On Creativity, Happiness, and Stillness

Contemporary Realism > Chilean figurative artist Francsico Badilla caught our attention on social media with his painting, “The Color Collector.” Today Badilla lives and works in Porto, Portugal.

Contemporary Realism: On Creativity, Happiness, and Stillness


When I begin my creative process of painting contemporary realism art, it is by taking photographs or working in digital media. I ask myself, which images are the ones I would like to see and which ones do I need to see? In this way, the need arises to see represented characters that are almost always women and children, in search of inner peace and tranquility. I also like to delve into the psychology of the characters; I see them with a certain vulnerability in trying to find something that fills their lives.

When I face a creative process, I think of capturing images that first produce in me a sense of peace and encounter with something that is beyond our immediate material reality, for this, in addition to the characters described above, I often use as symbols, such as windows, which can be seen as a kind of portal, open to that unknown reality, in search of feelings of fulfills and tranquility.

Unfortunately, we have had to live confined to our homes because of the pandemic; Europe especially has lived a very difficult situation, so the windows have been a special element bringing us closer to the outside world, they have been our “eyes” during this confinement.

The Color Collector, a Contemporary Realism Artwork

I started painting “The Color Collector” in Chile in 2016, and then I altered it while I was studying a Masters in Fine Arts in Porto, Portugal in 2019. Moving from Chile to Portugal was for me, a learning experience. Just like the girl in the picture, painting was for me a refuge, a place where I was with myself, away from my country.

Contemporary Realism Painting of a girl making art
Francisco Badilla, “The Color Collector,” oil on canvas, 47 x 39 in. (Awarded First Place in the Indalecio Hernández international painting competition in Spain in 2019)

The theme of this painting symbolizes the relationship of creativity and happiness in which the child discovering the power of color and imagination. She is placed in a professional painting studio, in which the grey represents the atmosphere of the space, in contrast with gaiety of the child’s colors.

I like to experience these contrasts, and I think the image of the girl playing with colors is an act of great freedom, which often adults do not allow us to access. In this sense, the painting invites us to explore a world from the unprejudiced gaze of a child, with the freedom and energy of someone who has no malicious thoughts.

Painting Inner Peace

I have always been motivated by the idea of expressing ideas of inner peace through painting, and so I have developed in my art an atmosphere of tranquility and stillness.
The characters are inhabiting spaces full of light, as if they were in a peaceful moment. I feel that tranquility is necessary today as the experience of encountering the immaterial world, the speed in which we live today, often takes away the possibility of having experiences of tranquility and reflection that are very necessary.

Painting of a woman sleeping
Francisco Badilla, “Beyond Certainties,” 2020, oil on canvas, 51 x 35 in.

Formal Aspects of My Contemporary Realism

In formal terms, I have always liked the paintings of John Singer Sargent, Joaquín Sorolla, and Anders Zorn. I appreciate their loose brushstrokes, their use of color, and the freedom to create agile edges.

There are also certain reminiscences in my themes, to the pre-Raphaelite painters, in that sometimes bucolic relationship between the characters and nature. I appreciate the painting of John William Waterhouse, an important painter of this group, and I feel that there is much of it in these two works, both in “Beyond Certainties” and in “The Forgotten Paths.”

These two works are currently participating in two Biennials here in Portugal, the first in the 4th International Art Biennial of Gaia, and the second in the Biennial of Espinho.

Painting of a girl on a path
Francisco Badilla, “The Forgotten Paths,” 2020, Oil on canvas, 51 x 35 in.
Painting of a woman at a desk
Francisco Badilla, “The Announced,” 2019, Oil on canvas, 47 x 39 in.
Painting of a window in a garden
Francisco Badilla, “Brightness of a Secret Reality,” 2020, Oil on canvas, 51 x 35 in.
Watercolor portrait painting of a woman
Francisco Badilla, “In Balance,” 2019, Watercolor and conté on paper, 22 x 15 in.
Painting of a woman in a room
Francisco Badilla, “Memories Behind the Window,” 2021, oil on canvas, 47 x 35 in.
Francisco with “The Color Collector”
Francisco with “The Color Collector” in the Indalecio Hernández international painting competition in Spain in 2019.

Connect with Francisco Badilla and see more of his contemporary realism:
Website | Instagram

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