The first thing that most Arabs and Israelis will agree on is how to make a great salad. Believe it or not, but Arabic Salad and Israeli Salad are actually the same. (In case you wonder, this post is not about food and definitely not about Middle East politics, it is about painting and composition). While sweet pepper and onion, parsley, olive oil and lemon, usually join the party, tomato and cucumber are the body of this salad. If you take only tomato and cucumber, chop them into small pieces and mix them together, you get a beautiful color composition and that’s it. That’s the essence of composition. Add more vegetables with different colors and you have enriched the composition. Drop the body (tomato and cucumber) and you entirely changed it.
During my Oro Solo period in Las-Terrenas, I began utilizing my salad making skills to create nature inspired compositions. Instead of painting the landscape around me, I adopted its colors, “chopped” them and mixed them in order to create my own expressions of the environment.
Countless hours of walking on the beach have allowed me to deeply absorb all the color ingredients that I was infatuated with. The turquoise and blue hues of the ocean; the thousand greens of the hills, leaves and coconut trees; the browns of the trunks, drift woods, dry leaves and nuts; the red of the very young tree leaves, the golden sand, the pink, orange and violet of everything during the wondrous hours of sunrise and sunset etc.
I always came back charged to my studio, stoned by these colors. I would squeeze the oil color tubes, mix the colors I had just seen, apply them onto the canvas with passion, to create my daily Caribbean composition. My expressive brush strokes were influenced, among other things, by the wind, the trees, the waves, my mood and my aspirations.
I still use frequently the “salad making painting technique”. I’m far away from Las-Terrenas nowadays, but its natural color ingredients are still at the heart of my compositions.