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August 2012

- At Pinto‘s -

Some places are simply institutions:Pinto’s pub (Tasca) was just such a place. I felt so at home here that I decided to paint this picture. It was clear that I would need to devote lots of time to it and make several trips back to it.

I started the painting in October and would only paint in the evenings after dinner. After making a sketch of the room, I simply had to capture the landlord, Pinto, as - after all - he was the centre of this little world. When I and everyone else were satisfied with his likeness, I painted his wife Yvonne and his son Nuno. During a short holiday in the spring, I added António, Tofá and my friend Juni and in summer I painted Pinto’s sister-in-law and the bearded José. José, the oldest person in the village, who came to Pinto’s every evening to talk, listen, watch television and drink his Copo de Vinho, was my last model. When the pub was empty, I painted the tables and the floor. When it was full, I painted the walls, the ceiling and everything else there was to see.

If I were asked which painting is my favourite, I would say this one because for the whole time I was painting, I sensed the positive ambience of the place and its people. A great atmosphere and lust for life. “It was great back then!” whoever knows Pinto’s pub will say wistfully, and Pinto’s blind eyes shine when he says: “My Tasca was the best pub here. Everyone enjoyed coming here, rich or poor, Portuguese or not. We all drank, talked – almost all night, everyone always enjoyed it.”

I thank life for this picture and am glad that it keeps the memory of this unique place alive.

 

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