Argentinian veterinarian Pablo Veloz has taken his love of animals in a new direction as he settles into Western New York. Instead of treating wounds and injuries, Veloz is treating animals – often birds – as the subjects in his paintings.

“I love animals,” Veloz, who hails from Buenos Aires, said. “I think that you capture the soul of the bird by drawing and painting the beak and the eyes. I love the life in the eyes in particular.”

Veloz’ paintings had been exhibited at the Cattaraugus County Arts Council consignment shop, Art on Main Gallery, last year. “The fact that I’m showing my work to people, to the public, I think will make people know me,” Veloz said. “I was very pleased when these guys at the Cattaraugus Art Council invited me, because my self-esteem is a little bit low.”

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Veloz came to the United States in 2012 and settled in the Village of Cattaraugus with his husband, Fred Sheifts, who has lived in Cattaraugus for over 40 years. And while painting has helped Veloz stay connected with animals, he admits he misses the functions of being a veterinarian who works with small, domestic animals.

“To get your (veterinarian) license here, you have to pass all kinds of tests, including horse and cow surgery,” Veloz explained. “I know the theories behind those procedures, but I don’t have the practice. If I wanted to get licensed, I would have to practice with those animals for a couple of years at least. It is a very expensive process too.”

Veloz, who often finds himself referring back to his family in Argentina, noted that painting has also helped him to deal with living in a foreign land where he has a scarcity of friendly faces to turn to.

“I miss my friends and I miss practicing, that’s something I really need,” Veloz said.

“That makes it harder being here. But this is the life I’ve chosen, so I’m happy with that decision anyway.”

It was through his husband’s family that Veloz was able to tap into his artistic instinct.

“I discovered painting through Gloria, my sister-in-law,” Veloz said. “I think that art, specifically painting, was a tool for me to work through some difficulties. Thank God I discovered this side of myself that I didn’t have any idea I could develop.”

Veloz, who began painting after arriving in the United States, has a “do-it-yourself” attitude toward his art career. Since he is relatively new to the art world, he said he does not have a specific artist as his idol. Veloz paints how he wants to paint, often combining media and techniques – for instance, watercolors and ink.

“I don’t have much knowledge on other painters,” Veloz said. “I took several works of some artists as models to create my own style, but I think (my work) is a combination of different styles.”

While Veloz still aspires to continue his vocation of working with animals, he is also open to exploring his options as a professional artist. And with his successes has come increasing pride in his work.

“I think that, for now on, this helps me to become more self confident,” Veloz said. “That is a very important thing because I will start to show my art to other people without thinking that it’s not worth it. So thanks to this showing, I am gaining self confidence and I think that is going to be something good for my art.”

Veloz’ art can be viewed on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pablowatercolors