British artist Chris Richford currently has an exhibition of his painting at the Parquesol restaurant in Torrox Costa, running until 30 April.
The collection of 15 oil-on-canvas works include street scenes from Chris’s adopted home town of Vélez-Málaga as well as the Axarquía ‘campo’ and beaches.
Chris, 64, has lived in the centre of Vélez-Málaga for three years, having been drawn to the area on various visits to his sister’s house in Torrox. “I like the Spanishness of Vélez. It’s near to the coast but it’s still very Spanish,” he says.
Before coming to Spain permanently, Chris, who worked as a computer programmer in his native Gloucestershire, spent some time living in the Philippine capital Manila and Macau, the autonomous region on the south coast of China. “I’m drawn to places that I don’t know much about,” Chris explains of his reason to live in the two relatively off-the-beaten-track spots. In terms of the Costa el Sol, the same could be said of Vélez-Málaga town centre.
He painted while he was living and travelling in South East Asia and says that his inspiration was “street scenes and the hustle and bustle of everyday life”. He is also drawn, he says, to the sense of community and family which is important to the three places and the links that they have going back to Portuguese and Spanish colonial times respectively.
Chris says that he has always drawn and painted and recalls “drawing in the kitchen while my mother prepared dinner. She would give me a roll of wallpaper to work on the back of because my drawings consumed so much paper.”
As a young man he exhibited in Cheltenham but largely left his art when he married and started a family. However, after a separation and with his children grown up, Chris says that he rediscovered his passion for painting and joined a group in the Gloucestershire town of Stroud. In time, and like his fellow Gloucestershire native, the writer Laurie Lee, it would be the light and warmth of Andalucía that Chris would be drawn to.
His styles have changed over the years but this exhibition is oil on canvas. Chris also paints in watercolour on paper . He explains that during his time in South East Asia he was producing “more abstract, geometric forms”, while his work here in Andalucía is “more representational” and this is the work he is exhibiting in Torrox.
He points out that all paintings are for sale and cost under 40 euros. The exhibition runs until 30 April in the Parquesol restaurant on Carretera Almería in Torrox Costa, from 9am till 4pm every day.