La Cubana

Our friend Michael Wolov took his first trip to Cuba in 2009 and walked around Old Havana on his own with camera in hand on day one. He saw an interesting looking woman in traditional dress standing in the street and asked if he might take her picture. She said yes, of course, and he imagined that it hadn’t been the first time she had been asked. He snapped his shot, gave her some pesos to thank her and went on his way.

Fast forward to the summer of 2021:
We took a trip up north to visit family and friends last August, when travel was once again a possibility, however briefly. Our trip ended with a weekend in the Catskills with dear friends of 45 years, Judith and Michael Wolov, who have a charming lake house that they enjoy on weekends away from NYC. When we walked into the guest bedroom, I couldn’t help but notice a framed photograph on the wall of that Cuban woman smoking a cigar. I ask you, what are the odds of my finishing Retro, a painting of a woman smoking a pipe, just weeks earlier and then seeing an arresting image of a woman smoking a cigar? I knew right away that I would be painting her, so I took a picture of the photograph. I finally found time to work on La Cubana last month, after cropping her beautiful dress and intending to hang her in a diptych with Retro called Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. They’ll be on display in the BallenIsles 2022 Art Show from January 10th to the 20th. How serendipitous…

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