Hugo Lopez Bolivar: Realistic Watercolor and Oil Paintings

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Watercolor Paintings

In a way, Hugo Lopez Bolivar’s paintings are more than just realistic—they’re also incredibly authentic. The people in them will tug at your heartstrings, make you laugh, or bring to mind someone (or something) from your own life.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this personal journey into Hugo’s art. . .

Doesn’t this man’s life look wonderful in Sunday Nap? All he’s missing is a nice, cool glass of iced tea!


I’m loving Hugo’s use of white clothing to offset the darkened hedge in the background. The soft light is truly reminiscent of a late afternoon, when the sun’s rays are slowly fading. They cast long shadows along the grass, giving me the sense that dinnertime is soon approaching.

And it’s all those details that really make this scene come to life, from the glistening red leaves tucked within the hedge to the ribbed edge of his jacket and all its delightful wrinkles to the soft sheen of thin fabric stretching across the umbrella.

One can almost form a narrative with Hugo’s work. Surely, this next man sits day in and day out in the mild weather of California, selling those crates of tomatoes.


The corner is no doubt marked as his own after all the time he’s spent here within his own little marketplace. A large pile of tomatoes sits on a tarp which encloses the man into a small area for sitting. Here, he waits for hours for passersby to examine and pick up a few plump tomatoes for their salads and sauces.

It’s somewhat of a romanticized image of this man’s profession, but instead of seeing it through rose-colored glasses, we see the rose and violet tints on the stone wall along which the man rests, and the tidy, purple-hued blanket upon which he sits.

Again, the details make the scene—the aged numbers on the wooden crates, the crevasses in the stone wall, and the glass door bring with them stark realism.

In this final piece, entitled Crystal Cove Beach, dimpled sand stretches out before you like a golden rug. People of all ages are out walking among the boulders on this beautiful day, with nothing but blue skies and a sparkling, crashing tide in their future.


A grassy bluff jets out into the surf, creating beautiful depths to the painting, as well as a bright burst of green. The people seem minute compared to the rolling waves and the steep hill, and it makes you think about how miraculous the world and all its elements really are.

Hugo was born in Bogota, Colombia, and, at the age of 67, has practiced architecture for more than 20 years and painted full-time for more than 15 years. In 2000, he and his family moved to Lake Forest, Cali.

The rest of his paintings, which have been featured in several exhibitions in California, can be found on his website. Two of my favorites, which you can’t miss, include Choosing Hat (those white socks!!) and Imminent Dunk (that girl’s in for it!)



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