The Work. Paintings and Drawings  

The Artist


  1988 - 1990    Second Expressionism

   1992 - 2002    Third Expressionism

    2002 - 2005    Third Expressionism (Continuation)

2006...Current Artworks. Last Paintings.

MERELLO | Thoughts about art and painting.

Jose Manuel Merello.- Costa Brava (81 x 130 cm) Mix media on canvas
Jose Manuel Merello.- Costa Brava (81 x 130 cm) Mix media on canvas



"It's always been said that El Greco had an eye disease and that's why he painted the elongated figures. I think this is false and ridiculous. It is very easy to deduce that if I see an apple and I have a visual illness that makes me perceive it elongated, in the same way I would project it elongated on the painting and a viewer with healthy eyes would "de-project" it in turn and perceive it in its real size. Otherwise, if El Greco were to paint, as they say, the longest apple, his sickly vision would make it even longer when he saw it in the finished painting, and, assuming he was not exactly a fool, he would try to correct it so that his long apple would be normal again for any spectator, including himself.
Similarly, if I confuse the colours in my palette and see red green and green red, and I want to paint a green meadow with a red poppy, as I happen to have the wrong eyesight I will find the red of the meadow and the green of its poppy splendid, so I will go and look for that red in my palette, and again, because of my illness, I will make a mistake and find that the green paint is a splendid red for the meadow and so, inevitably, the painting will end up having the right colours for any normal viewer.
El Greco had a wonderful creativity ahead of his time and a very marked ascetic feeling that led him to paint those elongated forms to enhance a spiritual feeling in the viewer, as it happens with the Gothic cathedrals. All his compositions (except for some, and in his disclaimer) he paints them in elongated pictures, and I cannot imagine him ordering a canvas and a frame of such and such size and protesting to the poor Toledo shopkeeper that why the two-metre frames are so small lately. Anyway, I hope that in the future it won't be said that Picasso had a visual illness that made him see one eye here and the other there, but But I have serious doubts
." © José Manuel Merello


Painting is a state of mind, "a state of the soul" said Joaquín Sorolla. The painter who makes his work a lifestyle paints all day, every day. He paints even when he doesn't paint. When he sleeps he paints, when he watches he paints. The gift of being a painter has hidden the poison and the sweet charge of total dedication and commitment. Painting is difficult and requires the absolute attention of the mind and hand in cold, quiet and constant observation. One must be able to retain enormous quantities of color combinations, spaces and lines. It is essential to equip oneself with innumerable technical resources, with precise knowledge of the materials and to keep everything alive and updated in order to be able to use it at the most unexpected moment. But even if you have all this well greased and up to date, you still run the enormous risk of not knowing how to stop on time. The most critical moment for a painter is to decide when it is time to finish a painting.

In painting it is easier to sin by excess than by default. And that's why I find nothing more fascinating than the quiet, silent and still work of waiting for the painting to speak to you, to finish painting itself. This delicate instant can happen in the most unexpected place and at the most improper time and requires being alert and knowing how to catch it on the fly. I have always had the habit of spending many hours painting without painting, just looking at my paintings, placed everywhere, or even remembering them, living them, while I walk down the street or in any other place and circumstance: I try to attend to them and listen to them with a fresh mind, as if they were not mine but the work of an enemy, with coldness and even with contempt many times, and, miraculously, from this distancing springs one's own secret life from the painting that decides on its own that it already is and that it is enough to explain itself. When I am overwhelmed by a painting and the dialogue with its world becomes a battle, then I leave it isolated, isolated in a corner and at the end of time -days, months, or even years-, when I finally rescue it, I notice with emotion how sometimes punishment becomes forgiveness and how from it comes the astonishing discovery of the work that has known how to finish itself in solitude. At that moment, surrendered, you admit that the painting no longer belongs to you. This is part of the magic of the art of painting.

Perhaps this is the inspiration. The light that hides behind a mental process, an unwritten equation of hundreds of parameters that often resolves itself in the hope, who knows, that one day science will manage to trap the DNA that beats under the magic of art.
" © José Manuel Merello

" I am not an avant-garde artist. My art is contemporary, literally speaking: a product of its time. Vanguard, on the contrary, represents the most modern innovations – neither better nor worse; like the sharp point of a spear which opens up new paths. However, that sharp point needs all the power and weight of the rest of the spear, the weight of Art History. Without all this History, there is no push to open up new ways. Vanguard Art represents freshness, novelty, surprise, the truth and the fake. A risky and fascinating bet. However, what interests me is to draw from the classic and contemporary traditions, deepen into the walked path, and remain vigilant – like many other artists – to provide vanguard artists a solid foundation. Much in the same way as an older brother holds his youngest brother’s hand with fascination, as the intrepid child peeks, with wonderful daring and without fear, into the abyss. I need to keep an eye on the Avant-garde Movement because it keeps me young as artist, it cleanses me, it clears up my spirit, so that my view doesn’t sour. I am a part of the body of the spear and, from that vantage point, I observe with fascination the young art sharp poking at the same time that I draw from the magnificent work of the masters of all times, the powerful legacy that sustains us. I am not part of the sparkles – sometimes ephemeral – of the spearhead. Each one of us has his role, and mine, nowadays, is not in the vanguard." © José Manuel Merello

"The mirror of Art.
The art I want is harmony shining through chaos. Optimism as an obligatory daily prayer. Militant color in spite of everything.
The vertigo of the contemporary world, the acceleration that drags us like a torrent drags small ants and volatile insects without the possibility of foreseeing or cushioning the impacts and upsets, one after the other, with the violence of indomitable nature; the daily avatars, the marvelous and fearsome advance of technology, information, disinformation and counterinformation; the incessant noise of a modern and tumultuous world that leaves no room for silence and stillness, for brotherhood, for forgiveness....All this, as it could not be otherwise, is manifested in art in a clairvoyant way, as if it were a mirror that reflects, at the speed of light, the image that is seen in it: without intermediaries, without time for manipulation, without lies (lies in art are one more truth of the world, an unquestionable reality).
Perhaps this vital chaos that overwhelms us -and that sometimes amuses us in a drunkenness of sensations- is a deterioration of our society, of our art and of our values; many stay in the way: wars, diseases, injustices, Nature in rebellion, everything are dramatic storms that rule the world and govern art and artists, unfailingly.
But perhaps they are part of the universal game, of the cosmic gas, of the star dust of which we are constituted. Therefore, becoming aware of the extraordinary biology that life gives us in spite of its incomprehensible self-destructive eagerness of Religious Mantis, becoming aware of the tsunami that drags us and pulling the glare and flashes of reason, of harmony, of the squaring of the circle of yin and yang, we may manage to cross, like the poet, in spite of the pain, this path that is life and that is art. "Golpe a golpe, verso a verso".
© José Manuel Merello

"ABOUT JOAQUÍN SOROLLLA".: Today it does not seem to be too modern speaking about Joaquín Sorolla, the great Valencian painter. But I always have refused to see in him an antiquated, impressionistic painter, luminous and little else more. Otherwise, Sorolla is one of the big ones, a titan, a Colossus of the painting. He maybe couldn’t be compared neither to a Velázquez nor to a Picasso, it would be very daring, but yes I see him at a height of a Cezanne or a Manet. Well, it is true that the work of the Valencian one is very unequal in quality and is paying for decades for this discontinuity in such way that only very few people can rescue between his painting those linens which catapult him towards the Olympus: Sorolla's white linens." © José Manuel Merello

"Abstract Painting and Surrealist Painting, apart from being essential and marvelous in themselves, these days also fulfill an invaluable pedagogical function for any artist. The have now become part of Classical Art and are the Artistic Heritage for Spiritual Learning and Artistic technique. They are like gymnastics for the unaware and for the eye, providing places where almost all feelings and spiritual emotions can be hatched to finally lead to build this immeasurable and grandiose thing we call THE ART of PAINTING." © José Manuel Merello

"A good drawing cannot in any way be unfavorably compared with a good painting. It is more, beneath every picture is an essential underlying drawing that sustains it, a skeleton that mobilizes it and gives it form. Any painting lacking of this base crumbles and appears flimsy." © José Manuel Merello

" The drawing does not remain defined by the line, not even the painting remains defined by the color. The painting is still saved, and this is partly what currently defines it, of being able to be assimilated and comprising in a monitor or a photo. On the other hand the drawing does really is asimilable by these means. Leaving aside fetishisms, it does not matter to me to have an original drawing or a photo or an identical poster of him. It is the same thing and the drawing can be enjoyed identically, as it happens despite of reading a good book in different editions, or seeing the same photo revealed for the second or tenth time. When it is not in game neither the fetishism nor the plasticity, all these supports take us to the nobility - or misery - of the work. But in painting the plasticity is always in game, the plasticity, the morbidity, the opaqueness or the transparence, the brilliant or dull surface... qualities that are impossible to be transmitted by means of a monitor of computer, a TV or a poster. The digital technique, far from ruining the arts, it only does to demonstrate the singularities of these other techniques, and the painting gains the garland due to currently it is impossible to enjoy completely The Meninas in an image, impossible to feel the powerful sensation of gap of the stay where Velázquez does, impossibly to perceive the pearly rind of the pictorial layer of the picture, useless to turned oneself and to see sideway to be able to feel the delicate nodes and stretch marks of the painting of the genius. And let's not say anything about pictures of Tàpies, or of Lucian Freud, or of Jasper Johns... The color and the disposition of the forms can suggest us very much, of course, but they remain far away, they are not enough to express the plasticity of the picture. This is the Painting." © José Manuel Merello

" In painting and in drawing, technically speaking, things can be wrong done if they do not know how to make them correctly, but the bad made things must be "perfectly wrong made". This way the result will always be good. " (summer 2004) © José Manuel Merello

"Art History is the emotional and spiritual History of humankind. It is a remembering of its most sublime feelings materialized in works of art that transcend time. Altamira and Lascaux are primitive examples of this human desire of expressing its emotions. In my opinion, there is not any artistic era superior to another one in its initial impetus to create a material proof of an emotion or a spiritual pleasure. On the other hand, I believe there have been art eras superior to others since the human being has improved its technique. In the same way that scientific progress always goes up, artistic progress, which needs technology to advance, evolves with an increasing trend. However, this evolution is not continuous, since it depends on two factors: technique and spiritual emotion. Art is not just a feeling. Art is the feeling being materialized, incarnated, sculpted, written with skill and technique. The cavemen had only a few tools at their reach; consequently their art is more primitive than Baroque Art, to give an example. The problem lies in the fact that technique and emotion do not always move along parallel lines. As a result, we can sometimes find art periods with a greater and purer emotional and spiritual impulse, even though they relied on inferior technique. On the other hand, we sometimes can find other periods with better means, in which the art is weaker due to the human soul was soured, repressed, or manipulated. When the human spirit undergoes a sublime and free period, accompanied by a superior technique, then we will refer to this period as a Golden Art Age." © José Manuel Merello

"Nowadays, Modern Art exudes a breath of fresh air and freedom never before imaginable. Up till now, Art History has never had such an array of possible techniques for artists to choose from or such a variety of artistic languages for artists to fully express themselves. All the different Art schools and tendencies, favoritisms aside (even though they have always been there), enjoy a great open field that promises fabulous creations in the coming years.
Surrealism, which was born in the 20th century as a perfectly defined art movement, is nowadays a tendency impacted by Expressionism, Figuratism, Abstract and many other schools of Art, which enrich Surrealism without diluting it and enlarge Surrealism without voiding it. I opine that the borders in art tend to vanish. It is still very complex to reflect upon this phenomenon since we find ourselves currently in this Art multimovement searching for the "one Art". But beware; never should it be an imposition or an absolute movement. Art is free by nature and it will always slip away, like water through our fingers, from the premonitions and the horizons that we try to impose on it." © José Manuel Merello

“I plead for humility in painting. Painting does not need so much fanfare or intellectual pretension. It must come from a person’s clean soul, from the clear and pure eye of the painter, even if only a simple apple is being painted. It is for this reason that I admire Morandi so much.” © José Manuel Merello

"I detest a large part of the minimalism that is practiced today across all the arts. I'm afraid that within this alleged synthesis there is an excess of rubbish and uselessness floating around that serves only to confuse the audience, which sometimes may be ignorant but blameless, although, more frequently, intolerably pedantic, void of any understanding or knowledge."
 © José Manuel Merello

“A frame to a good painting is like a dress to a beautiful naked woman. It is not essential but serves to celebrate and give charm to the work.” © José Manuel Merello

"Spanish painting has, throughout the centuries, maintained a serene and melancholic regard: tragic but never violent. There is no such thing as violent Spanish painting. Even the most ferocious Goya or the most horrifying Picasso never lose the composure and class inherent in the brushwork." © José Manuel Merello

"Everybody asks themselves what art is. I think that art is any human creation that is able to lift the spirit to a higher plain of emotion and wonderment." © José Manuel Merello

"The Expressionist Painters, The Surrealistic ones, The Contemporary Painters in general ... and The Ancients, Figurative Painters, Abstracts, Realistics, Pop, The Greatest Painters, The Unknown ones, The Famous ones, The Genial Artists and The Artists without Genius... The Draftsmen of Comic, The Digital ones, Arrogants, Simples, Mad Painters, Rich ones, Poor Painters. It does not matter for me from where are they, Chinese or Spanish Painters; I like All the Painters around the World, I am interested in the whole painting; a simple vase, an anonymous portrait, a pretentious picture, a stupid picture, a brilliant painting: They all are Painters, All is Painting" © José Manuel Merello

"Horses and children. Fat women, beautiful women and old ladies. The magicians and poets. Dogs and cats sleeping. Bulls and Spanish bullfighters. The processions of Seville and Malaga. The crucified Christs filled with blood and prayers. The saints. A Virgin for each village. The sun and the rain of Biscay. The sea, the passion, love and art of the Mediterranean. Painting and older architecture. And the most modern. The dances and dances of the villages lost. Literature issued by the Spanish world. Deep red, purple, black and olive. The balance between the sun, moon and stars: this is the Spanish art. " ©José Manuel Merello

"How will be the art in 2011 and in the near future? Freedom defines contemporary art. International art fairs are fun and intriguing, are challenges for thought and human emotion. Walking through a contemporary art fair like ARCO in Madrid, is now a mental release. You may think that what we are seeing is not "art", you may think that some artistic creations are not moral and then deduce that they are not art. But you are wrong. The art does not ever depend on morality. Any work of art owes nothing to any form of thought or ideology. The human spirit is free. Art is free. The art is beyond good and evil. What is necessary is to prevent some forms of art that are violent, dangerous, dictatorial. We can not allow them because we need rules for coexistence or because it is ethically unacceptable. For example, we can turn the Amazon into a garden empty, naked, with only a tree. Sure could be a work of conceptual art, but it would be really stupid. The savagery and brutality can be handled with great skill. It would not be moral, it might be art, but should not be allowed.
Another common mistake for many visitors to ARCO is to think that there can be only paint. No. The painting is a very important part of art, but only a part. Many artists complain that there is very little paint on the contemporary art fairs. They have a point, perhaps t
he art galleries with paintings
should be more exposed there. Modern painting or classical paintings are wonderful, a highly evolved form of art ... but Art does not need paintings for being Art. Of course, many current creations are just ephemeral art, art to think and meditate during a few minutes. And now that's a very interesting difference." ©José Manuel Merello

Art and the economical crisis (2012)
Art, as any commercial product, is noticing the same or more, since it is not an essential item, the consequences of the current economic situation. However, as in all times of change and redirection of political, economic and social paradigms, art can come out, enriched and even strengthened, of a situation like this.

In the Art world, particularly in the interpretation, actors and actresses tell that certain levels of anxiety and stress are able to awake in them the ability to concentrate and a transmission talent which they do not have in normal situations. And, what is the present time but a continuous state of turmoil and excitement? The art has been, fortunately or unfortunately, nurtured by many or all of the major episodes of human seizure; signs of this are the Picasso's Guernica or the  Fusilamientos del 2 de Mayo from Goya.

Would then be currently expected to flourish great works of art or even a new art movement? Movement that could result in two very different topics, one that would focus on criticism and look to the past aiming on the events and behaviors that have led us to the current economic crisis, and another that would extoll all that nourishes and gives the human a second opportunity to reorient their economic, social and political processes, as intelligence and generosity.  ©P.M. Giménez

Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart and Marilyn. Matches.
"More nonsense. Now it's up to Van Gogh. Just a new book that speculates about his last days of life, whether he committed suicide or was accidentally killed.
I don’t have read the book, but I have read some notes like one where someone asks Vincent, who was bleeding in his bed, if he had wanted to commit suicide and he said “I think so”. And for some persons this is a enough reason to write a book because this answer might indicate that he did not pull the trigger.
This nonsense, and others cited in the book, justifies, without shame, to raise a new plot that will surely give a lot of money, because it is likely to be after converted into a film. Tangle and dig no matter what it takes, without the least respect in the life of someone who gave everything for nothing. It's disgusting this hobby to create a hieroglyph which gives morbid fascination and money for a long time. It seems to me outrageous disrespect to the generous genius.
This is the same with Leonardo's Mona Lisa. Come and see what we invented now or what we can discover in the hackneyed, heavy and nothing enigmatic smile of Donna. Hey, look, I think this hair of his hair is like a cross of a rare sect and this union of points that I see is the trail of a powerful secret means that Leonardo knew, even then, the existence of neutrinos. And on and on, nonsense after another, no matter if the Mona Lisa is a mediocre picture (beyond the use of "sfumato" as innovation), mediocre, yes, in its historical context and others it can have a bit interest but plastically is not too good. Never mind. They have already managed to become it an icon based in chatter and nonsense, and then it begins to have an interest, quite apart from its true quality. As the image of Marilyn in pop art. Nothing more. Poor Marilyn, how many people are still profiting from his image and his death. I am convinced Da Vinci would be saddened about all these matters.
Or Mozart. He and his death. Salieri and Mozart enmeshed in a tangle mesh tarnishing forever the image of the great man, making him look like drivel, like a clown in the, otherwise extraordinary, film of Milos Forman's, "Amadeus". It is always the same: to make art or intrigue whatever it costs. I always say that art does not know morality but that does not entitle us to crucify dogs or to make intrigues and cabals on humans who only made to magnify our spirit giving it all they've got.

I am very sad about people do not stop to remove the ears, bones, misery and privacy of these martyrs of art.

Please, leave them all alone."

©José Manuel Merello

"Spanish painters, as a whole, are some of the best painters of the world. Perhaps the best. The great and wonderful works by Spanish painters from the beginning until today form one of the most colossal and reasonable artistic creations in history. Spanish art and Spanish painters have provided to the world works of outstanding beauty and quality. A Spanish painter will always be a Spanish painter. No matter what he paints, when he paints it, and which set of circumstances surround him, he will be entirely immersed in a bath of centuries, mysterious as well as tragic, melancholic, serene and sensual. The same bath that immersed Greco and Velazquez, as well as Cossío, Picasso, Miró, Miralles, Tapies, Broto, Barceló, …a bath that is unavoidable. All of them palpitate Spain, the mystery of anything Spanish, of Spanish art. None of them, neither any other of the many great Spanish painters can distance themselves from the dense and, at the same time, bright atmosphere of this very old country. Spanish art, its paintings, calls your attention wherever it is. Evidently, art is not nationalist. Art is universal. Therefore, any Spanish painter, American painter o German painter can or should paint according to regionalisms or folklorisms. But even if he tried, a Spanish artist is branded with fire for life: like a bull. Like the branding of the clean look of the black eyes of the Spanish woman." ©José Manuel Merello

"…being a painter, a writer, a sculptor or a musician does not put one at a higher rank than any other profession. There are a lot of professions that, when carried out to the extreme, without a doubt achieve a higher level than that of the majority of artists. For instance, a wonderful craftsman, a maker of Manila shawls, can go further than a mediocre sculptor; the work can be superior. Or a great soccer player can raise greater passion than most of us, painters. To be an “artist” does not guarantee anything. However, sometimes a genius is born in a way that distinguishes the great arts, along with science, philosophy or politics, from any other endeavor. We cannot compare Michael Angelo’s Sistine Chapel or Newton’s Law of Gravitation with the most amazing soccer goal. Art with capital letters is easy to detect; its light continues to shine through time.” ©José Manuel Merello 

"There are painters, decorators, illustrators, designers... who deny the use of black because they believe it subtracts color or makes it dirty. On the other hand, they do not deny white.
They don't realize that in truth, mathematically, physically, or however you want to see it, black is just another shade of white. It is, in short, yet another white. In the infinite scale of greys, that goes from the most extreme white to the deepest black, where to draw a fragile line that sentences that from there the black begins?
It is absurd and, from my experience as a painter, I can say that black is completely essential in the formation of an infinite number of colours. Apart from a referee who coordinates them in extraordinary harmonies. Exactly the same as white.
For me it is very clear. Black is white."
© José Manuel Merello

Van Gogh's Taylor (92x73 cm).




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