mel gibson, the patriot film, benjamin martin

Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) watches from his balcony in the evening as a battle unfolds nearby and the war gets closer to home.

The Patriot, a fictional 2000 American historical war film, depicts the story of Benjamin Martin, from rural York County, South Carolina, an American swept into the American Revolutionary War when his family is threatened.

Benjamin Martin is a man seeking to live his life in peace until revenge drives him to lead a cause after the life of an innocent family member is taken.

The musical score for The Patriot was composed by John Williams and was nominated for an Academy Award.

The Patriot received mildly favorable reviews from critics. Jamie Malanowski, writing in The New York Times, said The Patriot “will prove to many a satisfying way to spend a summer evening. It’s got big battles and wrenching hand-to-hand combat, a courageous but conflicted hero and a dastardly and totally guilt-free villain, thrills, tenderness, sorrow, rage and a little bit of kissing”.

The producers debated on whether Benjamin Martin would own slaves, ultimately deciding not to make him a slave owner. This decision received criticism from Spike Lee, who in a letter to The Hollywood Reporter accused the film’s portrayal of slavery as being “a complete whitewashing of history”. Mel Gibson himself remarked: “I think I would have made him a slave holder. Not to seems kind of a cop-out”.

- Excerpted from Wikipedia

In the movie Toy Story, Woody characterizes Buzz Lightyear’s flying demonstration as “falling with style”. Of course Buzz can’t fly, but he manages to fool himself and the other toys into believing he can actually take command of the air space, soar and direct his actions. Later on, poor Buzz Lightyear crashes with the realization he is “not a flying toy”.

There are many artists today, poorly trained in drawing, that are very good at “doodling with style”. Like Buzz, they impress others with their personal manner and often fool themselves into thinking they can draw well.

Drawing is a highly complex set of skills that are acquired through education, training, imitation and practice. Nowadays, many art schools don’t focus on drawing, preferring to deliver a more marketable art offering with an entertaining “creative” approach. It’s fun to play, and if we come up with visual pieces interesting in their unusualness, that is fine. Yet, there is a difference in the quality of an abstract or a highly “stylized” work of art done by an artist who can draw realistically and one who doesn’t.

I question sometimes if I’m really that good as I take myself to be or if I too use my personal traits as an excuse for bad drawing. Here are some portraits done with Ebony Jet Black pencil on multipurpose drawing / sketch paper. They are rendered using the traditional cross hatching technique of light and shadow.

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La Tempestad (the Tempest) from the series FLAMENCAS: Oli on 36" x 24" canvas

La Tempestad (The Tempest) from the series FLAMENCAS: Oli on 36″ x 24″ canvas

I’m proud to say that Puerto Rico is a truly beautiful island. It has a wide variety of flora and topography in just 100 by 35 miles of tropical paradise.

sanlorenzolandscapeThe mountain region of San Lorenzo in the central southeast is especially attractive for meditation and communion with nature.

That’s what I did yesterday with my yoga friends at a retreat organized by the Centro Yoga Devanand. I want to share with you some pictures and a pencil study of a panoramic view from the retreat center.

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The retreat center within its peaceful natural setting

The retreat center within its peaceful natural setting

Hiking uphill

Hiking uphill

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This flower reminds me of the flowing skirts of my Flamencas

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Head Study for FLAMENCAS by Ben Morales-Correa

Head Study for FLAMENCAS by Ben Morales-Correa

I’m on my fourth day of my fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. It is a great experience so far. I’m proud to say that I’ve raised $745, a surprise I must admit, because I’m not used to rush my way to success, so to speak.

As far as networking goes, it has also been productive. A former client called to congratulate me and asked me to design and publish his new website.  

I know there are a number of factors that make it possible for the support I’m getting to work on my Flamencas art exhibition project. First, the art work is good. Not that I want to brag about it. What I mean to say is that I’m devoting much effort to make each piece the best possible and unique within the context of the exhibition. The great Michelangelo once said that if people knew how much effort he has put into his creations, they wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all. That statement is very inspiring to me. It keeps me right on track. 

It’s not only a matter of creating art to the best of your abilities, though. One must have a firm conviction in the value of one’s own work to be able to communicate it to others. Sounds easy, but, really, it’s not. Fellow artists and all types of creative people know what I’m talking about. 

There is a scene in a movie, unfortunately I don’t recall its title, maybe some reader can tell me, in which two men, a creative guy and his friend sit on a park bench to have a conversation.  The friend says something along the line “You know what the trouble is with you people? You are like slugs, always wanting to leave a trail.”  

Funny but true. 

Please continue your support and may you have an awesome day.

http://igg.me/p/792202/twtr/7536935

FlamencaslogoIndiegogo

I have just started an Indiegogo fundraising campaign for my next solo art exhibition “Flamencas”.

This is all new to me.

The aim is of course to obtain enough funds to cover the expenses associated with an art show. These are, in summary, art supplies, framing and marketing.

Through crowdfunding, a large number of people can contribute small amounts of money, say from $5 to $50, which can add up.

I said that the aim is to obtain funds, but as is often the case, there are a lot of other benefits to derive from starting this Indiegogo campaign. I’m learning how to network in order to achieve my goal, and there is no better way to learn than on the go. Indiegogo itself gives some basic tips.

I’m writing this post on the second of my 47 day campaign. This is the time to introduce my fundraising project and do my part in sending people to my Indiegogo page. I included the link at the end of this article.

I have already started a personal email campaign reaching the people that know me. I’m doing this on a one by one basis, explaining the fundraising project and asking for their support. It’s only natural that I should start with friends, relatives and associates before I get funded by people I haven’t had the chance to meet yet. Which is another benefit of this Indiegogo campaign, the chance to meet new people and show them my artworks.

Right now, it’s crucial to get listed on a visible spot in the Indiegogo website. My project category is “Art” and I need “Flamencas” to be listed among the top projects. Of course I’m not there yet, I’m on second day after launch, but according to the Gogo Factor, an algorithm Indiegogo created to boost traffic, donations are a really big help.

If you’re reading this page, do consider making a donation. Even the smallest one counts for the Gogo Factor to make my fundraising project visible to a larger number of people interested in giving their support. Really, just $2 or $5 can make a difference.

Crowdfunding is not a handout. Contributions from $10 up allows me to reward your support with prints, original drawings and even paintings. 

Can I count on you in making my next art exhibition a reality?

Hopefully, I’ll soon be updating my posts with news on how the funds are adding up to meet the goal.

Here is the link I promised: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/792202/emal/7536935

Cheers,

Ben

cueva ventana, vista desde cueva ventana, arecibo, view from cueva ventana in puerto rico, eurydice, lyre of orpheus

Paisaje de Cueva Ventana con Eurídice abandonada por Orfeo transformado en Pájaro / Oil on 24″ x 30″ Canvas by Ben Morales-Correa

This landscape painting is inspired by the majestic view from Cueva Ventana, a natural cave in the north side of Puerto Rico, on the karso zone. In this part of the island, limestone is the main rock and, throughout the ages, the abundant water underneath as well as rain have sipped into the rock, forming numerous caves.

Cueva Ventana is Spanish for Window Cave, named because it offers a magnificent view of the valley of Arecibo with its river flowing across. According to Wikipedia, the Disney Channel original movie “Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie” was shot inside the cave and throughout the Island in 2009. Another movie based on “Treasure Island” was filmed here in 2011 and, recently, the 2013 film “Runner, Runner” starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, was filmed in the summer of 2012.

How wonderful would be to be able to soar high above this landscape, to be able to escape from earthly cares and feel absolutely free reveling in the beauty of nature. That is the concept of this landscape painting. 

I drew from the myth of Orpheus delivering his beloved Eurydice from Hades. Most people know the story which in summary tells how Eurydice was fatally bitten by a snake and how her husband Orpheus, filled with grief, entered the realm of Hades through a cave, tamed the monsters of Hell with the use of his lyre and his gift of music, and pleaded for the god of the underworld to allow her to return to the realm of the living. Orpheus almost succeeded in his attempt at delivering Eurydice, but once at the opening of the cave, he turned around to gaze on her face, and because Eurydice had not yet reached the daylight, vanished back into the underworld.

The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice has many interpretations, but I’m not depicting that story in my painting of the landscape of Cueva Ventana. In my visual narrative, Orpheus abandoned what is precious to him, his muse Eurydice and his lyre, and turned into a bird to freely soar high above the landscape. 

I can’t tell what made Orpheus leave Eurydice along with his lyre at Cueva Ventana. Perhaps it was a deep disillusionment, one of those painful moments we sometimes experience in which we question the reality of our beliefs and ideals. Eurydice lies there inert, and even the unplayed lyre is no longer of value without the master player.  Orpheus flies afar, transformed into a bird. A car is seen below crossing the bridge across the river, oblivious to what is happening at the window of the cave high above in the face of the cliff. There is a glimmer of hope in the sight of the protruding branches, a proof that life clings even to the most unhappy circumstances.

Flamencas, sol naciente, rising sun, female spanish dancer, flamenco

Flamencas: Sol Naciente / (Rising Sun) Oil on 48″ x 24″ Canvas

Last february, I attended a wonderful presentation of a company of female flamenco dancers and was awestruck by their physical beauty and the swirling bravura of their colorful skirts. Flamenco is a beautiful and highly developed art form of song and dance created by a people that has suffered marginalization in Europe for centuries, but has demonstrated strength and courage to survive. Believed to be of moorish origin from the south of Spain, Flamenco is regarded today as a cultural heritage for all humanity. Its popularity has spread to many countries, from Latin America to Japan, a dance originally from Spain which has crossed national and cultural boundaries. When I saw this company performing on a stage with a blank screen behind, I imagined them in an open landscape, at that moment a Spanish prairie of golden wheat with a few large trees sparsely scattered here and there.  Then I realized these dancers were from my own country, and I saw no discrepancies whatsoever in picturing them in a more local setting. That is when the idea of Flamencas was born.

For some time now, I’ve been looking for the opportunity to integrate the human figure and the landscape in a single painting. This kind of figurative art has been historically done, of course, as the human figure is of paramount importance in all artistic cultures, but none of the examples I’ve seen so far inspired me to get along that path. I’m aware of many contemporary pictures of young beautiful women or girls in shimmering clothing staring at the horizon from a beach or posing among flowers in a lush garden setting. The female nude in outdoor settings has also been conceived in many different ways, from the idealized chaste women of academic artists such as Bouguereau, to the avant garde depictions of Matisse, Cezanne and Picasso. In the past, artists could make these mostly meaningless and illogical compositions seem grand by ascribing to them intellectually sounding titles such as Venus or Diana, or presenting them as an allegory of spring or poetic subjects of sorts.

Flamencas challenges me to accept and overcome the difficulties of using my artistic resources and skills to create scenes in which I can render the anatomical structure of the human body in an infinite variety of expressive poses in a natural setting. I have deliberately downplayed the ethnic aspect of the flamenco dance in favor of a more transcendental concept:  the coalescence of the female figure and landscape in a unified composition in which the essence of womanhood is expressed by beauty, gesture and assertiveness, as manifested in their elegant poise and self-assurance. I may be tempted to say that Flamenco dancing is the only, but if not, one of the few forms of dancing in which the woman’s steps are not subjected or directed by her male companion. In Flamenco dancing, women dance as if they own their space. They can dance alone or in groups. The interaction between a female and male flamenco dancer is like a mating ritual in which both parts maintain an equal status. The woman has various resources at her disposal. She can tease the man with her fan, or confront him with the tapping of her shoes and castanets.  The gracious motion of the hands is one of the most beautiful attributes of flamenco dancing. It is believed that the term “flamenco” derives from the striking poses these dancers assume with their arms and hands that closely resembles the shapes and movement of that bird.

The principal motiv in Sol Naciente is the juxtaposition of the fan and the rising sun. The radiating shape of the open fan enhances the way in which the sun radiates light, while the light of the sun enhances the translucent beauty of the fan.

dancer painting, spanish dancer painting, female flamenco dancer, dancer with fan, gypsy dancer

Las Garzas – Oil on 36″ x 24″ canvas by Ben Morales-Correa

spanish flamenco female dancer

Qué Querrán los Hombres de las Mujeres / Oil on 36″ x 24″ by Ben Morales-Correa

spanish flamenco female dancer

Qué Querrán los Hombres de las Mujeres / Oil on 36″ x 24″ by Ben Morales-Correa