Accuracy is key when Costa Rican artist Juan Carlos Camacho places his paintbrush onto the harsh background of watercolor paper. With no wiggle room at all, Camacho is inspired by light and shadow, while featuring contrast, detail and sometimes a little ambiguity.

Born in Heredia, Costa Rica, Camacho studied drawing and painting during his high school years at Conservatorio Castella, and through his tenure at the University of Costa Rica. There, he obtained degrees in drawing, painting and architecture.

Camacho stresses that the disciplines of art and architecture are mixed, always present and mutually complementary. He rarely separates them.

“Most of my paintings are created as watercolors, which I consider a technique of great grandeur,” he told us. “This allows unlimited spontaneity, while involving risk with no room for error. For me, that is the big challenge.”

It is important to Camacho that his art has authenticity, expression and impact.

Architecture is always implied in his work, as it intervenes conceptually in the design, handling of space, balance, contrast and drama. It is the fundamental discipline that gives character to his paintings.

As Camacho told us, “One could say that my paintings are architecture being manifested in a two-dimensional way. But viewed from the opposite perspective, comparing painting to architecture, the paintings have the same concepts of composition, proportion and harmony as an architectural design.”

In his paintings “Divertimiento” and “La Luz Final,” Camacho shows the history, time elapsed and footprint of construction, as well as the textures, lights and shades, coloring and architecture. They represent a moment in time of something that may no longer exist.

A more melancholy piece, “El Turbio Fundadero,” is conceptually different from some of his architectural paintings. Here, Camacho captures the movement of the water, reflections and vibrations, but also abandonment, desolation and the passage of time.

Over the years, Camacho has adapted an ability to identify, read and feel the motivations for painting, whether it’s the intense play of light and shadow, the drama of a landscape or perhaps the unnoticed detail. Ultimately he shows us the possibilities are endless, as he organizes and studies every goal in a subject, one at a time, to create a series.

With participation in over 100 exhibitions throughout Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Mexico, Colombia, and the United States, Camacho has received more than 20 awards, including the 2012 Premio “Aquileo J. Echeverría,” in fine arts from the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud Asociación (Costa Rican watercolorists), San José. He was also awarded the Premio VII Bienal Internacional in watercolors, and the Premio Museo Alfredo Guati-Rojo D.F. México.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery, 5km west of the Liberia airport, offers a permanent exhibit of Camacho’s paintings. Stop in for a visit to enjoy his extraordinary talents.