Glen Rose native, Jose Espino, has never taken an art class in his life, but already his artwork is outstanding.
The 37-year-old starting painting about two years ago after learning to play the violin.
“When I was a little kid, I wanted to learn to play the violin because I like classical music. That was so hard that I was like, ‘Well I wonder what else I can do?' I like the painting and the drawing and all that so I just tried it out and there was all that stuff just kind of buried away,” he said.
He didn’t realize how expensive his new hobby would be so he decided to try his hand at drawing, discovering a hidden talent.
“It kind of shocks me that I can do some stuff like this without having a whole lot of knowledge of it,” he said.
Espino has 200 hours of experience and has already finished 18 drawings of famous celebrities like John F. Kennedy, Lucille Ball, John William Gregory, Connor McGregor, Moses, Hugh Laurie and many others.
He currently works for the county as a custodian.
“I don’t mind doing it because I eventually want to start doing some landscapes and all that and I get to kind of spend time with my friends - the trees and the squirrels,” he said with a laugh. “I'm really shy. I keep to myself a lot. For one, I like to do this in my spare time and if I don’t socialize a whole lot, then I won’t be pulled away from it,” he said.
It can be challenging at times because he also has trouble with his vision.
“It’s kind of hard when you see two of everything and I still see two of everything when I draw so I just learn to look at light and dark and I just go from there, so I do the best that I can in my own way. I’m not like a professional or anything. I just do what I do and if people like it, I try to go with it,” he said.
He keeps his talent alive by drawing pictures for people who have lost loved ones.
“It relaxes me. Whatever’s on my mind, it just kind of goes away whenever I do that," he said. "I really want to do landscapes and, especially in the painting, it makes you feel like you’re there so it’s a great escape.”
Espino said it can take him anywhere from 10-15 hours to finish a drawing. His longest was an 18 by 24-inch drawing that took him 17 hours to complete.
“I don’t like to get into a rush,” he said. “It depends on the size of the drawing and also the reference. If the reference has a lot of what I call, ‘information,’ then I want to get as much as I can out of every reference picture because I don’t have a teacher, so to me, every time I draw somebody or something, it’s a lesson. I learn something from it every time.”
Rod Hale, former neighbor and friend, said that he was “absolutely and utterly amazed” by Espino’s “delicate touch” and that his “artistic drawings are absolutely perfect.”
Espino said when he retires, he plans to draw all day and finally try his hand at an art class. He wants to continue to share his work with other people to inspire them to find their hidden talents.
“Another reason why I like to share my drawings is because I feel like I’m a below-average person and I feel like sharing, ‘Hey, I can do this, maybe you can do it too and find yourself something that you can have fun with,’” Espino added.