By Roger Green email@example.com
The rarefied atmosphere of the artist’s studio may seem a far cry from the regimented world of official police duties. But for 37-year-old Caetano Ramalho, his regular routine as a police officer serving with the maritime branch of the GNR in Portimão blends perfectly with his newly discovered passion for art.
When work is finished Caetano heads home and changes his uniform for an artist’s smock, in readiness to tackle another painting to add to the impressive collection of pictures he has already completed.
His love of drawing and painting started to blossom eight years ago when he tried his hand at oil painting to decorate his house.
“I started with oils just to do some pictures for the walls of the house and it went on from there. I work as a radar control expert on a 72-hour three-day shift with the GNR maritime unit (Unidade de Controlo Costeira) which is concerned with the threat of drugs being brought into the Algarve.
“Then, I have a six-day period of free time when I can go into the studio and draw or paint.”
His paintings were much admired by family and friends and Caetano decided to devote more time to his art, producing a series of paintings, some as large as 122cm x 245cm, depicting diverse themes.
They range from beautifully observed wildlife images of animals and birds, classical subjects linked to Greek mythology, portraits and figures of Amazonian Indians and Japanese geisha girls, Oriental motifs, and dreamlike surrealist pictures that haunt the imagination.
Many of these have been inspired by his visits abroad to Italy, Brazil, the UK, Austria, Greece, Slovakia, and Munich in Germany where he visited the art museums to study the culture of the country and nourish his creative aspirations.
The bulk of these formed the core of solo exhibitions in 2012 in Lagoa at the Convento de São José, the Benamor Golf Resort in Tavira, the municipal gallery in São Brás de Alportel and the municipal gallery in Lagos which drew much praise from art lovers and critics.
The works reveal a hidden talent and mastery of painterly techniques rarely seen in a self-taught artist who has been painting for such a limited period of time.
Born in Santiago Maior, Alandroal, in the Alentejo, Caetano has lived in Portimão since 2004 and says that because of his professional commitments as a GNR officer in various other regions of the country he never had the opportunity to develop his artistic nature.
He said: “Art is one of the best expressions of humanity and reflects personal truth and a breath of imagination, the will to display talent – the mirror of the soul.”
In the future, he plans to concentrate on developing surrealist themes in his work.
“Surrealism has always captured my imagination. It’s magical and mystical with diverse interpretations, unlike the monotony of other themes,” he said.