Costa Rica Artist Spotlight: Al Alexander the Path to Costa Rica.  For an artist whose imagination has clearly never let him down, anytime or anywhere, Al Alexander could not have found a better place to thrive than Costa Rica. Endless sources of inspiration keep him painting with fervor and passion since retiring and settling here with his wife, Jean, in 2006.

“I always drew as a child and my mother encouraged me to go to art school,” recalled Alexander, who is originally from Ohio. “When a scene, a cultural event, a land or seascape inspires me, I try to capture it, and most times enhance it, according to my mind’s eye.”

Melding of technique and subject

Inspired by a subject or event, Alexander feels his paintings are most successful when the technique and subject become one.

“As a realist,” he explained, “I use traditional methods and techniques in my paintings. I use modern materials such as gesso and tone the primed canvas with a neutral gray or raw umber wash, then draw in the composition with a brush. Over time I’ve gained confidence and I feel comfortable painting any subject  — portrait, landscape, seascape, still life — I love it all.”


Painting title: Rio Fisherman

The Epcot Center at Florida’s Disney World was home to Al for a short while. He was the project manager tasked with executing dozens of murals, which he then installed on site. Al has also designed and installed more than 50 commercial and private murals, including at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey.

His artistic talents were further recognized when he was among 13 artists chosen by the White House Historical Society to contribute to its 2000 Commemorative calendar. In addition, he was commissioned to create 13 paintings for the U.S. Army’s 2000 Vietnam calendar.

‘Costa Rica introduced me
to a whole new culture,
environment and settings.’

Internationally showcased

Collectors of Alexander’s paintings include executives in the Merck Pharmaceuticals corporate offices in New York City and New Jersey; the president of Burlington Mills, the publisher of Yachting Magazine and the late Malcolm Forbes. His work is also showcased in numerous corporate and private collections throughout England, Europe, the United States, and now in his adopted homeland of Costa Rica.

One of the greatest impacts on his art was living in and around New York City, Alexander told us. He found those surroundings, with the exposure to enormous collections of world-renowned art, both challenging and inspirational.

“But the move to Costa Rica,” he said, “introduced me to a whole new culture, environment and settings. I find the tropics beautiful and visually stimulating — the colorful fiestas, the colorful birds, and the varied and exotic landscapes. They call out ‘paint me!'”

Al’s Permanent Exhibitional-alexander-artist

Location: Hidden Garden Art Gallery, located 5 kilometers west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport – Liberia, Guanacaste

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