BORJA FERNANDEZ (born Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1944)
Having been an art student since the age of 10, and only taking a break from her studies for marriage and the birth of her son, Borja Fernandez’s work is the culmination of many private lessons and a 6 l/2 year course of study with Joaquin Torrents Llado (Spanish, 1946-1933). It is only in the last nine years that she has come to perfect her own true style.
When asked to define her style, Fernandez replies, “It is difficult to define, but for me I think it is an impression that I get of what I am seeing in a particular moment. It isn’t absolute realism either. For me, nature is a dream and I interpret what I see. I’m sure that it must have figurative elements and it has its anecdotes, but it also does not end in reality. It is an interpretation of nature.” As a student, Fernandez was very methodical, never straying from what was being taught. The transition away from the straight academic techniques she was taught was a very slow process. “Little by little I began to discover my preferences, changing my colors and fine tuning my technique, an evolution took place.” Fernandez employs a series of transparent layers to achieve the paintings we see today. It is not unusual to find the images she portrays are actually 8,9 or even up to 10 layers of very fine transparent oil washes. Each thin coat still revealing the layers that were laid down before. Each layer must dry before the next layer can be applied, but with this process, Fernandez achieves the atmosphere that she wants. “It is not a quick method. It is a work that is very elaborate, even though it doesn’t appear to be.”
When choosing her subjects, Fernandez admits that “for an artist, you never stop looking. You spend the whole day looking, and with this continual act of looking, you find the magical moments.” For Fernandez, it is fair to say that subjects are not just places or things, more than anything else, they are moments. She captures a flickering light across a bay, or that misty time as the fog is lifting which you can and can’t see.
Painting both oil and watercolor, Fernandez is aware of her completely different attitudes towards both media. “When I paint in watercolor, I am very cold in my techniques, every move is calculated. I see what I want – I study it and paint it. It is very fast…it is the nature of the watercolor. But, when I paint in oils, I am so much more passionate, thrusting color on the canvas and not meditating as much. But I like both media exactly the same.” A purist, Fernandez likes to remain true to the artistic media she is working in. If the work calls for watercolor, then she doesn’t add white to the media, preferring to always work in the undistorted media and not intermingle artistic worlds. That’s how her mind works. Although she knows that she’s completed the task technically true, she will never be satisfied with anything she creates. “It is my fate as an artist. I always think I could do more to it, and then I begin a struggle in my mind an tell myself I’ll do better on the next painting. It is a constant dissatisfaction of myself, but then I also think that this dissatisfaction could be a good thing. I don’t ever have to content myself with what I have done and I can look towards the future paintings I will create.” For the viewer, however, this struggle translates into a variety of wonderfully executed paintings. They are exclusive perfect moments that only Fernandez could capture.