El bebedor de ron (The Rum Drinker)Cuba Series - Painting #8
Acrylic on canvas - 36" x 48"
My mother was born in the city of Santa Clara, but my grandfather was from nearby Esperanza - a small hamlet of a few thousand people on the outskirts of the city. This tiny outpost is where my grandfather lived, and it became sort of hollowed ground for me in my search for his long-lost paintings.
After my first day roaming the village, I stumbled back to the main road, exhausted and needing a drink. I found what seemed to be the only bar in town, an old government operated place with a rag-tag clientele and a bartender of unassuming character but with a ton of fashion sense.
I began discussing my search for my grandfather’s art with the bartender, telling him of my family lineage in the town and showing him some pictures of my grandfather from back in the day. In an effort to help me he began circulating the photos around the bar to see if anyone else might be of help.
The man depicted in this painting was one of the patrons who took some time to view the photos and give me some pointers regarding who might be able to lead me in the right direction. Clutching a glass of rum in one hand and a cigar in the other, his slim body and distinctive features cut an especially striking figure.
Throughout this series I was frequently striving for a certain serenity in the people I depicted - contrasting their disposition against what are at times less than favorable environs. But this bar isn't so bad. The people are friendly and the rum is cheap - kinda like anywhere on this island.