I went to Argentina for vacation... Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, Calafate and Bariloche. Simply amazing. Even though I am horrible at painting lansdcapes, I had a huge urge to just sit there and try and interpret through paint what I was looking at... When you think about it, it's almost a curse... being a painter that is, not vacationing. Everything we look at, we paint; at least in our heads we do. I sometimes find myself trying to let go of being a painter just so I can take in what is there in front of me. The truth is it's impossible, painter and person are the same person, and we have to accept that. I decided to take photos... a REAL painter would've painted, but I opted for my camera... and I have to say I love taking photographs. When done regularly, the process of composing starts to come from your gutt, and in my experience gutt is good.
I was also in Buenos Aires, and had to go to the musuem of Fine Arts (MNBA). I knew they had a really nice Bouguereau (The First Mourning) and an emblematic image in Argentinian figurative painting, Ernesto de la Cárcova's Sin Pan y sin Trabajo, which always reminded me of Bramley's Hopeless Dawn. Now both Boug's and de la Cárcova's work are absolutely wonderful. Boug's is much more subtle than the reproductions I´ve seen, and surprisingly de la Cárcova's painting is somewhat impressionistic. There are blues and purples in the hands... bits of broken color that are intelligently placed. All this would've been fantastic, if the museum would let people take photographs. But nooooo, only the most important museums in the world let people take photos, but here in LatinAmerica we don't trust ourselves yet. The reason they gave me is that the museum owns the rights of the works that are displayed so if I wanted something I had to go to the store. So I went to the store, and they obviously had nothing of de la Cárcova's work, no reproductions of the painting, no postcards, nothing. Their argument made complete sense.
So I realized that we hold on to whatever we can remember. Granted I could've taken notes on the painting, and sketched for a while... but I decided to look. And I stared at it for a looong time, and I tried to take everything in. I asked myself, not how he painted it (although that's an inevitable thought), but why it made me feel so connected to it... how and where is it that human emotion is so purely represented, that 100 years later, when the world is completely different than the one they depicted, I'm still connected to their image. And so I looked... and I guess looking is almost rhetorical... I didn't come up with any answers, it seems a bit intangible. I realize people may dismiss these sort of works as overly daramtic, almost kitschy, but I'm drawn to them. That's all I know, all I care about.