“He piled in the bags and we started off up the street and out of the town. We passed some lovely gardens and had a good look back at the town, and then we were out in the country, green and rolling, and the road climbing all the time.” The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway 1926
I liked Hemingway early on. He was quick, accessible and macho. And plus it was cool to like Hemingway back in those days. Another trip of mine, I hitched to Florida to visit some friends. I ended up getting a job that took me to Suriname, South America to help photograph birds in the jungle. This seemed like a Hemingway trip and I took a stack of his books with me. In the jungle I read Hemingway by candlelight. When we made it back into town I read Hemingway in the hotel bar as I sipped my grappa. It was horrible but that’s what they were drinking in the books. And in case I was discovered by some Latin beauty, I wanted to be the authentic brooding American. No discovery, but I was tired of Hemingway by the time I got back to the states. I wrote my college advisor (one of the few people I was in touch with during those days), and complained that Hemingway was overrated – there really wasn’t that much there. I heard back from him at some point and he advised me to just give him some time, don’t give up on him yet.
Of course I returned to Hemingway. It was just a little brief, intense dust up from which I eventually realized the error of my ways. The Spanish scenes are colorful and amazing in this book and I wanted to create a simple color field type painting that would represent traveling (of course) into Spain that would mimic his efficient style of writing. It brings to my mind some of the outdoor color fields that Hockney is so incredible with. And now I’m definitely rethinking my one book per author rule. Well, I made the rules, I can change the rules…