Valrico Artist Creates Beautiful Watercolor Art

With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

Ralph Lopez of Valrico is an expressive and creative watercolor artist. His art is best known as Watercolor Reflections by Rafa.

Rafa is a Spanish nickname for Rafael. Lopez taught Spanish and English in the Hillsborough County school system for 34 years. Lopez said, “I have always liked to draw and take photographs. I like the challenge of the use of water in painting, especially its fluidity.”

Lopez uses 300 pound cold press Arches paper and Winsor and Newton pigments. He works from his own travel photographs. He often combines elements from different photographs to make one lovely painting. His subjects range from delicate florals to imaginative animal portraits and portraits of Florida wildlife.

When Lopez retired, he studied with art masters which allowed him to develop skills and techniques. Knowing that education never ends, Lopez has continued to take workshops to hone his skills and further develop his craft.

Lopez’s work is noted for the variety of subjects and the use of vibrant color. He has won several awards for his watercolor collage work of scenic New Mexico and the Pacific coast as well as for his portraits of wild animals.

Lopez’s work has been juried into several area art festivals including the Winthrop Arts Festival and Artisan Market the last two years. Lopez is a lifelong resident of the Tampa Bay Area. He graduated from Jesuit High School in 1959 and the University of Tampa in 1963. He has lived in Valrico with his wife, Carol, for 17 years and in Riverview for 22 years before that.

If you have questions or would like to get in touch with Lopez, please contact him at 643-1089 or email him at carafalo@msn.com.