Inspired: Abstract Expressionist Painter Roberto Cortez

October 19th, 2020

This is an excerpt from the Fall/Winter 2020-2021 issue of the Upstate Advocate, Upstate Forever’s twice yearly print newsletter. To read the entire newsletter, click here. If you’d like to be added to our mailing list to receive future issues, please email

Here in Greenville where we have the four seasons, I love how nature expresses itself with so many different colors and textures — the green in spring, the luscious landscapes, all the different flowers in the summer. I like to exercise outside. I love taking long bike rides on the Swamp Rabbit Trail where I notice the leaves, the way the light plays on them, as well as the way I react to nature.

Currently, my color palette is bright shades of blue and green, sometimes turquoise and I notice how they contrast with the warm bold colors. Although I do not do realistic drawings of a tree, for example, my work is more a distorted view of nature, which captures the essence of the ethereal feeling I have towards the natural world.

Art is very therapeutic and it helps to relax my mind and focus my energy towards creating something that is positive. Working intensely is a way to leave all the problems of the world behind and concentrate on the moment, not the past or the future. The present moment is all we have. 

Painting has opened my mind to be more aware of the similarities of human behavior. The feelings and emotions are universal aspects, it doesn’t matter where you are from, your background, your culture, your race, we are all in essence the same. We have goals, dreams, desires and expectations. I have realized that we can transcend all the barriers through art. 

One of the reasons my wife and I moved to South Carolina was because we felt trapped in the city of San Francisco, where the urban environment was so repressive. Creativity was stunted because of the lack of space, coupled with the traffic and the noise. The contrast of moving to and living in the Upstate was that we can finally breathe here, and take in nature so much more easily. We are so lucky to live here.

View more of Roberto’s work at or on Instagram @robertocortez_fineart.

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