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Secundino Rivera
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in the childhood
during post-war times
in the port of El Barquero,
we had this only school teacher who used to come and go
on a motorcycle
rarely passing class.
He left us all drawing.
This situation led me to copy Japanese prints
with very much dedication
as well as to admire Velásquez, Murillo, Goya and El Greco,
printed in those text books.
That everyday endeavor
was something that influenced me
during my schooldays,
when I learned fast.
Among other things, that poem by Espronceda,
The Pirate Song
as well as finding solutions to arithmetic problems.
Later, we had some other teachers
with whom we were able to learn different and concrete things.

Festival I (Linografía) Festival I (Linografía)

Sleeping and dreams

At the age of thirteen
I had to quit school
in serious dislike
for it was my wish to study.
I was taught by my aunt Manola
who was a good cook
I started in this occupation making the food
for some workers from a sawmill
I did sit for not so long
then I ended up working in the same factory,
These times of starting were hard
but money was needed for surviving,
I was the eldest of my brothers Pepe and Claudio.
We lived in Benigna’s house, my grandmother (on my mother’s line)
whom I loved very much.
The house was conveyed to my aunt
and she worked by my mother’s side all her life
for us.
without our father, José Rivera
who was shot
when I was only five years old
life was less than impossible
My father left an emptiness that has always been there.

Among the dreams
there was one,
that of overcoming that difficult situation.
One day
I bought my first book
according to my likings
it was a treaty on decorative painting;
I realized that my mind was not the same anymore
it was hard for my to assimilate due to the lack of brain gymnastics
for too long
laziness had invaded me,
of the seven capital sins.
From this time of work
I recall that during the rest time
we had a lot of fun, a partner and I.
He was very ingenious,
one day we started to write a novel
It was very funny
and was never ended, unique work.

Freedom and work

To get rid of the military service
I enrolled in the navy
as soon as possible.
Thus, at he age of 19 I left home for the first time.
Once there,
I tried to embark in the Juan Sebastian Elcano
which traveled throughout the world.
Becoming a deserter crossed my mind
I spent almost two years in the old destructor José Luis Diez
anchored in El Ferrol Del Caudillo.
The bad treatment to the subordinates
was astonishing
so when I was licensed
it was party
for me.

At home again
I felt happy
but the idea of leaving prevailed
and by 1955
I came to Venezuela
with borrowed money
that my mother got.
I traveled in the holds of an Italian ship
Il Auriga,
I realized
at once
what I was leaving behind,
family, friends and many experiences,
I felt an emptiness
that I could not fill with anything
Nostalgia was indescribable.

Reflejo de un pensamiento, 1987 (Óleo sobre tela) Reflejo de un pensamiento, 1987 (Óleo sobre tela)

I started a new life
in Venezuela, at least I breathed
airs of freedom
despite the dictatorship.
The political situation was bad
the atmosphere was weird,
but the situation in Spain
from my point of view, was a lot harder,
the difference
was brutal.

That start was not easy at all.
The first three months
I contracted some debts
for the work was scarce;
then I got a job
making all kinds of things
at Hotel Colón
in the corners of Viento (Wind) a Muerto (Dead man)
in Caracas.
That designation of the corners
has always called my attention.
The new city has lost this,
many buildings have names in English
such as “Green Siete”
Instead of “Verde Siete”.

At Hotel Colón
That colonial big house
of huge rooms and interior yards
also turned into rooms,
there was a lot of people.
In the kitchen, I recall,
a great amount of spaghetti already cooked
that the cook rapidly warmed
In the bowl
as the guests came.
After paying off my debts
I became a guest.
One of the jobs I got
was to paint
the huge spaces of the Washington Barber Shop
at Plaza Bolívar.
I was to start on a Saturday noon and finish it by Monday morning,
so I worked for 48 hours without sleeping
but I earned the money I needed.
I recall that I slept for 28 continuous hours.
I went on
step by step
to become a cartel painter.
The owner of the hotel
ordered one for the Façade
and I made it with great dedication.
The decorator Juan Panyella who was living there,
congratulated me
and took me to work in Tiendas Vam (Vam Stores)
where he managed the decoration workshop.
Afterwards, we had a workshop together
from which I slowly retired.
Then. I opened my own workshop
in the old basement of Las Palmas Movie theater,
I made silk screen among other things
what was useful
for me to be the first one
printing cartels for the Taxis and Por Puestos (Public transportation
vehicles where each passenger pays for his seat)
of Caracas
with which I saved them
the task of going around shouting their routes along the streets.

During this time I met
Spaniard Painters Pilar Aranda and Francisco de San José,
my first painting teacher.
He was a very sensitive painter
with a great culture
founder with Benjamín Palencia , of the School of Vallecas or of Madrid.
With him I got my first knowledge of the golden number (número áureo?)
and he initiated me in many others
such as the proportional orders of the Greek
since he also knew this language.

I recall
that I painted my first nude painting in his workshop.
When I finished it, he turned and said:
This cannot be possible!
I became his partner
for we went to paint outdoors.
During this time
I painted a lot,
wrapped in some kind of universal freedom
full of mystique
which I believe, I never lost.
For me this man has been loved and fundamental.

At the same time, I attended the Free Studio of Art
Where I studied Drawing and Sculpture.
Thus, I reached 1966.
I left for France on my own
I settled in Paris
With the help of my friend Claudine Frachet and her sister Maggy
I lived in an attic of the same family
There I spent six years

Maternidad II (Bronce) Maternidad II (Bronce)

I studied a little bit of French
I enrolled in the Louvre Museum
as a copyist.
In the Schools of de la Ville
I worked on drawing and sculpture
And attended the School of Fine Arts
The task was not small.

In the Museum, I started copying The Virgin of The Rocks
by Leonardo da Vinci
and I studied his Treaty of Painting
at the same time.
Two years later
I received a lesson
During a filming of his paintings
With very brilliant lamps
I could see that his painting was transparent until the infinite,
Did not transcend the surface.

I pulled out strength
To then copy the Kermese by Rubens with its colors
And one hundred characters in their party environment.
There, in the Louvre
I was able to see many works
Original drawings by Leonardo and Michel Angelo
During that time I lived immersed in that environment

Life and its teachings

In Paris
I lived out of nearly nothing
Amazed myself
Of the little I need
To live.
I preferred this situation
And not to work in anything else.
After leaving the Museum
I attended the school of Fine Arts
There I studied the Painting techniques and the making of colors in oil
There I also learned drawing and anatomy
With a Dutch friend.

In those streets
We sometimes found
A dead cat
We dissected it by night,
By 4 in the morning
The room was stinking
Even so
We were excited
And talked about the great anatomists.

I attended the school of de la Ville of Paris
In the evenings
There I studied sculpture, drawing, geometry and architecture as well.
I made intermittent trips to Spain
To be with my family
In Madrid
A compulsory visit to El Prado Museum
I found
A friend whom I met in Caracas
His job was to buy junk and old clothes
With another associate
I felt attraction
And a few weeks later
I was part of this association.
In some towns of Castilla
Where we went to buy to sell later in Madrid
Life elapsed as in the Middle Ages.
The experiences
Were unbelievable
I always regret not having spent more time in this job
For it also meant freedom.

I returned to Caracas
Again leaving many friends behind who are still there.
One more time I managed to settle
Doing what has been and is my workshop for a long time.
I owned I school of Painting an Drawing
Until one day that I resigned to it
Because some of my students
Were not interested in art
But in solving their problems
Through a hobby
And I was in the middle.

I always thought
That the best way to teach something
Is with the example
Which is not easy to achieve.
I have never believed in teachers who talk too much
And show little.
I took the risk of living my art and I do not regret it
In time
I established my own bronze foundry
With the intention of casting my own sculptures
I made a mistake
Suddenly I found myself working for people
Who, with their money
Wanted to cast
Pieces, sometimes made by their teachers.
I was a prisoner of the circumstances
And of myself.
Closing the door crossed my mind
But it was not easy
For there were many commitments acquired.
I ended up working for my own assistants.
The exercise of patience surpassed that of other opportunities in life.

I got rid of this situation
When I found other people
The workshop improved a lot
But the decision to close or sell was made.

In this well mounted workshop
We had a little dog
Very brave and loving
It got distemper
And the veterinarian could not save him
After laying flowers in its tomb
Besides the workshop
I told myself:
Maybe, this is the beginning of the end!

With María Ruiz, my shiny Venezuelan wife
Working by ourselves
We were able to comply with our commitments.
Finally, we closed the door
And took a trip to Spain for her to know
My mother and other relatives
When we returned
I could not sell the workshop.
I decided to dismantle it.
I thought losing was winning
And so it was.

The things that cost 100 I sold for 50,
Once I finished this task
I felt free of a very heavy burden.
To have my time again for my art
Was another teaching received.

How many mistakes fill the paths of life!
Those are like the arteries of a complex body
Through which
the right moves and the mistakes transit.
The mistakes are the experiences
Since in art
It is fundamental to know what is not to be done.

From 1972
Domiciled in Caracas once again
I traveled to Europe somehow often.
I returned to France and Spain.
I went to Rome, Florence, Orviedo, Arezzo and Siena where those artist, creators of the
impossible making huge works in a lifetime, had come from.

I know a great part of Venezuela
I have traveled painting its landscapes
Which are a great part as well, of my painting.
Sometimes painting outdoors
One receives teachings.
Painting a big painting
People would stop and ask what I was doing
I felt disturbed by this situation
For it was one after the other
I saw a man approaching
With a little dog
I was surprised
He did not come to show interest in my work
But to tell me
In his excitement
How many dodgers had been born a few days ago.
I listened to him pleasantly,
My presumption was an act of arrogance
And it made me think
That we all have our dogs,
No matter who the person is
Any time
We can receive a lesson

I feel Gallego (from Galicia) always
But to Venezuela I owe
A part of my growth as an artist
And as a man.
María and I have a beautiful girl
Whom she wanted to name Marian Amelia
After my mother.
Mi daughter will soon be two years old
She paints all over the walls
Whatever she wants
She likes to ouch the clay
This is good for the imagination
I hope
For her
Freedom before herself
Already involved in this stom that life is
And her poetry
Which for me is
The essence of feelings.

Things also have a destiny

I participated in a contest
Of the Museum of Fine Arts of Caracas
The work Apocalypse of 1.5 x 2.5 meters which was rejected
By the Juries of always.

Back in the workshop
After crossing one of the elevated bridges of the city
The painting flew away some fifty meters
When the transport stopped
I got down at once
And I saw the drivers stopping on the highest portion of the bridge
I thought they were trying to evade the painting,
Which I thanked in advance
As I approached I saw less and less
But I heard a voice telling me:
There it is!
And for my astonishment
It had fallen on a tree
Almost in a vertical and horizontal position
At sight-height of the drivers
Who crossed through the top of that elevated bridge.
Among millions of possibilities
The painting had chosen one
It looked for its exhibition site
It did not need the museum
For the moment.

Emotional mood and Art

For me
In art
Nature is the fundamental issue.

All that exists at the same time
is not as if from night and mystery
the light and its colors were born
to show us what we are and we are not.
This concept is essential for my art
we always start from nothing
to create
however at the same time
It is something like
an energy rising.
The emotion of the art of painting is
in the fact that through colors
the forms of things rise
they are the soul of a painting.

Drawing disposes of the abstraction like painting
but forms are supported by geometry
so that
a lineal world starts to rise
joining some things to others
creating unexpected proportions
in communion with one self.

I think that the best works
Are those fluent.
In them, the artist leaves his essence
the works that resist
do not have the same content.
The subject
the breath starting the movement of a work,
this is one of the emotional parts.
My subjects have been varied.
All, for me, is in the universe.
To paint it, to draw it or to sculpt it
is like the art dream.
That storm invading us
it is like re-birthing
every instant.

The great dimensions of the works
make the artist grow.

Drawing requires a great dedication.
Its conquest is like somehow penetrate inside one self
step by step
it is decanted,
Strength and Faith in one self
are important.

Each work needs a new breath.

Sculpture is on the street
from a movement of an individual or of a group
a great project can be born, it is the world of ideas.

The marvelous thing of the mind
that it can see or feel what it wants.
Monstrous things can be as well
the important issue
it is the light
each one throws unto the others.

The art tries
to transmit the expression and the content of things
It is like an organic entity
with arteries branching to the infinite
through them, ideas
and emotions cross.

Knowledge and Art

I understand knowledge is fundamental
The dream of reason creates monsters
as Goya says in one of his prints.
art requires the search of a truth
that is within us
sometimes well hidden
and which is only found through intuition
and internal strength.

The Ávila cannot be painted without painting the universe.
Every day is different and always similar to itself.
A face is the same. A new light always bathes it
and so, on and on with everything.
Abstraction in figuration is fundamental,
colors and their combination are the way.
Sculpture as well, is abstraction of the space in relation to the body
Where the measure is like the drawing.
I conceive drawing as an abstraction
It is the combination of the measure in the whole or in a part.

To paint a black object,
If it is made of velvet
colors and their combination
will not be the same
As if painting a silk fabric, black as well.

The works of an artist
are like the ashes of combustion.
Art has been defined as 90% of transpiration and 10% inspiration.

In life
the way an organism moves
is registered in the subconscious.
It is something abstract.
The wings of a bird move with the wind
in the same way
the fins of a fish move in the water.

My way of living is related to the different stages of my art.
The transition from one to the other is some sort of necessary emptiness.

The mystic attitude and Art

The work breathes
If not
It can be said
that it has not been born

The emotion of sculpture
Is related to space
for they are the same thing.
Michel Angelo said that
the sculpture is inside the rock piece
only the excess has to be taken away.
the space will be entering through the work.

Drawing is the supporting point of painting
And sculpture
but also
It is self-sufficient per se.

A pupil asked Tintoretto
What was necessary to be a painter?
And then?
Keep drawing!

Each work is something new
The unlimited character of the mind is marvelous
art wishes to transmit expression and
the content of things.
The artist is gifted to give the best of him.

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