We had the good fortune of connecting with Paulina Ramos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paulina, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Since childhood I have been interested in the illusion of the figure on a two dimensional surface. I wanted to gain knowledge of materials and use them to make my imagination a reality. I value greatly my studies into the history of art as one can learn how the past may influence the present. It’s important to see how these artists represented the world around them and then to use these lessons to help depict contemporary society. My hope is that future generations will look favorably on the art produced today and find some meaning in it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always been interested in portraits. When I started college I wanted to know how to do portraits properly and which materials I should use. I still did not know how to use oil paint so my portraits looked chalky and flat. Not being familiar with how to get proper skin tones on my palette I had a hard time figuring out how to paint portraits for a long period of time. After two years of college I took a figure painting course at Arizona State University where I started to learn how to mix colors on my palette which became easier for me to find the right oil color paints for portraits. Over the years I also learned that it is important to do a good set up on the model, to have enough shadows and lights on the model. For many years I worked from photographs and I had a hard time telling where shadows and lights came from, after studying one year in Florence I felt that it is easier to paint a portrait because working from life has the advantage of showing you where the light, reflected lights and shadows come from. It helps the portrait to look more natural and realistic. I also started using charcoal after Florence which I did not know how to use before, now I am more comfortable with this medium. It used to take me longer to draw with graphite and it is harder to erase. With charcoal I can erase immediately and I can draw with darker or lighter tones faster. After many years of painting and drawing I am encouraged to help others on improving their skills with traditional methods faster and easier. It is my goal to represent realistic portraits in my drawings and paintings.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Going to an art museum is the most interesting thing to do and there are many art museums to go all over the valley. These museums are the ones I recommend the most: The Phoenix Art Museum is my favorite place to go. People can find many types of art, from classical to contemporary art, from Gérôme to Rothko. I really like it because people can explore a diverse amount of art in just one place and it depicts the evolution of art, where people realize how art has changed over the years. The Heard Museum, which is next to the Phoenix Art Museum, features great works of art made by Native Americans where people can learn more about their tribal communities. The Mesa Arts Center has collections of contemporary artists. It is interesting to see what present artists are doing with different mediums and different subjects. At Arizona State University, where I went to college, they have a museum at the main campus in Tempe. People can find artwork from past artists, but also from contemporary artists. They have many different exhibitions every year at the ASU Art Museum. Besides visiting art galleries, there are also great restaurants with high-quality cuisine like Flower Child, True Food Kitchen and Culinary Dropout. There are many things to do across the valley like going to Scottsdale Fashion Square, Kierlands, or Downtown Phoenix.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have always been inspired by John Singer Sargent; he was a great painter. He made many successful paintings and could, without excessive detail, make the paintings look natural and realistic. I wanted to start working from life and using traditional methods like he did. My figure painting course at Arizona State University also influenced me to paint human figures and portraits from life. These techniques also helped me to define who I was as an artist and what I wanted to conceive with my works of art. After completing my bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts I was still interested in learning more about traditional methods so I moved to Florence for one year and I learned as much as I could and felt that I was finally on track creating exactly what I desired. After coming back from Florence I did not struggle as much as I did before and I can see that there were big improvements in my artworks.