Raul Diaz: Transforming the World with Oils

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

Painting has always revolved around collaboration for Raul Diaz, whether learning and sharing creative knowledge with artistic friends; or exploring the craft through video, books and workshops featuring the likes of Richard Schmid, Quang Ho and Frank Serrano.

This Culiacan-based artist (located in Northwestern Mexico) has loved painting since he was a boy. After 12 years of self instruction and with a distinctive appreciation for Monet, Manet, Sorolla and Nicolai Fenchin, just to name a few, Raul has developed a style that combines imagination with impressionistic flair.

“I love to paint beauty, and I see it in everything that surrounds me,” Raul said. “I am the creator of my own world, and if what is there I do not like, I change and transform it into everything that it might be.”

That kind of “anything goes” attitude is conducive to the unrestricted, loose watercolor paintings Raul creates. And, with that state of mind comes artwork that is truly liberating, free of limitations or boundaries and able to tug at emotions, expressing itself in splashes of wild colors, a flourish of brush strokes and unabashed resourcefulness.

Sunset is a wonderful example of the extreme abstraction that Raul is capable of. I often think of sunsets as containing every color in the rainbow, and Raul was more than willing to recognize that multitude of hues in this thickly-textured piece.


What I love most about the painting is its movement and variety of directions. Raul uses a back-and-forth technique with his brushstrokes to enhance the enormity of the sky, entangling that awe-inspiring blue with the shimmering gold of the sun, then skimming down into the cool water with sprays of purple and red below.

A more restrained, yet still vibrant painting is Raul’s sunny and bold Oaxaca Vase, which brings to mind the cultural pride and essence of the heart of Mexico.

jarron oaxaca

Note how the russet background calls attention to the earthen nature of the pottery, reminding us that from Mexico’s nutrient-rich soil grows the luscious fruit and brilliant blossoms seen in this painting. Looking at the painted vase itself, I can’t help but wonder what other meanings and special memories this piece of pottery holds for Raul.

Lastly, as we move from the elite elegance of Oaxaca’s treasures above, to the rustic beauty below, Ruins in the City is a tribute to the simple beauty of things that may be old, yet are not forgotten.

ruinas en la ciudad

This painting carries with it a subtle antiquity, and shares the truth that age and history are always cause for reverence.

Below the peeling white paint lies stubborn brick; solid and comforting in its agelessness. Although the paint may be cracking, and the windows broken, this touching reminder of the past offers a feeling of comfort and familiarity.

Be sure to head out to Raul’s website and get inspired by the rest of Raul’s beautiful portraits, rural scenes, florals, and more.


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