I recently received a very nice message from Alfred Faltiska about this painting, La Vida Breve:
After a year of presenting contemporary painters on my site, after Jeremy Lipking, Anna Kryukova, Simon Balyon and all the other masters I had the pleasure to get to know, I still think La Vida Breve is the most beautiful painting I saw.
No, I didn't pay him to write that! Alfred featured my work on his very interesting blog last year, and has continued to spotlight a huge variety of artists. Thank you Alfred, and you've inspired me to create a post about the picture.
In 2006 I was approached by a couple who live in a fabulous National Historic Registry house in Baltimore. They had seen my painting Zarzuela and wanted to commission something similar for a large wall in their dining room. We agreed on the approximate size and shape, and then I began thinking about subject and reference material. I ended up in contact with the great Spanish flamenco dancer, Bettina Castaño, and used a photograph of her as the basis for the composition; the tortured pose appealed to me, and evokes the tension and drama of flamenco music. I invented the twirling disintegrating dress, the fan, and also came up with the background and the whippy lines (masked). I kept hearing Manuel de Falla's "Spanish Dance No. 1" from La Vida Breve as I painted it, and knew that had to be the title. Translated, it means "life is short" or "a brief life, " and perfectly describes the fleeting moment I was trying to capture.
The painting was delivered about five months later. The image is 30" x 60" and framed measures 40" x 70." Even I was impressed when I finally saw it hanging, surrounded by objects collected by this adventurous couple on their world travels. They are great people, wonderful patrons, and I hope I'll get a chance to do something for them again.