I did the following short photo story while walking through the streets of Salamanca, Spain. I went out looking for something interesting to photograph and was fortunate to find Manuel Molano López working on his craft:

I had passed this man many times in the few days I've been here, but had never been in the right mindset to stop and make the frames…

This morning, I passed by again and didn't stop again but it didn't feel right so I went back and just stood there and watched how he worked. After a few minutes, I asked him the first question: "how do you do the textures on the paintings?"

He answers, "with the paint, nothing else." The ice was broken.

He's dedicated himself to painting for about 20 years. He's from Madrid, and he has a job in northern Spain, but he is currently in this city for a couple of reasons...

The first, he's practicing for a fast-painting competition that he is going to participate in. He's practicing a new technique in which not only does he paint faster but adds texture and life to the painting - more dynamic. He also likes the energy of this college town and of painting in the street. Energy he hopes to take to his job.

For him, it's not only a passion but a way of keeping his mind occupied. After standing with him for about 30 minutes listening, he opened up. “I lost my father two years ago and painting allows me to keep my mind off that.” He said. “Painting is my passion but it also keeps my mind busy and positive.”

I feel so blessed when people that I meet even for a few minutes or hours feel comfortable in sharing their story. It's such a blessing and a great experience to be able to listen to people and learn the “why behind the why.” Thousands pass through the street and see him painting… I don't know how many stop and spend sometime talking to him. I'm fortunate to be one of them.

Manuel Molano López. Salamanca, España. 2016.