What an amazing place, of contrasts, drama, inspiration, frustration, people and of course heat and rum.
We had 10 days and travelled from Havana, to Trinidad on the coast and then back across the island to Vinales in the north, a place of absolute stunning natural beauty. I have written before in this blog about how my inspiration for painting comes mainly from the landscape, in Cuba I found myself wanting to paint buildings and people as well as landscapes. I think it’s impossible to experience the place without having a connection to these things. The mixture of crumbling, elegant facades with the newly renovated. The old cars. The people who are warm, friendly and welcoming. These things are so very much a part of what the island is about, along with the politics. This was our second visit, we were there about 6 years ago, and things have changed. There is yet more renovation and a different energy, a positive, vibrant buzz about the place.
So will I paint Cuba? Well so far, I’ve mostly been painting scenes where I feel a deep connection, or a sense of peace and they have been places from here in the UK. I have felt that peace on my travels, but what I hadn’t quite realised until I went so far afield is the very deep connection to the land in I feel here at home in the UK. So although
I had my sketch books with me, and in between walking and sight seeing found some time to sit and do some painting, in some ways they feel like my holiday scrapbook. Here’s a selection and whether in the end I use this material for a new collection I don’t know. But Cuba was inspiring, stimulating and incredibly interesting, perhaps not that peaceful but maybe this will take me in a different direction.
Below, two sketches from Vinales, possibly the best view in Cuba. Stunning.