Friday, February 26, 2016

Paintings of Cuba

The land, the light, city buildings, narrow streets and colors of Cuba were all new to me. The characters, the music and busy crowds grabbed my attention in every direction. Ancient structures crumbled, upright cannons blocked traffic from streets, used booksellers featured old Che Guevera posters and communist history texts, wheelbarrows of used building materials rumbled by.

Painting was almost an afterthought. I was distracted and entranced by so much that I often neglected to take photographs, instead partaking in my experiences wholeheartedly. Here are four of my finished works, each one an effort to keep my feet from dancing to the constant music and another effort to control my quivering hand after too much delicious and very strong Cuban coffee. If you want to know where caffeine comes from, go to Cuba.

In the Shade of a Colonnade, Havana 12x9 oil on canvas ©2016

Crumbled Chapel, 12x9 oil on birch panel ©2016

In the storm, Old Fort in Cojimar, 12x16 oil on birch panel ©2016

There's a Missile in There, 5x7 oil on Arches Huile ©2016

Painting Buckhorn in Winter

 The warmth of the afternoon sun faded to cool shadows of sunset (in the photo) on the January day I painted out at Buckhorn on Grand Island. It was a pleasure to face the sunlight on a January day, no breeze and not so cold that the paints did not freeze to glue.
January Afternoon, 9x12 oil on birch, ©2016

The flavor of Cuba

A whirlwind decision to join the Publisher's Invitational from Plein Air Magazine landed me in Havana Cuba in early February (see December 5 post). Astounded by the great need there for the simplest of items I post these photos to show the resilience of Cubans, a bit of feeling for the countryside. These were taken during a visit to Jaimanitas west of Havana on the shore and location of an important and enterprising ceramic tile artist, Jose Fรบster. He used tile to decorate 50 local homes and an expanded complex at his home studio. It made the town dance with color and bring in tourists by the busload, allowing neighbors to sell their crafts, mostly paintings, and have a few vendors for cold drinks and simple lunches. The horse and cart are a common means of transportation and probably a sign of affluence, there were few cars in the town, mostly taxis or bicycle rickshaws. Foot traffic is the major mode of travel wherever I went.

This last one may be a painting reference one of these days. Love this 'hole in the wall'.