I live in Alaior, a small town on the island of Minorca, off the coast of Spain. I came here at the beginning of 2008 to work at the International Printmaking Center Xalubinia, and it’s here where I’ve set up my studio, a spacious place with lots of light, well-equipped, and a mere ten-minute walk from home. My workspace is part of a larger, roughly 1800 sq. ft space where drawing, painting, and printmaking classes are held. The gallery at the Printmaking Center Xalubinia has a very interesting turnout of artists. You have a couple of interesting commercial galleries: Artara and Encant, both in Maó, the capital of the island.
The best aspects of this studio are that it is quite roomy and very well furnished to meet any practical requirement for a painter. The only bad thing is that I don’t get North light, but I guess you can’t have it all.
I paint almost every day. I wake up around 5 a.m. in the morning and go to work right away. Around ten I stop. I’ll be at the office or teaching classes the rest of the working day. Afternoons are good, too, but I use them mostly to draw or prepare materials for the painting sessions. Starting early allows me to focus on painting without any kind of interference, feeling fresh after a good night’s rest. I normally have some music on, from classical to electronic, depending on the mood. I work on several paintings at the same time and have them spread around me either on the floor or on some easel, so I can check on them now and then. Working on more than one painting at a time also allows me to decide when I’m done: you get a fresh look most of the time. Working on several paintings prevents me as well from getting stuck on some particular project. I paint either from life or from photos (always taken by me).
The first thing I do when getting ready to paint is to prepare and lay out the colors I plan to use during the session, arranged always in the same order on the palette; then, I proceed to pick the right brushes—always a couple of numbers over the first choice. After that, all it takes is concentration and a clear mind about what lies ahead and where you want to go. My preferred approach to painting is alla prima, so “I go for it” from the very start. After the session comes a good cleaning and, importantly, trying to leave the painting untouched—resting—till the next time.
I prefer to work alone, and starting early helps. I share a large workshop with several artists and find the exchange enriching and necessary, but when it comes to work I usually try to do it on my own.
Many of the subjects I work on are taken from what surrounds me—close people, everyday objects— which I then set up in unusual atmospheres. What weighs the most on my painting when I’m not in the studio is the way light interacts with things, how it shapes reality and creates space, and possibly also in a way supplies a sense of time. That’s what I look for mostly when I’m out there. So it’s not so much about place as it is about ways, or moods, of looking.
The best parts of this studio are that it is quite roomy and very well furnished to meet any practical requirement for a painter.
José Cáceres, Crater II, 2013. Oil on paper, 12 x 12 in.
José Cáceres, Laika I, 2013. Oil on board, 27 x 20 in.
José Cáceres, Waiting, 2013. Oil on board, 27 x 24 in.
José Cáceres, Red Dwarfs, 2013. Oil on paper, 12 x 12 in.
José Cáceres, Gagarin, 2013. Oil on paper, 12 x 12 in.
José Cáceres, Oudeis, 2013. Oil on paper, 26 x 22 in.
José Cáceres, Ana, 2013. Oil on paper, 26 x 13 in.
José Cáceres, Night 1264, 2013. Oil on paper, 26 x 22 in.
José Cáceres, Lunar Module, 2013. Oil on paper, 26 x 13 in.
José Cáceres, Laika II, 2013. Oil on canvas 29 x 45 in.