Originals2021-05-14T13:42:50+00:00

RAUL SPEEK ORIGINALS

“People ask me how long I’ve been painting and my first memory of this is when I was about six years old. It was a time of poverty in Cuba and what I now call materials were non-existent.

As a child, I used toothpaste for white, berries for reds, crushed leaves for greens and whatever I could find for blues. Of course, these first efforts were very primitive when looked at from today’s standpoint but they formed in me a determination to make this my world. It was a struggle because my family were farmers and boy children were expected to follow in the footsteps of our father; art was foreign to them.

I’d been adopted by my aunt and uncle at the age of four, a year after my mother’s death, and they were a bit more encouraging. Pedro, my adopted father, was a musician and understood the creative drive. The revolution saved me as it gave me the chance of education in general and art in particular, which I wouldn’t formerly have had access to.”

Raul

“The paintings you see here are a very small selection of my work. I’m not a literal painter: that is, I don’t reproduce works that are almost photographic. My images come from the world I was raised in, which blended reality with spirituality and a partial dreamworld called magical realism.

I work in oils, watercolour, acrylics and graphite on a variety of bases, such as wood and canvas. I was also one of the founder members of the Rene Portocarrero Screen Printing Studio in Havana, and so sometimes this section will contain screen prints created by me in the studio I have at the side of the chapel.

The past 10 years have seen an increasing demand for commissioned works and I’m happy to work with you to achieve these. One of my favourites was The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Cuban Style, and another was Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as Children. With the latter, my customer knew exactly what they wanted the Garden of Eden to contain, and it was a fascinating journey creating this piece.”

Please call us for a chat if there’s something you’d like.

  • Girasol

    £4,500.00
    Size 91.5cm x 91.5cm In Cuba, the sunflower (girasol) represents joy and hope, and throughout Raul’s work he often comes back to presenting them differently. But while he paints, he always feels the warmth their shape and colour bring him.
  • Size 122cm x 124.5cm Many people ask Raul why he often works in abstract, and what he says to them is his hands transmit through the brush the feelings he has about a place or time in his life. In Raul’s figurative work, it’s more about a different form of writing, whereas this painting reaches into his subconscious for how the landscape feels emotionally. Sometimes it’s straight lines, but more often a blend of texture and colour that speaks from his heart.
  • The Provider

    £3,000.00
    102cm x 81.5cm This is part of a series of images and is centred on the fact that in Raul’s home country women provide for the home and the family. And although equality has been part of everyday life since the Cuban Revolution, Raul acknowledges that women still are the centre of the home, often carrying home from the market the food for the family on their heads. So, these paintings aren’t just about the physical fact of carrying, they also represent the degree of responsibility women hold.
  • Size 99cm x 75cm In Wales, many of the valleys are deep and quiet, and then suddenly there’s a house or a tree that strikes a chord in Raul’s imagination. It’s similar in Cuba. Raul was born in a deep valley, just like the one at Solva, which is maybe why he is so at home here. It’s a subject he returns to in different forms, again and again.
  • Size 60cm x 60cm (each part) This diptych arises from Raul’s observations of Solva at night, as the sea comes in. Everywhere there is silence, except for the sound of the waves. The birds have gone to bed and he is alone in the landscape.
  • Size 71cm x 102cm Raul is fascinated by old photographs of Welsh women in their national dress, and feels they should be acknowledged as being important to their culture. The clothes, the colours, and the sentiment of the tea ceremony in Welsh homes may be of times gone by, but they are still important to remember.
  • Size 52cm x 59.5cm Raul is painting a series of these Welsh women as they appeared centuries ago. He is reaching out to understand how different their lives were and finds himself wondering what they would make of today’s world. Oil is a good medium to use to express them because it reflects the depth of colour that black and grey hold within them, and which were part of the lives of Welsh villages and people back then.
  • The Viewing

    £2,000.00
    Size 71cm x 78cm One of Raul’s preoccupations when travelling is how the different cultures treat their women. This image started life after a trip to Morocco, when he saw how clearly defined the differences between male and female lives were. Although women are around in the streets, they are to some degree still hidden, with only their eyes speaking aloud. It contrasts with both the cultures Raul has lived in, i.e. Cuba and the UK, but he respects that it’s part of their culture and religious beliefs.
  • Size 243cm x 122cm One of a series of works that Raul has been creating since 1997, when he first came to Solva. These images portray how he is engaged with the environment at any specific time. They’re never the same colour or even size, but always carry the energy of the time he is painting.
  • Size 84.5cm x 76cm Blue is one of the most fascinating colours. In Cuba it’s part of daily life. It’s not only part of the seascape but also of people’s spiritual beliefs. In daily religious connections, Cubans use coloured powders to offer to the altar, and in this picture the texture of the paint is such that its dryness represents this powder. Raul is looking from the window at his father’s farm and seeing a ceremony that often took place there.
  • Moonlit Beach

    £1,500.00
    Size 102cm x 81.5cm It’s night-time and the sounds are distant, leaving the natural movement of the water to sing its own song. The water reaches out to cover the sand, leaving some almost white in the moonlight. As Raul watches this happening, he sits and dreams of how life works in cycles and has its own rhythm that man cannot change.
  • Size 50cm x 69cm Raul’s two paintings, Abstract 1 and Abstract 2, are a separate expression of the weather and the light as two times of the day: at dawn and at the turn of evening. They have a depth of texture that results from multi-layering, and took several months to produce, allowing the paint to dry within each expression. They are not sold as a pair, although they could easily belong together.
  • Size 50cm x 69cm Raul’s two paintings, Abstract 1 and Abstract 2, are a separate expression of the weather and the light as two times of the day: at dawn and at the turn of evening. They have a depth of texture that results from multi-layering, and took several months to produce, allowing the paint to dry within each expression. They are not sold as a pair, although they could easily belong together.
  • Size 30cm x 41cm This image is one of a series of three, and there are more inside Raul’s head that will come into being. They may seem to be in strong colours, which to many don’t reflect the tones of Wales, but Welsh women have strong personalities, and it’s the colour of those parts of each person that are reflected in the images.
  • Size 30cm x 41cm This image is one of a series of three, and there are more inside Raul’s head that will come into being. They may seem to be in strong colours, which to many don’t reflect the tones of Wales, but Welsh women have strong personalities, and it’s the colour of those parts of each person that are reflected in the images.
  • Size 30cm x 41cm This image is one of a series of three, and there are more inside Raul’s head that will come into being. They may seem to be in strong colours, which to many don’t reflect the tones of Wales, but Welsh women have strong personalities, and it’s the colour of those parts of each person that are reflected in the images.
  • Size 118cm x 80cm Digging deep into who he is as a person of colour, Raul sometimes feels as though he’s taking part in an excavation into the past, which, although not part of his life, is part of his race. It’s fashionable right now to talk about Black Lives Matter, but to Raul all humanity matters. His hope for the future is that we all learn to communicate and accept each other exactly how we are.
  • Size 150cm x 91cm One of a series of works that Raul has been creating since 1997, when he first came to Solva. These images portray how he is engaged with the environment at any specific time. They’re never the same colour or even size, but always carry the energy of the time he is painting.
  • Size 60cm x 60cm The Passion is a subject that inspires Raul to explore it time after time. Every image is different, and although the eyelids droop here, in a semblance of peace, the cruelness of the crown of thorns is undeniable. Religion is a fundamental need to Cubans who explore their spirituality in many forms and are as motivated by it as they are by politics.
  • Size 166cm x 47cm One of Raul’s tutors in Cuba was Thomas Sanchez, who represents the best of South American art and is currently resident in Costa Rica. He is a Buddhist and seeks to bring a meditative state into his work. This painting is a thank you for the generosity of his teaching. This work has been underway for three years and still tempts Raul back to add more detail to the trees.
  • Size 102cm x 82cm The two figures rest, dreaming of their future, with a hint they are trapped in their present world, which is underneath the water. Lit by moonlight, there's a sense of sadness within the picture but also the presence of love.
  • Size 80cm x 30cm Imaginative image of the Malecon in Havana, with its decaying wall edging the ever-present sea surrounding the island. The added figurative representation of the cherry and lime, and the clouds floating on the horizon, give it a dreamlike quality.
  • Almost monotone, apart from a touch of blue in the sky, this work is oil on canvas and reflects the darkness of winter that Raul experiences in Wales. In Cuba there are no seasons as such and he loves the winter here.
  • Welsh Heritage

    £12,000.00
    This is part of an exhibition Raul is preparing, which explores the heritage of the Welsh way of life back through time. The woman on the right has a black face; she represents the multi-racial aspect of Wales in days gone by.
  • Welsh Village

    £1,500.00
    Size 105.5cm x 44cm Raul is in love with the stone-built villages of Wales and the way they nestle into the landscape. They sometimes represent centuries of security for those who have lived in them. Having led a bit of a nomadic life himself, Raul is fascinated by the idea of such long attachment to roots and culture.
  • A blend of abstract and figurative work, as well as a cultural blend of Cuban energy in the sweeping landscape, which is undoubtedly Wales. It is Raul’s interpretation, where he can feel the throbbing strength of the Welsh cultural heritage as it underlies Solva today.

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