Listening - watching
taking a moment
drawing the world
finding the way to connection
again and again.

For upcoming classes and events
visit my website –

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cuba Libre

Okay, so it's the name of a drink in Cuba (rum and coke)
but it also captures something about the open heartedness of the place -
so that's my title !

I just returned from ten days in Cuba, traveling with a group organized by
George Mason University, studying the dances and culture of this island.

The trip began in Santiago de Cuba.
We moved to Guantanemo, then on to Baracoa on the eastern coast,
then returned to Santiago before flying home.

In between dance classes (Afro Cuban and Rueda - a kind of salsa square dance)
attending amazing performances by local dance troupes,
dancing in clubs and on the streets at night and generally moving around,
here is what landed in the sketchbook.

As the trip unfolded I became less and less interested in making the precise drawing
and more and more connected to the sensual movement of the pencil and brush on the page -
the rhythms of Cuba were sinking in !

I always leave the first page of the sketchbook blank until the end of the trip
and then put something there that encapsulates the whole time . . .
in this case a sensual Cuban flag !

The Basilica is Cuba's most sacred pilgrimage site.
It intertwines the worship of the Virgin Mary with the Santeria orisha Ochun,
the Yoruba goddess of love and dancing, represented by the color yellow.
The small statue of "Cachita" sits high above the altar,
with yellow and white flags on either side.

click on the image to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

In Baracoa I wandered through this sweet town one afternoon
and found my way to the La Roca Palador restaurant for a delicious lunch of teti fish . . .

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Turning back towards Santiago . . .

Coming to the end.
Here is the snake deity who determines which orisha energy a person will work with in their life.
It is the logo of Cutumba, the dance company in Santiago who taught us
the deeply rooted Santeria movements.

I draw precisely, dropping into the coiled form -
then let the energy expand - and spin - and open out.

And here I am - fresh from dancing . . .