December 3, 2014
Photo: Margaret McKinney/Highlands University
Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University presents the Nacho Jaramillo painting exhibit “Blue Moon – Blue Sky” in the university’s Ray Drew Gallery in Donnelly library at 802 National Ave. through Dec. 17.
Jaramillo is an acclaimed, award-winning Northern New Mexico artist known for his haunting portraits. Subject matter for this retrospective exhibit also includes landscapes, animals and churches, all with the ubiquitous silver moon floating in the deep blue nighttime sky.
“Nacho Jaramillo is an exceptionally talented painter with a very unique personal style,” said Bob Read, curator for the Ray Drew gallery. “I think his portraits are his most powerful work, while the landscapes and village churches of Northern New Mexico really resonate with local people.”
Three of Jaramillo’s paintings hang in Highland University’s permanent art collection in Donnelly Library, which Read curates.
“My landscapes are living scenes and in my portraits I want to capture real people and emotions,” Jaramillo said. “The eyes are the gateway to the soul and in my paintings the eyes pull the viewer into communication with the subject.”
He said he incorporates the moon into his pieces because it adds an element of time, space and intrigue.
The 71-year-old was born Anton Chico, New Mexico on the Pecos River and traces his roots back to the Spanish Colonial era. Jaramillo says he grew up in a family of expressive artists and musicians on his father’s side.
While his longtime studio and home are in Las Vegas, Jaramillo has lived and painted from New York City to Oregon.
In 1971, Jaramillo earned a B.A. in art education from Highlands, where art professor Ray Drew was his mentor.
“During sabbaticals Ray Drew would pick me up at 6 in the morning to go out and paint in the countryside. He was a wonderful man and mentor. In my work, every line becomes important and economy of stroke is essential. I learned this method from Ray Drew. I draw with a brush using black tempera because it gives me line and texture. Then I add color,” Jaramillo said.
Internationally, Jaramillo’s paintings hang in private collections in Spain, England and Russia. Stateside, private collectors from New York City to Texas to California own his artwork.
Over the years, Jaramillo’s work has been featured in numerous solo and group art exhibits in galleries and museums in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos and Las Vegas – including shows at Highlands.
Jaramillo has received honors such as Best of Show in the Tesoros de Nuevo Mexico art exhibit that hung in the New Mexico Governor’s Gallery in Santa Fe. He won numerous first-place awards for his painting at the New Mexico State Fair.
Jaramillo taught art at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in Las Vegas and Santa Rosa High School. He also completed graduate work in early childhood education at Highlands and was a Head Start teacher in the West Las Vegas School District. He taught early childhood education classes at Luna Community College.