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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Walfrido Garcia

From Dusk to Dawn Waikiki, Walfrido Garcia
Whenever we travel to another country I like to support a favorite local artist by purchasing one or two small, hand-painted, originals. Of course, when dealing with local artists painting for the tourist trade, the word "originals" becomes a relative term. Such artists often had a repertoire of dozens of images they paint again and again with only slight variations. As any painter will tell you, other artists seldom buy art. Either they have little or no room to hang it (my situation) or they consider that they could do just as well themselves. I seldom buy anything larger than about 8 x 10 inches then stretch the canvas myself and hang them in groups of two or three. I have work from Paris, Venice, Greece, and San Salvador. In 2019, my wife and I plan to revisit Hawai'i to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary (we were first there for our 25th). I've always liked Hawaiian art and today I think I've found the painter I'd like to support.
Walfrido Garcia continues to teach painting classes.
(I dislike seeing a class where everyone is painting the same scene.)
His name is Walfrido Garcia. He's a relatively young, but mature, artist, born in 1966, making him fifty-three by the time we get back to the islands. Walfrido is the son of the renowned Filipino painter, Edgardo F. Garcia, and thus a second generation artist. Watching his father teach art and paint made the boy eager to follow in his footsteps. He drew everything from airplanes to comic strip characters to develop his hand-eye coordination. By the age of fourteen, his father took him under his wing and taught him all of the Old Masters secrets. The family had moved to California in 1973 where Walfrido’s love for painting came hand in hand with his love for surfing. By the time he was seventeen, Walfrido was teaching his own art classes, hanging his art in Carmel galleries, and taking art classes full time at Ohlone Jr. College in Fremont, California.
An untitled beach scene by Walfrido Garcia, which
appears to be an early work, probably from the 1990s.
Hawaiian Islands, Walfrido Garcia
In 1987, while on vacation in Hawaii, Garcia found repre-sentation by the Livingston art gallery on Oahu. From there his work attracted the atten-tion of local as well as inter-national art buyers. Walfrido continued to paint, teach and study art at San Jose State University. His paintings even-tually caught the eye of Bill Wyland, founder of Wyland Galleries Hawaii. At the age of twenty-three, Garcia became the youngest artist to display his art in the major gallery chain. Since then Walfrido’s art has graced the walls of art galleries and collectors' homes across the United States and abroad.

Stoney Corner, Walfrido Garcia
Garcia's style might best be described as “Romantic Luminism” in which the subjects he portrays goes beyond the photographic to achieve a sense of timeless perfection with nature. Each painting starts out as a loose impressionistic idea. As the layers of paint are added the details come out. By the time the highlights are done the painting glows with light reminiscent of the Old Masters. Up close the rhythm of his brush strokes are plainly visible. But in stepping back, they blend into a harmonious image of light, color, and texture. Garcia uses photographs, videos, and also paints on location, which gives him endless subject matter, flooding his imagination, unlocking the key to his style. Garcia's most frequent subjects include romantic moonlight, brilliant sunsets, the sea caves of Kauai, and the awe-inspiring glow of his signature “Lavascapes,“ allowing each canvas to live with the brilliant light of nature coming from within.

Garcia's "cave" paintings are among my personal favorites.
Make no mistake about it, Walfrido Garcia paints for Hawaii's tourist crowd; but then, so does virtually every other contemporary artist in the Aloha art market. And, as is typical of Hawaiian art, his work is rife was color, quite possibly far more color than mainland eyes are accustomed to. On this side of the Pacific, we would stereotype such brilliant sunsets as "cheap" and amateurish. Let me assure you, Garcia's work is neither. Medium-size originals start at around $2,000 (one reason I only buy smaller ones).

Garcia occasionally paints non-island scenes, though I wonder where he found that much water in Las Vegas...probably the Bellagio Fountains.
Garcia is best known for his ground-breaking seascape paintings. However, in addition to his traditional seascapes, his trailblazing series includes his Koa wood collection, fire and fantasy, Disney collaborations, and Princess Cruise Line prints. Besides being a full-time painter, Garcia's credits include that of TV producer of his own art show, Art Made Easy, which has been awarded “Best Art Show” in the islands over the local channels. Walfrido’s greatest sense of accomplishment is being a father, a husband, and bringing people's spirit closer to the light within his art. With over thirty-four years of painting experience behind him, Walfrido Garcia is considered to be one of the most distinguished Hawaiian artists today.

I'm not particularly fond of a title printed on a painting.

Part of the Disney collaboration.


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