PEÑITAS—Pedro Reyna said he started drawing as a child in the third grade. He would practice creating shapes when making doodles of Mickey Mouse and Superman. Now, Reyna has his artwork displayed at the Peñitas Public Library for the month of July in part with its summer program.
The 59-year-old gave a presentation to children at the library last week and instructed them how to draw specific features and how texture is added. Reyna said he hopes to instill a love for art in the children of the Peñitas community.
“They (students) were very curious to find out how some pieces were done,” Reyna said. “It’s a nice exhibition for any artist that wants to see it and get inspired.”
Born and raised in Mercedes, Reyna moved to Peñitas at the age of 20 after getting married. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Texas-Pan American in 1984. After also receiving a degree in education, Reyna spent 28 years teaching with La Joya ISD.
The artist said he spent time instructing a music class, he dabbles in playing guitar and taught general education. But after retiring from the school district in 2010, he went back to expressing himself through canvas.
Reyna’s main focus with his art is hyperrealism. He constructs portraits of celebrities and family members with pencil or charcoal. After his brother passed in January 2014, Reyna said he started with his portrait and had not stopped since.
“I had done a few portraits, but years apart, it wasn’t as it is today,” Reyna said. “Basically, I see a portrait as something difficult to do. The more difficult it is, there is more of a challenge. I’ve been pushing myself to become a hyper realist artist.”
Reyna explained hyperrealism as a way to create a painting or sculpture that resembles a high-resolution photograph. He admits the task is not easy and sometimes finds himself redoing portions of his artwork.
“It’s happened with some of my drawings, like with my George Straight (drawing), one eye was a little bit down,” Reyna said. “Sometimes I’ll sit there at three in the morning staring at the portrait and I’ll say is something is not right.”
The Peñitas native said it takes an estimated two weeks to complete a portrait. He added using tools like color pencil, charcoal and graphite pencil completely change the outcome of his projects.
Techniques like smearing and blending have helped the artist complete portraits of his family and celebrities like: George Straight, Sofia Vergara, Danny Trejo and Willie Nelson. He added using the color scale like a painter and practicing highlights and layering help him capture all the features in a face.
For more information on Reyna’s exhibit, contact the Peñitas Public Library at 583-5656.