Forms that suggest the third dimension of volume, rich with nuances of colour (note especially the head and hands), are here made compatible with surfaces of flat colour (with no relief effect); in the same way, linear contours and blurred outlines (seemingly antagonistic devices) concur in this portrait. All of these elements help to create a mood of lyricism and nostalgia, condensed in the subject's gaze and the warmth of her hands. It is perhaps a maternal nostalgia, for an absent loved one.
In its apparent simplicity, this painting is an unusual case. Exceptional for its extreme lyricism but, at the same time, balanced. All of its pictorial elements are infused with spirituality; excepting the small areas of the painting in which the background medium (paper) shows through, there are scarcely two square centimetres of uniform colour. All is vibrating, palpitating, with the soul transmitted by the craft of the pictorial process; nothing remains inert, impermeable to this imbued spirit... But this subjectivism, taken to an extreme in extracting from the medium (wax crayon) all of its expressive possibilities, is not drowned in mere formalism; it serves, rather, the objective communication of spiritual realities, so mysterious and ineffable to human beings; it reaches deep within that which “modern art”, to a great extent, has forgotten, and this is the spiritual dimension of man. “The arts of the 20th and early 21st centuries have stopped viewing man as a being with a spiritual dimension, and have thus transformed him into a simple visual object” (José Jiménez Lozano, winner of the 2002 Cervantes Prize).
This manner of recreating a human figure in art (in this case in a portrait) is somewhat removed from the perfectionist style; or rather, from the type of depiction which is so “finished” that its subject recalls a figure of highly polished marble or mother-of-pearl. This other mode, while still ideal, is more human, more vital. The epic is made permeable to the lyrical1. Rather than taking inspiration from an abstract archetype, unaffected by the passage of time, the process –complex and seemingly haphazard– of creating the painting is allowed to confer upon the subject a aspect of “being made”... of being alive and active... of thinking, feeling, loving...
1 Note: It may be said that any work of art has something of the epic (objective description), the lyrical (reflecting the subjectivity of the artist) and the dramatic (without a certain degree of dramatic tension, a work of art would be incapable of attracting the viewer’s attention, in the same way that a sporting event lacking in such tension would hold little interest for the spectator).