French kisses

Although the concept is very American, I loved this photograph of a child who instead of selling lemonade, we are accustomed to seeing through the media, is selling kisses.

The kiss is a gesture common among humans and among many animal species and it consists of touching something with the lips; and, the kiss benefits the health of those that give it and those who receive it.

The kiss, because of its connotation has been the inspiration for art in its various manifestations, as we can see in these pictures.

The Kiss (Gustav Klimt)

Alfred Eisenstaedt's V–J Day in Times Square

Pablo Picasso´s The Kiss

Still from "The Kiss" (1896 film)

 

 

 

 

Robert Doisneau´s The Kiss at the Hôtel de VilleEl beso del Hôtel de Ville. Robert Doisneau.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auguste Rodin´s "The Kiss"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About 75 years ago my grandmother married my grandfather Alejandro. They came from a region with very primitive customs, so that in his machismo, she was only his wife. My grandmother never knew it, but she was very much ahead of her time, for many years, I saw her as an eccentric. Of course, as such, she could not stand my grandfather´s infidelities; and, two or three years later, ended their marriage, without giving him a chance.

Legal divorce was not necessary because my grandmother´s determination was unique and that was enough  for my grandfather to sleep by her feet for the rest of his days. After many years, up until 1973, following a request that my grandmother made to a Bible college, where she requested that missionaries be sent to take care of several temples she had built, Ramon Nunez arrived, he was the supervisor of the Methodist pastors in the norther region of the country, and she fell in love with him at first sight.

I cannot say anything in relation to her internal conflicts, only that her platonic love led her to write many poems and essays about love, all with figures of speech, trying to hide from the public and perhaps from herself, her feelings; feelings perceived by three girls who shared her roof for several months each year.

After a little more than a decade, both were widowed in their senior years, and got married (a relationship that lasted 24 years until her demise). The girls grew up and came to be their grandmother´s confidants. I can vouch that if she lived in this February, she could have taken these verses by Gabriela Mistral to dedicate to him.

There are kisses that speak for themselves
the guilty judgment of love,
some kisses are given with a look
some kisses are given with a memory.

And I would say, citing Gustavo Adolfo Becquer: Grandmother: “The soul that can speak with the eyes can also kiss with the eyes.”

Where do I begin …

St. Valentine´s day has passed, but February prompts me to speak of love stories. The names of Romeo and Juliet immediately come to mind. I imagine that Shakespeare never suspected that his work would last until eternity, just like the love that his characters pledged.

And it´s that “romantic love” apparently will leave its mark on humanity, and in some way many would like to experience something similar regardless of whether its ending be happy or not. The intensity of idealized love is considered a different feeling than the pure physiological needs, such as sexual desire or lust. It is a kind of affection that its presumed to to be for life (I will love you forever), exclusive (I can not love anyone but you), unconditional (I will love you no matter what) and involves a high degree of resignation (I love you more than my life).

It was in the 70’s when I received my first kiss (a precocious child) and it was also the decade when the film “Love Story”, a romantic drama film written by Erich Segal and based on his novel Love Story, premiered. The film, well known as a tragedy, is considered one of the most romantic of all time by the American Film Institute (#9 on the list). This precious song, written by Beethoven, was chosen by the director, and I believe it´s very significant to the movie.

Certainly not all are romantic, but for those who, like me, like this prototype of relationship, I would like to share these links and urge you to dig a little about the biographies of these artists as a couple, who no doubt would have inspired the our beloved English writer.

Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel

Amedeo Modigliani and Jeanne Hébuterne


 

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner

I see the moon, and the moon sees me

Guillermo Armentero´s photo

There is no better accomplice for those in love than the moon, with its pale, silvery light, and imposing circular shape. The moon is the celestial body larger than we observe for hours without optical damage. It haunts me, I believe in its power of attraction and the fascination that it has aroused in mankind; and let´s not forget about the moon’s influence on nature, including humans.

At different times in a span of 30 years I have been questioned at some point on a deep desire, and without thinking, the answer comes to me “walking in the moonlight with my loved one”.

There are so many fond memories from my childhood, and I say this because I belong to a generation and environment where nature played as important a role as for a primitive society. One of those fond memories is going out on the road in full moon nights to play “step on the reflected shadows”.  Back then, I had never heard of Peter Pan and his adventures, but by way of the collective unconscious, our shadows were so loved and protected as his was for him.

Referring to the moon, in art and literature we find, among others: Beethoven´s Moonlight Sonata, one of my favorite tunes, which I share with my beloved Rebeca.

Kiki Smith with her handscreen wallpaper “Maiden and Moonflower,” which tells a beautiful story about a woman who used to sit under a tree in the moonlight, surrounded by nocturnal animals and the stars.

 

And Pablo Neruda in his poem “If you forget me” refers to it, and reading it revives in me the moment I received one of the few poems of love that I have ever inspired.

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Pablo Neruda

Repeat after yourself

Guerra de la Paz installation

Colors are vital for me, I get energized when I look at nature and I spontaneously worship the Creator.  Although I find exceptional shapes in creation, nothing compares to its colors. Guess what? Colors have to do with light. If everything were to be turned off, and it became dark, colors would so cease to exist: In the tropics, the colors are brighter. Don’t panic, in our lessons we are talking about pigments and what happens when you mix the three primary colors: yellow, red and blue. The result of the mixture produces the range of earthy colors, that we commonly call brown.
If you mix them in equal amounts, you will get a dark brown because blue is a very strong color. If you put more yellow into your mix, you will get a yellowish brown color leaning to ocher. If your mixture is heavy on the red, you will get a reddish brown.

Margarita Mileva rubber-band dress

This time, complete in each of the photos the following sentence and you’ll be an  expert recognizing which of the primary colors it leans toward.

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

 

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

Magdalena Abakanowicz sculpture

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

Magdalena Abakanowicz sculpture

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

Kenia Brea clay modeling

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

My son, Juan José

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

This brown contains a lot of …, a little …, and a pinch of …

Like I said in a previous post, part of my life took place in the Cibao, that is what we call the northern part of the island. There, the land is fertile and it is customary to plant. My grandparents had large cocoa bean plantations, so those who know cocoa and color theory well might assert that the skin covering the individual dried cocoa beans is often a reddish brown, and some times a yellowish brown. When we peel the seed, we find a very dark brown mass that corresponds to the edible part, that is so because that color contains a lots of blue, a little red and a dash of yellow.  Many visual artists use this mix of colors instead of black. I had never, before writing this blog, thought of associating the colors with things that were as personal as my memories; and, this single event makes me think it was worth it. So, in honor of this fruit and my new experience, I leave this delicious recipe that Hershey’s provided for our enjoyment.

Chocolate Sweetheart Cakes for Two

Like in kindergarten

As a visual artist, I am well aware, that teaching that red, yellow and blue are the primary colors is a sacrilege, because, as my teacher Carlos Montesino always says, they have names and surnames, which I will not mention.

I consider it important to talk to my students about color, and I take the opportunity at every workshop to teach them a little about the subject. There are scientific explanations about color, but to me, they are simply a gift from God, something wonderful, and I would say even magical; because they have the power to influence our mood and even our decision making as individuals. Eventhough I  am conscious that the mastery of color theory is an arduous and complex affair, I recognize the importance of doing so in order to obtain successful results in the projects of art in all its aspects.

So, repeat after me.  The primary colors are:

Yellow

Red

and,

Blue

Collective Unconscious

I would like to say otherwise, but Kathe Kollwitz did not influence in these works.  In some way, we are the people´s other people. In her memory, and in that of those affected by our human miseries, I dedicate this exhibition.

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Käthe Kollwitz drawing

Kenia Brea drawing

Käthe Kollwitz sculpture

Käthe Kollwitz sculpture

Follow your heart

It is very likely that you´ve heard of Steve Jobs, but following his death, many people posted on Facebook with his wise words, which I think is always timely as today, because although I love to do many things, nothing gives me greater satisfaction, according to my heart, than art, which I have put aside these last few months. Digging through my archives, I found these sketches that I made a while ago, that made me feel frustrated at the time, but today I re-start my self motivated drawing classes.

Antoni Gaudi

Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), is one of the greatest architectural figures of the late 19th,early 20th Century and particularly so in the history of Spanish, and Catalan, architecture. Seen as the genius of the Modernist movement (Art Nouveau). His greatest inspiration was nature. Passionate about plants and insects, he was known to say that the tree outside his window was his greatest teacher, and that nature is the language of architecture.

Casa Batlló (Batlló House), Antoni Gaudi

Gaudi Submarine

“Maya blue”

The Maya is a group that will be spoken about a lot this year. This mask is a unique masterpiece and what a surprise: the tiles that were used to make it are a clay called palygorskite, also called "Maya blue". This is the same clay that my husband, Juan, and my son, Juan José smeared on themselves when we visited the Yanigua River, in El Valle, province of Hato Mayor. I keep a bucket full of this clay, which of course, I will use on my next ceramic experiment.

 

Alex Kanevsky

The first time I saw the work of this Lithuanian artist living in U.S. was in "Art in America" magazine, since then I visit his webpage. I love his work, so free and spontaneous; but, I love his willingness to share with the audience the process of his creations, somewhat lacking these days, much more.