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How I Work: Imagined Scenes
by Jose Antonio Sorolla Gallén


Normally I work on more than one painting at a time and the materials I am most comfortable with are oil on canvas.


The motifs that I use in my work arise in the most unexpected ways, without hardly looking for them. Any day on the beach, walking, in the pool, etc. there is an image that attracts me. From that moment, I try to turn that image into a scene. I imagine the painting. I study the possibilities of light, colors, movement, dresses, etc. I always try to be very careful with the details.


I remember that in "Elena in the Pool" series, what really attracted me at the beginning was simply the floating bright colors on the blue water. Then I imagined the scene and added the sunbather sunbathing, relaxed, with her Panama hat, her bikini, etc.


In "The Artist" series, what attracted me was a young woman with a camera who photographed the sea. I assumed that this young woman could be an artist doing her job. First came the scene and after the paintings.


A different case is, for example, the series of "The Lifeguards". Here I had to ask permission to photograph them and I don't direct the movements of the lifeguard. I just look and shoot when I think the time is right.


So, once the scene is clear and I can already imagine the painting, I call the models and take pictures. I like to work with people who are close to me because I find it easier to direct them. Finally, before I start to paint, I have to make a selection, which is complicated and I sometimes need help since I usually take many photographs and then choose very few to work with.


In short, this is my way of working; quite simple but not without some difficulty. I hope that this will deepen your understanding of my work a little.