Cuba… through the Eyes of the Artist

From the time I was a little boy, and through adolescence and then adulthood, I’ve been aware of that little Island Republic just 90 miles off the Florida coast.  In fact, as a very young boy, I was taken to Havana as the “tour” portion of a Summer Camp.  That particular trip was in 1956; just 2 ½ years prior to Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution taking power.  As a high school student I was acutely aware of the Bay of Pigs, and then the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.  And again in ’84, when Cuba was front page news, as Castro provided asylum to a convicted Cop-Killer.  Even today, controversy seems to swirl around this small country and its relationship to all its neighbors; the US included.  Troubling, at best.

On the other hand, the visuals provided to us show this enormous sense of decaying beauty.  The vintage automobiles.  The bright colors.  The old women, dressed in colorful garb, and often smoking cigars.  And with it, a people who have always seemed to me; somehow, to be just a bit more fascinating than so many others living in foreign lands.  It’s really, more what “we don’t know” vs. what we do, that has created this ongoing fascination.

Well… to that end, I took up the challenge, in trying to reflect Cuba through my painting… as I saw and imagined it.  Not necessarily, as it is.  The good news for me, or for that matter anyone seeking the visuals that are Havana; is that we need go no further than

Google for reference material.  The images captured by countless photographers are in abundance.  That’s where I started.  Following those searches, came the need to read a bit more about “today’s” Cuba, in an attempt to find a subject that tells a story.  Whether it be Che Guevara;  and the facts contrasting with popular myth; Revolutionary or Despot… the women of the street… or for that matter the Cigar smoking café culture.  I’d find it all with my research and with the many images available.  And have hence, created a handful of paintings that will hopefully, create some interest or maybe, even a story or two.

You’ll find them in my Watercolor portfolio… with more to come.

Till next time…

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