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A Touch of Fantasy Emanates from Manuela Lendoyro's Photorealistic Paintings

The self-taught artist tells Creators about her process.

Photorealistic paintings fool the eye while revealing the artist's skill with the brush. Spanish painter Manuela Lendoyro plays with the history of photorealism both by giving her portrait paintings a dreamy, ethereal air full of color and light, and by blending parts of her subjects into the background. Her pastel colors have an almost foggy presence, and aspects of her figures, like hair, diminish into beautiful linework before dissolving into the background color.


Incredibly, Lendoyro, who is now based in San Diego, is completely self-taught. Originally, she studied fashion as a creative alternative, believing what other people said about fine arts not being a wise career choice. She wasn't happy with this work, and felt lost creatively. One day, a good friend's artist mother saw a few of Lendoyro's paintings, saying that she couldn't believe that this type of talent was being wasted.

"She opened my eyes instantly," says Lendoyro. "She was someone whom I greatly admired, and she believed in me so much. From then on, I stopped seeing my art as only a hobby."

Lendoyro credits countless childhood hours spent doodling away on drawings for helping develop her talent with photorealism. At first, she concentrated on lines, but later noticed that human beings (and everything else) are made of light, shadows, and lots of colors. For Lendoyro, this was the key to making photorealistic paintings with a colorful atmosphere.

To create these paintings, Lendoyro starts by taking photographs, usually of friends or others who are close to her. This part of the process is important: the image has to reflect an identity and a real gesture.

"I sometimes feel that through the connection between the artist and the model I am subconsciously trying to incorporate myself in one way or another," says Lendoyro. "Once I've chosen the image that I want to paint, I edit it and play around with the colors. Then, I sketch the image onto the canvas and then I start to paint. I mostly use oil paint for my work."


For the most part, Lendoyro focuses on figurative art since she has always been fascinated with everything that makes us human—the subconscious and pure emotions. She is also interested in humanity's relationship with nature and the wonderment of existence. "Art is a very personal thing," she says. "Painting, for me, is a way to express the complexity of emotions."

"I've always had difficulty with expressing myself through words," Lendoyro adds. "I've always felt that I'm not myself when I speak or write. Painting is my primary form of expression. Through it I explore my own identity, human nature, and what is inherent in all people."

Before leaving Spain for San Diego, Lendoyro was working on her very first collection. Currently, she is picking up where she left off.

"It's been a difficult transition for me, since in Spain I had just completed my very own studio," she says. "But, now I have an improvised area in which to paint in my new home, and have begun to create once again. My purpose is to begin my path as an artist here in the US and to dedicate myself to art 100%."

Click here to see more of Manuela Lendoyro's work.


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