Emerging Artists | Jacob Aguiar

Inspired by nature

Jacob Aguiar, Marsh Golds, pastel, 18 x 24.

Jacob Aguiar, Marsh Golds, pastel, 18 x 24.

This story was featured in the September 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  September 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

On the back of his studio door, pastelist Jacob Aguiar keeps an extensive list of goals—artistic milestones he’d like to achieve in five, 10, 20 years, and beyond. “That’s the way I approach most things in life,” he says. “It comes down to determination and focus, and knowing what you want out of it.”

The lifelong nature enthusiast has fond memories of playing in the countryside around his home in rural Kansas as a boy, but his foray into landscape painting began just six years ago, when Aguiar took a yearlong break from his studies in naturopathic medicine to spend time with family in Sebastopol, CA. There, he bought his first set of pastels and began painting the Northern California landscape. Over the course of the year, he also attended workshops throughout the West with Richard McKinley, Albert Handell, and other esteemed pastelists. For Aguiar, portraying nature’s stage feels natural. “For me, it’s just the act of creating something beautiful, something that can provide sustenance or relief for people when they see it—a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of life,” he explains. “That’s what it provides for me.”

Today Aguiar lives with his wife in Scarborough, ME, not far from Winslow Homer’s old studio on the peninsula of Prouts Neck, where he himself often paints. Although he works part time as a naturopathic doctor, he devotes his free time to teaching pastel workshops and painting at nearby sites like the Scarborough Marsh, where salt creeks, cattail fields, and meadows attract snowy egrets, glossy ibises, mink, and other assorted wildlife. In the summertime, Aguiar takes advantage of the extended daylight hours and ventures out after work to portray his favorite places at sunset. In the frosty winter months, he works more frequently in his studio, exploring techniques that influence his plein-air work.

Aguiar’s unwavering dedication to his art is paying dividends. Most recently, his portrayal of a farm in Cape Elizabeth, ME, garnered third place in the annual PleinAir Salon, and another work received a top award in Pastel Journal’s Pastel 100 competition. “Art just keeps me going and constantly moving forward,” says Aguiar. “There are these leaps you take, and they can seem subtle to others, but for you they are incredible.” —Kim Agricola

representation
Powers Gallery, Acton, MA; Copley Society, Boston, MA; www.jacobaguiar.com.

This story was featured in the September 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  September 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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