and beauty
Born in Barcelona and now based in Gloucestershire, Raquel Alvarez Sardina is primarily concerned with the beauty of nature; by its forms, its colours and textures.
Raquel Alvarez Sardina in her studio, 2017
At the age of seventeen Raquel Alvarez Sardina joined Academia Leonardo da Vinci, Florence and in 1991 she completed her degree in Fine Arts at Universidad de Bellas Artes, Barcelona. Whilst completing her degree she joined the studios of artists Sant Vicens and Boter/Santalo and attended a drawing course at Academia Lorenzo de Medici in Florence. After graduating she came to England where she studied a Masters Degree in Fine Art: Painting at Cardiff University.
I discovered I could paint when I won a painting competition in my primary school at the age of 9. I started taking painting seriously from the age of 15. Oil painting has always been my favourite medium. I like to work with transparencies, glazes and impasto all in the same painting.
The studio space
I have a studio at the end of my garden in Gloucestershire with a further space to store drying and completed paintings. Half my studio is painted dark grey, a colour that is neutral and absorbs light. This creates the best environment for chiaroscuro painting. I prefer natural light to artificial light due to the way it affects colour. I try to position objects next to a window when planning my compositions.
Raquel Alvarez Sardina painting outdoors in her garden, 2017
Raquel Alvarez Sardina studio setup, 2017
In my darker paintings, I am inspired by Old Masters and I try to emulate a candlelit atmosphere. The Spanish artists Zurbarán and Sanchez Cotán are the artists that I most admire and from which I get my inspiration. They place objects and fruit in a dark background often on to a mantelpiece. The way they paint simple fruit or vegetables goes beyond technical skill, their paintings are full of soul and emotion and rich in spirituality. I am constantly exploring and studying other masters. At the moment I am concentrating on the way light flows in the portraits of Rembrandt and of English artists like Henry Raeburn and Sir Thomas Lawrence.
I am currently working towards a new collection for Arcadia Contemporary in Los Angeles. The president of American Art Award Thom Bierdz writes in Highlight Hollywood Magazine that, “the art that Arcadia Contemporary Galleries exhibits is representational, skilled and accomplished”. Steve Diamant, President of Arcadia Fine Arts Gallery also states in an interview in Pastimes for a Lifetime, “The goal of the gallery is to show, within the realm of realism, artists who are extraordinarily skilled, but also have a unique, individual style and are very different from any other artist we already represent.”
In 2016, HRH Princess Michael of Kent presented me with The President and Vice President’s Choice Award for the Best Work of Art in the Society of Women Artists Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London. Daphne Todd OBE was a member of the selection panel.
The ‘Quince Tree’ is a favourite work because of the scale and complexity of the subject matter. As this was painted live in my garden - it becomes very personal.
I currently have a collection of originals showing at The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle upon Tyne. This solo show has been very demanding and challenging to bring together. I hope people admire the quality of my work and at the same time feel the emotions that went into creating it.
Raquel Alvarez Sardina Solo Show 2017, The Biscuit Factory