Hola mi gente tan hermosa,

Going to Cuba was the one of best decisions I made this year! I knew before I went this past July that my art was transformed, but so was my life! Yes I said life, Learning to better execute my art, has made me more excited about life. It’s all about living in the now.

Thru His vessel JB with other artists in other disciplines through the Rooster GNN Artist Residency.

Here are some things I’ve learned while being in Cuba!

1. Love never failed me

Love? Did I find love? Yes, but not in the sense of finding a spouse but seeing that God gently opened my eyes of the blessings He gave me. There have been days, where I did not have any cash to spend on food or gifts to buy. However, since God is love, I knew I would not go hungry but trusted in Him literally for my daily bread.

In addition, I was surrounded by lovely people, even though they do not hold the same views as I do, I see that we all cared for each other at some level. I certainly do not want to lose contact with these individuals, because as creations of the living God they have so much to offer.

2. Self control became second nature

Since I was just focusing in the now and moment and was not sure where my next meal was coming from due to being low in cash, I knew I had to use wisdom and that was mainly, have a full breakfast and save the leftovers for lunch. I became full enough I had my breakfast leftovers for dinner. Drank plenty of water during those lunch times because I was either hot or hungry, so it filled my belly.

Sketch of fruit
Pre sketch for artist residency project

Seeing artistic beauty not traditionally expressed

Before my time in Cuba, I’ve always been creative with my art, meaning using everyday objects that is seen as tomorrow’s trash . I don’t like to waste things, so I’m always reusing and repurposing canvases or things such as wire hangers, magazines, t-shirts in order to create art. The challenge in using these materials, since most of the time they are not built to last and are disposal, I have to be smarter in preserving my materials ( that’s another post all together).

In Cuba, I saw tubs used as walls and paintings within them. A discarded piano now made as a grasshopper sculpture and many other things. Cubans are one of the most creative peoples I’ve ever met and was so inspired in expressing my creativity more effectively. They are not afraid of experimentation and love to use their imagination.

Decorative window at the Callejon Hamel in Havana Cuba
A door within the Callejon Hamel in Cuba

In addition to that, they were not afraid to use color. I mean seeing an entrance door in bright neon green is pretty ostentatious, but it’s bold and daring as a door. I’ve taken several pictures in front of this bright green neon door because I’ve never seen anything like it. Especially in gray black and brown New York City. I was not looking forward to the muted unsaturated dull colors upon my return from Cuba. However that meant I knew my painting style has changed and will change even more !

Thru His vessel JB in Cuba

Executing colors more brilliantly and correctly

Since my return from Cuba, I understood better the nature of using acrylic paint; try painting a picture with acrylic in 97% humidity. I had a throw away a brush because the paint dried faster than my next stroke. With that mind, unfortunately I had to go my air conditioned room most of the time while painting so I can finish it without stopping.

In my traveling bag, I’ve brought some books from my local library that I am glad I took especially when it’s comes to using acrylics. Since acrylics is a fast drying paint, it is excellent for adding layers to colors to give it the variety of tones an object may have. For example, a person’s skin colorhas at least 3 different hues to give it’s beauty. The darker the skin tone the more varied.

Last but not least, painting is a fun experience!

Since Cuba is full of zealous color, it made me appreciate that painting does not have to be frustrating experience if you do not get the image as you want it, but mistakes along the way makes it fun. I’ve kearned to truly enjoy the process in combination in knowing how to use acrylic paint and the vibrancy of Cuba.

Along with my project, I’ve created some pieces that in Cuba so that they are authentically Cuban and works I do not want to sell. There may be a print edition of these if there is such a demand (More than likely, there will be}. Working on these made me realize I can use my imagination and Cuba helped me to finally break out of shell when it comes to executing color.

Singer in colorful Cuban attire
Thru His vessel JB self portrait

That’s all for now. Next month is a big month because it will start the last quarter of the year and decade. My 10 year art celebration is still ongoing until the end of this year and you would be able to take part of the action. Stay tuned for the next blog post for more info!

For the love of God and art!

Thru His vessel JB Jumping for joy
Leaping for joy for the 10 year art celebration

Thru His vessel JB