El bebedor de ron (The Rum Drinker)Cuba Series - Painting #8
Acrylic on canvas - 36" x 48"
During my stay in the province of Villa Clara, I made sure to spend some quality time in Esperanza - a small, dusty village of a few thousand people on the outskirts of the main city of Santa Clara. This tiny outpost, seemingly in the middle of nowhere is where my grandfather lived and it became sort of hollowed ground for me in my search for his long lost paintings. For 3 days I roamed the village knocking on doors and trying to get leads to anyone who may have had connections with my family in the 1950's.
After one fruitless but nevertheless amazing day, I stumbled back to the main road, exhausted and thirsting for a beer. Before I hitched a ride back to the main city I found what seemed to be the hotspot in town. An old government operated bar with a rag tag clientele and a bartender of unassuming character but with a ton of fashion sense. (Victor, from one of my previous paintings).
I began discussing my search for my grandfathers art with Victor, telling him of my family lineage in the town and even showed him some pictures of my grandfather from back in the day. Victor wasn't familiar with him or my family but in an effort to help me began circulating the photo 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 photo and give me some pointers about who I 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 figure and distinctive hat cut an especially striking figure. In this series I am always looking for a certain serenity in the people I depict - contrasting their disposition against what are at times less than favorable environs. But this bar isn't so bad. The locals are friendly and the rum is cheap. Kinda like anywhere on this island.