Mario Garcia Portela Portraits of Woods
By: Ilsa Rodríguez Photos by José Meriño and Courtesy Portela
Painter since childhood, professor for most of his life and a fine artist always, Mario García Portela has dedicated himself to being an exceptional landscape painter, both urban and rural, for the twenty years since he left his teaching job to do so.
A great talker, an affable man and a typical Cuban, García Portela says that he doesn’t paint landscapes, but instead paints portraits of woods, with a singular attraction to trees that he details in depth for the delight of those fortunate to see his work.
Born in Pinar del Río, the westernmost province of Cuba, outstanding for its beautiful landscape and unrivaled nature, Portela has participated in many exhibitions in the United States (Duluth, Minnesota), Spain (Galería Doble Hélice in Seville, and in collective exhibits in Madrid) and in Italy, besides those in Cuba. Portela is presently preparing large format paintings for a special exhibition on his 70th birthday in January 2012, using sepia tones and shadows (ocher and white) as well as the acrylic technique he began using in the 1990’s.
Speaking with Cubaplus, Portela, who has been living in Havana for several years now, said he always carries the landscape of his birthplace, Pinar del Río, with him. Images of the Viñales Valley hills even appear in his urban landscapes. “Viñales is imagination,” says Portela.