Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Biggest Painting Adventure Yet: Havana, Cuba!

Hello from the frozen tundra that is New York City!  I'm hoping my modem holds out so I can complete this post.  On top of the unrelenting cold/ice/snow,  Mercury in retrograde really hit me hard this time around.  However, I'm quite happy to report that my planned trip to Cuba went off without a hitch.  My teacher, Gregg Kreutz, and a group of 24 of us went to Havana to paint and photograph the city.

I started planning this trip last August, so it was a long time in the making.  We started planning our trip well before the US loosened travel regulations, so there was (and still is) a lot of paperwork and planning to be done before you can get on the plane.



We had to get a visa to travel to Cuba and there was a host of other paperwork, but it was relatively easy.  In the US, you take a flight from your home to Miami or Tampa, then after much paperwork and luggage weighing, you get on a charter flight to Havana.

This sign greeted us outside the airport.  I expected to see many more of them, but there were not many around.

Upon arrival in Havana, we boarded a bus to our hotel in the Vedado neighborhood.

The hotel kitty.  Everyone stopped to talk to him, but his only interest seemed to be what time the dining room opened.

After resting up for the night, we set out to find our first painting spot.






This was where we settled the first morning.  The streets and architecture reminded me very much of New Orleans.  Even though many of these buildings have not had any repairs in years, they were still very colorful and beautiful.

To start off the workshop, Gregg did a demo for us.


Gregg starts his cityscape paintings by taking a paper towel and some turp and blocking in the buildings (the paint is usually a combination of ultramarine blue and transparent red oxide).

Next, he puts in the sky and then gets to work on the buildings.





After just a few hours, Gregg finished the painting and it is beautiful.




After the demo, we each found our own spot to paint.  I chose the coconut seller just across from where we were standing.

The Coco Loco coconut sellers

I'll give you the details about this painting in another post.  It was great fun and the guys at the fruit stand were incredible to me.

I'll be back with many more posts about my Cuban adventure.  It really was the trip of a lifetime!