Jimbilin/Carambola/Star fruit

SAM_1891

Oil on canvas, 24″ x 24″

Fun to paint, yummy to eat. What more to say?

SAM_1893

detail

SAM_1892

detail

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Pepper Shrimp #3

SAM_1798

Oil on canvas, 24″ x 24″

Take 3 for the Pepper Shrimp: a night in the fridge had these fellas ready for a final shot at being painted, but as there were only three shrimp to work from I quickly painted two on the plate and one beside it, and then took the two off the plate, put them beneath it and painted again. It was a ferocious painting session as once again the ants came in their swarms, and the sun I had them placed in for the light was moving towards the horizon quickly, changing the highlights and shadow shapes; I hadn’t much time to make the most of it being ‘live’. Before the session was over I took photos, and then continued with them over the next few days to finish what was started.

I thought that by placing the plate with these shrimp they would look more like food and less like little monsters. I hope it worked….This plate has a history. Being enamel and with a slightly convex base, it could spin, and when my girls were little  would take it in turns (after serious negotiations and occasional tears) to eat their dinner off, spinning it throughout the meal with great delight.

The brushwork became quite thick and suggestive on this piece, which I’m glad for, but it happened because I had to keep self-correcting as I wasn’t drawing it properly – I enjoyed seeing the paint build up in abstract layers, and like the surface of it now. Oil paint is so forgiving. No more little critters for now though. Something without legs and a head with antennae makes for a more pleasing subject…

Pepper Shrimp

SAM_1718

Oil on canvas, 8″ x 12″

I went on a cross- country journey last week, going the long way around from Kingston to Montego Bay, and so we passed through Middle Quarters, a junction deep in the heart of rural Jamaica. We pulled into the side of the road to decide which road to take, and were immediately flanked by a handful of women  who thrust bags of pepper shrimp in through the windows and demanded a sale. We happily complied, and they advised us on the best direction to take, and we parted ways, us with a bag of spicy river shrimp, a delicacy from that area alone, and they with a sale.

Delicious thought they are, they’re a bit messy to eat, especially in a car, so after enjoying one or two of them, my daughter put them in the igloo so their very pungent smell was contained, and so they would remain fresh enough for me to get them home…I had decided they’d make a great subject to study, and here is the result. This is one sitting, and the paint was wet and fluid so I had to stop. I think there are one or two little definitions to add and then they’re done. They are such lovely things, and their shells are so red, and their shapes so dramatic. And they taste amazing….

Jade Vine

"jade Vine", oil on canvas, 4' x 3'

“jade Vine”, oil on canvas, 4.5′ x 3′

So very happy to have gotten the chance to revisit this painting from last year! It hangs on the entrance wall of a beautiful villa in Round Hill, in natural light, with an amazing panoramic view of garden leading to the sea, lots of sky and light and dappling sunshine: absolutely perfect for this large painting! So good to see it again, and to take a photo of it, which I hadn’t done in it’s finished state. And the best thing of all was that the very lovely lady who now has it in her home spoke to me of how it went straight to her heart, and thereby gave me the invaluable lesson to paint only from my heart. Feeling really excited to enter the studio this morning!

Agapanthus Abandon…

Watercolor/mixed media, 30" x 22", Arches paper

Watercolor/mixed media, 30″ x 22″, Arches paper

Watercolor/mixed media, 30" x 22", Arches paper

Watercolor/mixed media, 30″ x 22″, Arches paper

Diptych

Diptych

Finally beginning to paint with abandon with watercolor! Feels good… Working from feeling and memory, but only after a lot of study, and a pile of rejects. Getting to know these flowers a little better….

To be framed and hung as a diptych.

Duncans Beach, Storm Approaching

oil on canvas,30" x 20"

oil on canvas, 30″ x 20″

Duncans is a rough beach: a few years ago I walked it, but was warned to be careful, and rightly. It’s remote enough, with few houses, and a fishing village that’s just a few dilapidated shacks. There’s poverty here, and the life of a fisherman must be precarious, with the seas overfished and the weather always a threat. I swam it too, on a day when the swell was choppy, but what I love about this place it the light. There’s a silvery ethereal quality to it, and you feel like you’re on the edge of the world…

Heliconia Heaven

 

Sexy Pink #1

Sexy Pink #1

I’ve been back in Jamaica for over a month, and only now is the dust settling…Hit the ground running, organizing and then teaching three all-morning classes, of which 3 very good weeks had passed, before coming down with the Chikungunya virus. It’s at epidemic level here in the capital, so now I’ve had it I’m immune and can continue with normal life by next week. It’ll be back to being really busy! The house was so quiet as I lay still, trying not to move as that virus makes you so pained-up! I got to read and sleep, and when I finally emerged the garden beckoned…

Before my retreat, the students were all working on learning how to see, and then draw and paint, negative shapes, and what better than the zany heliconias and bromeliads of our tropical clime as subjects? The most lovely drawings and studies were emerging, and so I had to have a crack at it myself. This one is watercolor and white gouache.

I still am amazed that such wild plants exist: living in Jamaica feels like Dr. Seuss’s Land of Sola-Selew…