Beautifully Capturing What He Sees
Have you ever met someone who can paint a striking resemblance of a photo on canvas? That’s Daniel. I met Daniel about nine years ago. Back then, I’d walk through small towns in Cuba, take a Polaroid picture of a family, and give them the photo on the spot. It was a hit because many people didn’t have a way to take family pictures. My Polaroid also kept a digital image, so I had a copy
One day, I took a photo of a mother that touched my heart. I wanted to do something special for the mother, so I asked a pastor if there was an artist in town. He introduced me to Daniel. He started painting as a child, inspired by his father, who worked as an artist. As most kids do, Daniel painted when and what he wanted. As a young teenager, his family supported him in taking drawing classes. Then, Daniel’s father took him to Tiburcio Lorenzo Professional Academy of Plastic Arts in Pinar del Río to study with another student at the academy. At 14 years old, he took the entrance exam to the academy. In Cuba, you can’t just decide what career you want to pursue. You must pass an exam and be granted your desired vocation.
Shortly after taking the test, God revealed to his mother that Daniel would enter the academy even though receiving the results took a long time. So, when the judges provided their decision on the exam, it wasn’t a surprise to the family that he was accepted. God was already there, working in their lives from the very beginning.
Because Daniel was a gifted artist, he was allowed to study at the academy until he finished high school. Then, he was accepted into the National Academy of Fine Arts San Alejandro in Havana. We met after he had completed his studies. Daniel painted a portrait of the mother with her daughter and delivered it to her home as a surprise. Can you imagine her face when she saw the portrait for the first time? It makes me smile just thinking about it.
Daniel exhibits his art in galleries in Cuba and participates in exhibitions, but many are usually in his workshop at his home. In addition, he teaches plastic arts at a school for children with disabilities. He wants to encourage and support children with and without artistic talent through a Christian art education program, thus providing Christian values to children and young people.
Daniel’s talents are undeniable because he captures people beautifully. He doesn’t even need a photo and can create a portrait without one. Unfortunately, getting art supplies is probably the most challenging part of being an artist in Cuba. To help, Atulado brings him paint, brushes, and even canvases so he can continue sharing his talents with the world.
– Wayne S.