Featured Artists

Celebrating the accomplishments of our local artists.

Martin Vargas

I create art for several reasons. First, it is very therapeutic. For as long as it takes me to complete a piece, my environment is psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally stress–free and pleasing.

Most of my work was pen–and–ink or pencil, and not very much color. In the early 1990’s, I looked at art more seriously and began dabbling with both charcoal and watercolor.

I enjoy how easy it is to blend charcoal and add even the tiniest of details to produce pieces rich with dramatic contrast or subtle softness. On the other hand, watercolor is not an easy medium to work with. Through books, patience, trial — and a lot of error — I learned how to use it with some success. I also tried acrylic but didn’t like how fast it dried. Traditional oils require chemicals that are harsh on the environment — and people too — but I wanted to try them anyhow.  I chose water–soluble oils that do not require the heavy, destructive chemicals; learned how to use them, and enjoy working with them still.

I am self-taught and my work is eclectic in style and media. In 1994, I worked alongside a very talented artist, Mr. Herschell Turner, who preferred pastel for his creations.

Curious about his work, I watched him for months and was impressed with how easily he turned out dramatic paintings with “chalk.” I tried the medium — but succeeded only in getting colored dust all over the walls, floor, clothes, my face, and my hair. I blamed the pastels for my failure and quickly left them alone. I kept watching though, and asked a lot of questions. I got the nerve to try again and produced dull, muddy pieces that were nowhere near the luxuriant and vibrant ones Herschell created. But, the pastel stayed where it was supposed to, and that was progress! Now pastel is one of my preferred media, especially for portraits.

My subject matter runs the gamut from wildlife and social issues, to portraits of both pets and people, a little bit of abstraction and, of course, my Pudgies.

Learn more about Martin Vargas at martinvargasart.com

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