Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Little of Peru in NYC

It's October 18, and today marks a very special day in Peruvian culture. It is the main date of the celebration of Lima's patron saint el Senor de los Milagros (the Lord of Miracles). For hundreds of years the image of a black crucified Christ has been marched through the streets of downtown Lima, and Peruvian communities abroad have brought this tradition with them to their new cities.
This past Sunday, October 16, the Peruvian community of New York City celebrated this religious tradition with a procession of its own through the streets of midtown Manhattan.
Just as in Peru, faithful Catholics follow the procession at a slow pace to the beat of a marching band. For those who are not familiar with this celebration, the image of life size Christ in agony adorned with silver, gold, and flowers can have a powerful presence, some shy away, and some non believers laugh. No matter what, the Peruvian followers walk looking at the image of Christ with their heads high, praying for better health and a better tomorrow.
I payed my respects this Sunday, and was there praying for my family and to thank for my blessings. For me this procession is moving, there's so much attached to it, it's not just religion, it's a connection to my roots, an experience that brings me closer to my country of birth, the place I haven't been to for over sixteen years.
I grew up with this, I loved smelling incense in the air, and seeing the push and shove of the people trying to get close to the image. In Lima, over half a million people follow the procession from start to end, which runs some eighteen hours on both October 18 & 19; that is one large group of passionate people.
With so much going on in the world, Lord knows we all need something to believe in, something to make us feel that things will be alright. For the poor people of Peru this has been their strength, their hope for a better way of life.
For more information on this festival, please visit my post on the history of the Lord of Miracles here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Plein Air: Loeb Boathouse

Loeb Boathouse, 2011, oil on linen, 8 x 11 inches
This is my latest shot at plein air in Central Park. I went out to paint last Tuesday hoping to enjoy the last few warm days of fall, and I must say for the most part it was beautiful warm day, that's until it got cold in the split of a second towards late afternoon. I'm not sure how many more times I'll be able to paint out doors, cold weather is coming and it makes me run and hide under multiple blankets. There's a big part of me that would love to paint out doors during the winter, trying to catch the cool light sounds fun, but I'm not a winter kind of guy, and the thought of painting with gloves, scarf, a coat, and multiple layers doesn't sound fun. At the moment I'm just playing it by ear, let's see how far I can take this.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Delacroix Said It

"I'm always having excellent ideas, but instead of working on them while they are still fresh in my imagination, I keep telling myself that I will do them later on - but when? Then I forget about them or, worse still, can no longer see anything interesting in ideas that seemed certain to inspire me. The trouble is, that with a roving and impressionable mind like mine, one idea brings another out of my head quicker than the changing wind alters the direction of a windmill's sails."
- Eugine Delacroix, journal entry April 11, 1824 -
Going through my notebook today, while looking for Velazquez's color palette, I ran into this Delacroix quote and it made me think "don't I know this too well!" I constantly find myself getting ideas for paintings or being inspired by things I see in day to day, but, just like Delacroix, ideas get lost in time if I don't take action. And even when I do take action, they don't get completed in a timely manner. That is my problem now, I have various unfinished pieces in my studio and can't get myself to work on them more until I can say it's finished. Instead I get "inspired" by another thing and yet again another painting gets started. I have a lot of things running through my mind, specially after coming back from a trip to Madrid and a two day visit to the Prado can awaken dreams, inspiration, and a lot of self criticism. My head is still spinning from all the breathtaking works of art I saw, and more ideas as to where to take my work in the future keep running through. It's nice to know that one the world's greatest artist felt the same way.