Watercolor artist Rolando S. Barrero has a penchant for architecture. Working in the en plein air tradition of outdoor painting that captures natural light, manmade structures are often prominent aspects of his creations. 


"I don’t want to obscure the elements of architecture that are nice,” he explains. Characterizing his work as between the traditional and impressionistic styles, "If I paint in the impressionistic style, those details would be lost.” Considering Rolando's professional background, this makes perfect sense. An architect by trade, he frequently produced architectural illustrations, starting with a wireframe and adding detail in watercolor. "I became more devoted to art when I retired from work about nine years ago,” he adds.


Rolando’s paintings capture the essence of a place through the natural light and atmosphere, and they convey his love of life. “When I paint a subject, I put life in it—people walking a dog, or birds flying. Those are ways to evoke a story in my art.” He enjoys sharing his paintings and has been known to pull a painting right off the wall to donate to a raffle or bestow as a gift to friends old and new. “That’s how I share my art," he said. "I feel glad if people like my work.” And people do like his work. He has garnered myriad awards in competitive plein air paintouts and juried shows, most recently, the 24th Annual Carmel Art Festival and the California Watercolor Association’s 48th Annual National Exhibition.


Benicia Annual Outrigger Regatta – Rolando Barrero


A founding member of Benicia Plein Air Gallery, Rolando conducts workshops in plein air painting. He is this month's featured artist at the 13-member co-op gallery, which showcases the artwork of several local artists and their paintings of outdoor Bay Area scenes, often centering on Benicia and the Carquinez Strait. Starting January 10 and continuing throughout the month of January, the gallery’s featured-artist wall will exhibit several of Rolando’s paintings. A reception for his show will be held January 12, 3-6pm. 


Benicia Plein Air Gallery is located at 307 First Street, Benicia, beniciapleinair.com. More information about Rolando’s work can be found online at rolandosbarrero.com.