With this painting I wanted to expand the repertoire of subjects and styles to a new area, still life. The traditional still life often features flowers or fruit, but I wanted to try something a bit different. When I was in Cuba, I had to sample the local culture. What could be more Cuban than Rum and a Cuban cigar? It’s no ordinary cigar, a genuine Cohiba bought from a reputable seller. In Cuba, many street vendors will try to sell fake Cuban cigars, but you should avoid these inferior products, and only buy the genuine article.
The table is from the Casa Particulares I stayed at in Havana. Usually I want to move to new accommodation every few days when traveling. The hospitality was so good there, that I stayed for each of the 3 times I was in Havana. Even the atmosphere was distinctly Cuban as I could hear the sounds of young people playing music, singing and dancing on other floors above. The ceiling was completely open so the room wasn’t filling up with cigar smoke. In 2014 the prospects for traveling in Cuba for US citizens were reasonably good, but since the Trump administration began things have regressed and old fears have returned.