GUEST ARTIST: “Plein Air Painting Is The Best Teacher” by Pablo Rubén

Horche Watercolor Painting by Pablo Ruben

My name is Pablo Rubén and I’m from Madrid, Spain. I think that I could not determine the beginning of my hobby, passion or obsession for drawing and painting. Watercolor would come after going through many other techniques. I imagine that having a certain ability and dexterity that I always had since I was a child for drawing made me never stop adorning school assignments with small illustrations and dedicating my free time to coloring any sheet of paper that fell into my hands with paints. By standing out notably in the discipline of drawing, I had the opportunity to participate in a contest at the local level in which all the Fuenlabrada schools competed back in 1991 when I was just 13 years old. I got the first prize, which would also be the first in a long list that would push me to continue competing and painting more and more every day.

I have been dedicating myself professionally to painting for more than 25 years and since 2007, I’ve specialized exclusively in the watercolor technique. I combine exhibitions, festivals and competitions (in which I have obtained around 500 national and international awards) with the teaching of fine arts.

My first contact with teaching was 20 years ago, thanks to my good friend and brush colleague Miguel Ángel Ferrándiz. He gave me the opportunity to start as a teacher at the Municipal School of Painting in Carranque, with a small group of children. Finally, there would be 14 years linked to that school where hundreds of students of all ages passed. At the same time, I founded the Municipal School of Painting of Ugena (right next to Carranque) where I also taught for 13 years. The decision to open my own academy in Griñón caused me to leave both schools to focus on my personal project. My two essential subjects are urbanscapes and landscapes with any sort of water, puddles, lakes, ponds, rivers, fountains, etc. And, when I have the chance, industrial scapes, hangars, ports, and airports, are another passion.

The difference between what is good and what is excellent is in the small details. Taking care of even the smallest of the elements that appear in our work will make it perfect and without weak points, especially if it is later evaluated by a jury. Lines of flight, proportions of characters or foreshortenings in vehicles are usually the points where you can most easily miss.

Pilar de la Horadada Watercolor Painting by Pablo Ruben

The motif of reference is the most important part of the creative process. Only we know why we decided to paint one subject or another. It is the most personal thing in each of our works. It is increasingly common to see artists who simply paint what works, what is fashionable or what is easier to reproduce, without knowing what was the real reason that led the original artist to raise it. It all starts with being honest with ourselves from the very conception of the idea.

Street at Night Watercolour painting by Pablo Ruben

Plein Air painting is my big passion, joining every weekend in competitions in Spain and France. I love the journey from the first moment I wake up, driving to a new place, searching for the subject, choosing the composition and then, waiting for a jury´s decision while enjoying time with my painting mates. I used to join in about 30 contests each year and every time I love it more and more. Plein air and nature are the best teachers, the best way to improve your art skill. Different weather conditions are perfect to practice all kinds of atmospheres with a rage of colors.

I use to work in big-sized supports (about 100 x 100 cm.) so I have a portable studio inside my car all of the time; easel, table, umbrella, lights,… and of course my essential paints and brushes. I currently teach watercolor courses all over the world (Los Angeles, Moscow, Seattle, Vancouver, Brazil, Mexico, Florence, France, …), at the ABC Museum in Madrid and in my studio in Griñón, which opened in 2010.

Uclés Water Buildings Watercolour paintinb by Pablo Ruben

After all of these years being a professional artist, my choices about materials are very clear and I am really happy and honored to be a brand ambassador for the following brands: Daniel Smith for my watercolors. Escoda for my brushes. Baohong for my paper.

Pablo Rubén

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Mugdha 1 year ago

    Hello Pablo,

    It took me several relooks to believe that your paintings are paintings, not photographs. I reached out towards my phone several times to dip my fingers in the water. Your work is beyond gorgeous! Your students are very lucky. Thank you for talking about the importance of working on small details. It was a very important lesson that will be kept in mind.


    • Pablo Ruben 1 year ago

      Thank you very much for your comments! They are all watercolors, no photographs, hehehe! Because they are painted on a big size, when you look at them in a screen they seem more realistic. My pleasure to share.

  2. Wonderful work. And a own unique style. Good to see that. The majority of painters are zbukivic, castagnet and Evansen copiers. Bravo for your own style. 🍀🍀

    • Thank you very much! In fact I learnt with Zbukvic, for me he is the best. I am happy you recognize my personal style. Regards from Spain.

  3. Zoie McIntyre 1 year ago

    Pablo I did exactly the same thing as Mugdha – I thought I was looking at photographs when I first started reading. I was halfway through when I realize that they were paintings – WOW .. I really am lost for words. Nature and life is really what I want to do. Oh my gosh, but (and I am assuming that Plein air simply means a person is painting outside) how many hours do you sit at one painting? Do you ever use photography or is it always on site? Thank you so much for sharing your story and so much of your work – it is spectacular, all of it.

    • Thank you so much! If you make a zoom to the pictures you will see loose brushstrokes everywhere, it is just a question of scale. Most of the works are made at plein air painting contests, so the time to complete the work is reduced to 4 -5 hours. All are made on site, but I also use photographs to fix the lights. My pleasure 😊

  4. Manish D Rajguru 1 year ago

    Hi Pablo,

    Already fan of your work. I have been following you on Instagram for some time. It is great to see your post here. Thanks for writing about your art journey. Do I need tell you your artwork is splendid 😉


    • Pablo Ruben 1 year ago

      Hi! Thank you very much for following my work. I am really pleased to be featured. Best regards.

  5. Chantel Keona 1 year ago

    Beautiful paintings.

  6. Laura 1 year ago

    Beautiful art! Thank you for sharing with us.

    • Pablo Ruben 1 year ago

      It is my pleasure 😊 Really honored to have been published.

  7. Sandra Strait 1 year ago

    Pablo, your paintings are so gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us!

    • Pablo Ruben 1 year ago

      Thanks to you for following my work. Pleased to share 😊

  8. Mary Roff 1 year ago

    Your paintings transport me to the location!! Thank you for sharing your work and story.

    • Pablo Ruben 1 year ago

      Thank you very much! Many kilometers and adventures behind these works 😊

  9. Irene Hynes 1 year ago

    Amazing paintings! Love those reflections! I could just dip my toe in and feel the water!

    • Pablo Ruben 1 year ago

      Thank you very much! I am always looking for water subjects everywhere 😊

  10. Shubha Jhavar 1 year ago

    Amazing watercolors, lovely reflections and the details.

  11. Marisela Delgado 1 year ago

    Hola, Pablo! Es un placer poder saludarte! Yo soy Marisela y te mando un abrazo desde San Antonio, Texas. Mi madre es de Mexico pero yo naci aqui en San Antonio. Pero si te digo que mi padre presumia mucho que los Delgado son originalmente de Espana en particular de las Islas Canarias. 😀 Dios quiera que un dia pueda conocer a la madre patria.
    Wow, Pablo, si que tus pinturas estan divinas! Estan hermosas y al igual que los demas, creia que eran fotos! Wow! La manera que has pintado la agua es fenomenal! Te voy a decir como decimos nosotros los Mexicanos: te aventaste! 😀
    Es un gusto saludarte, Pablo. Que te vaya bien y saludos a Espana.

    • Hola Marisela, gracias por tus comentarios, son todo acuarelas, pero al verlas en escala pequeña parecen más realistas de lo que son. Tengo muy buenos recuerdos de Mexico DF, estuve dando un curso en el Museo de la Ciudad y fue una experiencia extraordinaria. Espero poder visitar Texas algún día.

      Saludos desde Madrid.

  12. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    Pablo, I’m certain that if I touch many of your paintings, my fingers will plunge through water and come out dripping. You have extraordinary talent and your art is literally breathtaking. Thank you for sharing your story and your work.

    • Thank you very much for your words 😊. Water subjects are essential for me and everytime I searching for new ones. Regards from Spain.

  13. SketchSocial 1 year ago

    Really enjoyed this Pablo and this site in general. So it got a mention on mine and the shared on Twitter along with 4 other finds I managed to squeeze the time to find. My site is only a week old so if you fancy a look you’re welcome but be aware that until I get to grips with back end of it posts and pages sometimes disappear for good, or will reappear after editing but are nearly finalised now.

    I’m an amateur artist not in competition with anyone but just love sharing art. So have no problem recommending this site and other sites to others. I reserve the right though to choose which suit me. Thanks Doodlewash and you seem to have a lovely community from what I can see. Love the name too.

    • Pablo Ruben 1 year ago

      Thank you very much! I hope we can see your works soon here 😊

  14. Juan Carlos Iserte Muñoz 1 year ago

    Enhorabuena Pablo.
    Como alumno tuyo puedo decir que no solo las acuarelas que ven son geniales si no que, además, las clases semanales también lo son. Es un lujo tenerte como profesor y aprender pequeños trucos casa semana.

    • Pablo Ruben 1 year ago

      Me alegra verte por aquí Juan Carlos, muchas gracias por tus palabras. En septiembre volvemos con más clases, que tengas un feliz verano.

  15. heila 1 year ago

    Amazing works. Beautiful.

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