Aged just 41, he has created a vast repertoire of Africa’s big game and the ibex and wild animals of Europe. He is an animal artist of the most special kind – when you look at his pictures you will be thinking of the next movement that the animal will make because you are seeing a behaviour, an action or a thought rather than merely a shape or a form. He achieves this by combining Hyperrealism and so precise representation of the animal, with Impressionism; the former gives the picture strength and density and the latter conveys a strong sense of life and movement. One of Manuel’s great inspirations is the work of Jan Vermeer and he frequently uses light to breathe life into the subject animals and birds. Another Manuel´s great inspirations are Bruno Liljefors, Rien Poortvliet, Raymond Ching, Helmer Osslund, John Singer Sargent, Joaquín Sorolla, Natori Shunsen, Colin See Paynton, Dave Cooper, Turf One, Jean Simeon Chardin, Carl Larsson ...
The fact that he is also a taxidermist means that he has a particular understanding of form and movement.

With an established reputation in his native Spain, Manuel is now building a following in the United Kingdom and United States. His principal studio is in Valladolid close to Madrid but he now spends part of the year painting in the Bedfordshire countryside which provides him with the inspiration to paint game, working dogs and farm animals. He has created a small studio at a "Low Farm" a farm between Bedford and St Neots and each time he goes he feels a little more inspired so he stays to visit the local farms with camera and sketchbook in hand.

Manuel’s following includes collectors of art but also people who perhaps have never made an investment in a painting, and if they were going to own just one serious painting, it would be one of his. A young rider has been saving to commission a picture of her horse; at the same time the Framery in Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire, is framing pictures of falcons and game birds to send to a client in New York.

The principal medium he employs is pencil on board, believing that ‘less is more’ and that artists make a bigger impact with simplicity. Certainly there are some wonderfully accurate paintings of animals in the world but to breathe life into them requires an injection of ‘factor x’ and he seems to have it. I am thinking of a picture of snow buntings circling around a wolf’s head – quite Daliesque one might think - yet the animal is magical and terribly real at the same time.

Emma Pegler.