I am writing this post from the island of St. Thomas where I have been with my family for nearly two weeks. It will be tough to leave in a few days and go back to gray skies and slushy snow! I have been so inspired by the ‘local color’ I decided to share it with you.

The Caribbean has a complex, rich and varied history that is reflected in its art and architecture. The local colors are vibrant and reminiscent of the sun and sea. Although the West Indies have a torrid past, nowadays the word “Caribbean” evokes images of calm, turquoise blue waters and white sand sun-drenched beaches. The architecture is as alluring in its own right. Colorful buildings of sunset pinks, corals, yellows and soft blues are nestled into some of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world. The Caribbean islands offer a wealth of historical buildings reflecting its rich heritage of Spanish, French, British, Dutch and Creole colonial styles. All buildings have light, open and airy atmospheres with an abundance of tropical plants and flowers to remind you that you are in paradise!

Winslow Homer, John James Audubon and Camille Pisarro (born on St. Thomas) are some of the many famous artists to have been inspired by the Caribbean Islands.  Arts and crafts abound in its many forms of affordable jewelry, tapestries, ethnic crafts and music and occasionally fine art. Gallery St. Thomas, represents the islands’ best fine artists. The art is very affordable when compared to the galleries in the North West. Although I have seen a few nice oil paintings, I have noticed that watercolors are still in favor here in the islands -which of course is fitting.

I learned that I should change my palette up a bit for the gallery that represents me in Florida! Now, I will be using some Caribbean colors in my upcoming paintings for Florida. It is also interesting to note how different the palettes of Caribbean artists when compared to that of the palettes used in the North West.

My kids and I live in the mountains of Idaho where there is no cultural diversity, so coming to the Caribbean each year is a much needed eye-opening experience. It is a long trek, but well worth the effort. I have enjoyed using my little pochade box for small plein air studies. I have a plein air exhibition coming up in Idaho this summer. I will primarily paint our “local color” of the Idaho mountains, but I will spice-it-up a bit and throw in a few small painting from the Caribbean islands!

Yah Man!


You might like to read about Maui’s Dynamic Art Scene

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