Alfredo Ravelo is Mexico’s internationally acclaimed Wizard of Watercolor. This article introduces you to Mr. Ravelo and his amazing work.
In a world that is often characterized in terms of speed, velocity and momentum, the virtues of pausing to ponder the beauty of art are often overlooked. Upon entering the home of Alfredo and Olga Ravelo in Queretaro, Mexico the pace of my hustle came to an abrupt halt. I placed my camera gear and recording equipment on the entryway of their home and gazed inside. I was speechless and spellbound. Above the polished and sparkling mosaic of brown tile floors, the open interior walls towered two stories above me; adorned throughout with the elegantly framed works of Alfredo Ravelo’s water color paintings. Awe, wonder, and a unique sense of the sacred enveloped me. I stood motionless; absorbing the beauty and serenity of this sanctuary.
This moment was abruptly interrupted when a smiling and joyous mountain of a man bounded down the stairway from the second floor to greet me with a handshake and a warm embrace. “Welcome to our home!” he stated with pride; along with a broad, joy-filled sweep of his left arm inviting me through the living room and to a seat at a huge, sturdy, wooden, handcrafted dining room table. Several weeks before this encounter, I was invited into the home of a friend in Queretaro, Mexico. In the living room were two framed watercolor portraits. These two portraits blinded me from observing anything else in the home. They were unspeakably spectacular. I was speechless and stood awestruck at their magnificence. “Do you know this artist?” I asked. “Of course!” my friend Edgar stated, as he smiled broadly. “He’s my uncle Alfredo Ravelo; my mother’s brother. He lives just a few kilometers from here with his family. Would you like to meet him?”
Alfredo Ravelo Perea was born in Mexico City on January 31, 1967. He has one brother and two sisters. His father was a doctor with a degree in hematology. His mother was a housewife. His sister, Irma, is a doll maker. Sister Liliana is a teacher. His grandfather was an oil painter who also enjoyed drawing with pastel chalk.
Alfredo discovered his passion for drawing when he was twelve. Initially, he started sketching hands and animals. At the age of 20, he began his journey into the world of watercolor. While he was learning the techniques, he painted landscapes. After excelling in landscape watercolors, he began to specialize in portraits. Alfredo credits his family and school teachers for encouraging him to continue to develop his artistic talents when he was young. They didn’t say: “Put that away or stop drawing,” even when he was supposed to be paying attention in his school classroom. “Everyone encouraged me! I am a very fortunate man.”
Interestingly enough, his passion to play American tackle football began when he was nine years old; a passion that continued until he was 25, when he transitioned to coaching football in Mexico at the university level. He remains a football coach today. This is quite an amazing contrast for a large man whose elegant strokes painting with watercolors have earned acclaim across the globe.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design at the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico City. It was during his first semester at the university where he met his wife Olga. Their courtship lasted 10 years before they were married in 1995. They moved to Queretaro, Mexico in 1996. After completing his university studies, Alfredo studied for a total of 2 years at “La Casa de la Acuarela” Academy in Guadalajara, where he was taught by the renowned watercolor master Emilio Galindo. He also enhanced his artistic skills studying at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City. At 24, he entered his first artistic competition, “The Nuevos Valores" contest, organized by Tequilera Sauza. Today, Olga and Alfredo are the proud parents of two boys; Pablo 15 and Bruno 18 – who both enjoy playing American football. The Ravelo family also has a very petite, black Chihuahua named Mimi (who would be terribly disappointed if she was not mentioned here). “The births of our sons were the two proudest moments in my life. I have coached football for 38 years to positively impact players' lives, to create good sons, players, students and citizens though the discipline of football. I love it!” He is currently the head coach of the Los Gatos Salvajes football team of the Autonomous University of Queretaro.
Alfredo is a member of the Mexican Society of Watercolorists. He has won Mexico’s National Watercolor Prize 3 times, as well as has earning three honorable mentions in the National Watercolor Salon competition.
He has participated in 10 individual and 31 collective exhibitions, including 7 international exhibitions. His work has been exhibited in Russia, Spain, Italy, Korea, Indonesia, Hungary, Mexico and India. For maestro Ravelo: “Painting is my way of communicating my perspective about the world. Although I don’t have a favorite color, I love the intense color contrasts. I also enjoy raw sienna and raw umber because they are very friendly colors, and can be used in almost every situation, with the right color complements.”
For young aspiring artists, Alfredo encourages them in the following ways: “Don’t stop. Continue to pursue your instinct and passion. Enjoy painting without thinking of it like a way of earning money. If your painting is spontaneous and you enjoyed the process of creating your work, simply trust that someone will also appreciate it, and want to acquire it for their enjoyment.”
In 2020, Alfredo is planning to give 3 workshops around Mexico. He will also continue participating in a number of select, international contests. He will also produce an individual exhibition of his works. When he paints, Alfredo says: “I experience a very unique sense of excitement, joy and emotion. However, none of my artistic expressions would be possible without my wife and sons. My wife Olga is a wonderful inspiration and tremendous support for me as a man, father, husband, and artist. I would not have the joy I require as an artist without her enduring love and support.”
The work of Alfredo Ravelo can be appreciated at the following list of galleries and museums in Mexico:
Museo Nacional de la Acuarela Alfredo Guati Rojo
Museo de la Acuarela del Estado de México
Museo de Arte de Querétaro
Tecnológico de Monterrey – Querétaro
Universidad del Valle de México – Querétaro
Universidad Contemporánea – Querétaro