I've been asked a few times about the thing I miss the most from Nicaragua. Most of the time I say my family, friends or food but if you ask me this time of year, I'd probably say not having to deal with allergies. It all started last year but I had forgotten how bad allergies can be. Ok, now to business...
I wanted to show a little bit of the process that goes into creating a painting. I like to set up my composition and paint directly from life, but sometimes that's just not possible. I worked on the painting here using a series of photographs I took the last time I was in Nicaragua. My brother had brought bananas from my sister's coffee farm (banana plants and other trees are planted among the coffee plants to shade the coffee plants). I set up a still life composition using the bananas and my mother's old wooden box in order to take photos.
Using the digital images, I drew on newsprint and then transferred the image to the canvas. Next, I applied a thin layer of burnt umber to the canvas and let it dry. Then I added the local color to each element in the painting starting with the background, then the wooden box, and finally the bananas, working to get the right values.
Once this step was complete, I began to paint the next layer, adding detail and adjusting the values and colors as needed.
The background is very simple, so I was able to move soon to the wooden box. Because the box does not have many details, it offers a good balance to the detail and movement in the bananas.
After a couple of days spent working on the bananas, I was finished with the painting:
Jelly Beans is currently being auctioned on ebay: www.tinycc.melvintoledoebay
There are different ways to start an oil painting and they all affect the look of the finished piece.
In the first painting (The blue brush) I started with an thin wash of burnt sienna, a dark translucent orange, that gave the finished painting an overall warm look. In the second painting, after adding a few more elements to the composition the same process was followed, with this painting, however, I started with a light blue mixture that resulted in a painting with a cooler feel.
I wish I had taken a few pictures of the process to post here, maybe I'll do it next time.
People are often surprised to hear that beisbol (baseball), not soccer, is the most popular sport in Nicaragua. It's understandable since our neighbors in Honduras and Costa Rica simply love soccer. But no, in Nicaragua baseball is "el deporte rey" (the king of sports).
Some say baseball's popularity started with the occupation of Nicaragua by the US Marines in 1920, others say it was Nicaragua's president Adan Cardenas. One thing is certain - no other sport captivates Nicaragua like baseball.
When I was little, there was no stadium in my hometown, so we played baseball in the plaza in front of the church. In the summer after the harvest, we played baseball in spite of the afternoon heat. Some of my fondest memories are of playing ball in that plaza.
With this painting I celebrate baseball and the joy that millions of people around the world feel and share the moment the umpire shouts: Play ball!