Archive for February, 2008

The Days’ Offerings

February 27, 2008

photo-buy-mine-border.jpgThe title of a new painting and some smatterings of unrelated things of interest. First, about the painting called ” The Days’ Offerings ” in acrylic at 11″X14″ , and how it came to be. I was given this great photo ( I’m always on the lookout for period photos from the Caribbean and West Indies, and friends know to save them for me ) and knew it was something I wanted to paint.

Drawing to loosen your hand is a good way to unfreeze the mornings’ claw that you hope will produce something you’ll like looking at. So I thought to sketch the ladies on paper first instead of going right to drawing with willow on canvas. One of my favorite blogs by Debby Kasperi – Drawing the Mot Mot and yes, I’ll mention her again because her paintings and drawings are gorgeous, she shares lots of information and is very funny. Should call her the Wit-Wit. Anyway, she says she draws to warm up her hand for the day and draws what she calls Bananadoodles. Curious? You want to look at her site.

bw-sketch-border.jpgDrawing the same thing repeatedly gives me a familiarity with the subject. Then I wanted to see where lights and darks would go. That’s the quick sketch with colored pencils. By this time I was getting a sense of where I wanted these women to be standing in relation to each other.


please-buy-mine-border.jpgI picked somewhat brighter colors for this piece than I usually do since this time frame is more recent than the early to mid 1900’s era which is what I often paint. Clothing then was overbleached from the sun and salt with extended time spent outside. These clothes had to be brighter but still be faded from wear. The environment plays a rough game with you and your belongings here. I’m presenting this piece as well as several others in a fine art exhibit here on St. Croix on March 7, 2008 at Undercover Atrium in Gallows Bay;

What the heck draws me to this subject matter is curious to me. I see the strength of my grandmothers’ generation. I miss the foods my grandmothers both used to make every Sunday when we came for the day. Egg noodle dough spread on the kitchen table, sliced free hand down its’ length, dried on her chenille bedspread and later that afternoon plunked into boiling water. Everything tasted real. Food was honest and simple and generational. So when I go to a farmers’ market or road stand and see a jar of homemade guava spread, or gooseberry preserve, or chutney, I know I’m looking at more than a condiment. I’m looking at a quickly fading heritage and soon to be lost custom because no one has the time to do this anymore. I’m so glad some people still do.


This is what I’m talking about.

Let me amble on to another blog that I can’t keep away from. This is not an official tag. Mainly because this artist/writer/mother/animal lover could not possibly have one nano second extra in her life that isn’t accounted for in order to respond to another person. Maggie of Greywarenart writes hysterically funny chronicles of motherhood, animals, serious goal keeping and marketing and paints as well she writes. Seems not fair to the rest of us. Don’t hold out too long and when you have a look, bring your pajamas- you could be reading her posts all night. You’ll learn a lot too.


rainbow-house-border.jpgCaught this during a 100 second storm over Cane Bay that came in dramatically and then was gone.

The Calypso Dancer Begins to Emerge!

February 14, 2008

calypso-dancer-blog.jpg— Meet The Calypso Dancer, “16X20 ” Acrylic.

She’s the beneficiary of two new discoveries that have gotten her to this point so far. I’m still in the progression stages with her but she’s got enough presence to introduce on this site until I complete her, hopefully after this weekend’s Good Hope Art Show here on St. Croix, which I’m exhibiting in.

calypso-dancer-drawing-blog.jpg First, I sketched her, not on the canvas as I usually do, but in a sketchbook that I’ve promised myself I would use more often than I have.
Doing that first, gives me a sense of the planes of a face, lights, darks, shadows.
I like the process.
But here’s the big discovery. The thing that I absolutely LOVE and can’t believe I just found.
First, though, I must confess to having oil paint envy!
I’ve mentioned here on these pages that I don’t work with oils because of the humidity factor of living on St. Croix. Then there’s the fumes of turp and spirits that linger in a non air-conditioned environment.
Add to that, my mail order arsenal of accumulated Acrylic paints which I can’t replace without spending even more than I already have on supplies.
I love Dick Blick for mail order- they’re fast, professional, ship to the US Virgin Islands at low cost, and have a great catalogue and website.
But acrylics dry too fast. And if you choose to work with many layers of colors in sheer coats, your paints dry in seconds.
Here is my big discovery.
It’s called ” Sta-Wet Palette ” made by Masterson. It allows your acrylic paints to stay wet for days-even a week. Now I can treat my palette to the same range of paint subtleties and nuances that oils allow you to do. And you don’t waste paint.
I can’t say enough about this product or you’ll all zone out from reading this entry.
But have a look.
closed-palette.jpg It’s a 13 “X 17” plastic box with a snap tight lid ( think of Tupperwares’ seal ).

open-palette.jpg The bottom is lined with a spongy yellow pad that gets soaked and squeezed.

draped-palette-blog.jpg The special acrylic sheet that also gets pre-soaked and placed on top of the sponge.
That’s it! Paint stays wet just like happy, non-envious blobs of oils!
Painting The Calypso Dancer is actually fun for me now.

coco-spray-blog.jpg Speaking of fun, notice how much fun that coconut is having, tormenting Aberra at La Reine farmers market. Aberra grows and nurtures exotic fruits at his orchard on St Croix. Coconuts, cherimoya, wax jambu, egg fruit, Black Sapote, mango, and Shaddock ( sounds like a fish, looks like a grapefruit !). He will be at Ag Fair this weekend and so will I.