porfirio salinas

a.o.d. #5: Porfirio Salinas

Porfirio Salinas, Springtime in Texas 1932  Oil on canvas 12 x 16  in. Private Collection

Showing Texas some love today. If you haven’t heard, the Lone Star State is in the midst of a devastating drought and heatwave. Salinas drops the mercury with his refreshing greens and cool blues. The artist is said to have had perfect color memory the same way some people have perfect pitch. If you’ve ever had the good fortune to see a field of Texas bluebonnets in person, you’ll agree that Salinas is spot on. Here’s a little bio on the artist.

Porfirio Salinas was born in Bastrop, Texas on November 6, 1910.  He lived most of his life in San Antonio, Texas where he died on April 18, 1973.  Salinas attended the public schools of San Antonio for three years and was largely self taught as an artist. He learned from watching José Arpa, director of the San Antonio Art School, sketch in the streets and fields of San Antonio. He also learned from Robert Wood, a prolific landscape painter, who paid him five dollars a picture to paint in bluebonnets on his canvases because “he hated to paint bluebonnets."  Salinas was conscripted and served in the army from 1943, to 1945. He was assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where he painted murals for the officers’ lounge and other special assignments for Colonel 

Although Salinas did not receive the attention of the professional art establishment, he achieved a popular following among many Texans as well as the political leaders of Texas and the United States - among them Lyndon Johnson who began to collect his work in the 1940s. The recognition of his work beyond the borders of Texas dates from Johnson’s presidency. The city of Austin celebrated a Porfirio Salinas Day in 1973. The painter was honored for having "done much to bring the culture of Mexico and Texas closer together with his paintings."  Salinas dedicated himself to painting landscapes of Central Texas with particular attention to the bluebonnets that grow in abundance in the springtime.  - from Nuevo Santander Gallery 


Mexican American Artist>> Porfirio Salinas 

Salinas was born in Bastrop, Texas, in 1912, one of seven children. He had a bare three years of formal schooling and is almost completely self-taught painter. Ass a child he was able to look on as the San Antonio artist Jose Arpa sketched in the streets and fields. His first painting job came soon after he was hired to dust the pictures and guide people through the exhibits in a San Antonio gallery. Robert Woods, the landscape painter, often assigned the details he hated to do in his pictures to amateurs. Salinas was hired to pain the bluebonnets, the most difficult and bothersome of all. It was not long after this that Salinas began to paint on his own, and, while still a teenager, he sold his first painting to one of his former teachers. 

-Jacinto Quirarte