Posted on February 12, 2009
Fort Christiansvaern in Christiansted, St. Croix, is a relic of the long Caribbean history of plantations, sugar and slavery. One version of a part of that history is told in Buddhoe by Patricia Gill.
With its many planes, curves and layers, the fort is a photogenic landmark that lends itself to multiple interpretations. This is one of several new images that I am adding to my series on the old fort. See the earlier interpretations on my portfolio website. I’ll be adding this and other new images there soon.
In this view the American flag flies high and prominently over the reminder of the past. Perhaps we are proud of the fort’s history, or perhaps proud that we have risen above it. Or perhaps the flag just marks the fort as a symbol and claim of our nation’s “ownership” of the island. What do you think?
Posted on February 5, 2009
This is the beautiful flower of a common beachside bush (Thespesia populnea) called the haiti-haiti tree here on St. Croix, also known as seaside mahoe, portia tree, and often mistakenly called beach hibiscus. *
Despite the common name sometimes used, the beach hibiscus is actually a different plant (Hibiscus tiliaceus). Still, the flower does look hibiscus-like. I was attracted by the filmy, creamy translucence of the off-white petals when the flower is fully opened.
While the short-lived flowers are beautiful, the tree itself is scrubby with multiple woody stems. Invasive and salt-tolerant, it can quickly dominate a shoreline. The fruits or seedpods are a favorite of the local bright red love bugs, one of which is featured in my gravatar. More on those guys later!
*Thanks to Carol Cramer-Burke at the St. Croix Environmental Association for pointing me in the right direction on the facts here.
Posted on February 3, 2009
This rusty barstool has been down at the beach the last few months. It was joined a few days ago by a white plastic garbage bag.
The salt has eaten away at the chair’s metal frame, almost the same way termites eat away at deadwood, returning it to the soil. This scene of decay told of good times past, evidence of someone passing through this way.
There was a hint of a rainbow in the eastern sky. I wonder now, was that white bag the pot of gold?
Posted on January 30, 2009
Despite the best clean-up efforts of groups like the St. Croix Environmental Association, the shorelines here on St. Croix are sometimes littered with debris – mostly plastic. Some is left behind by careless beachgoers, but far more is deposited from the ocean itself.
That beautiful blue Caribbean Sea, an apparently limitless resource, is in fact full of garbage that drifts ashore. I think that sad fact was on my mind as I began this image.
This rocky shore had interest, but needed a spark to bring it to life. After some work, the rusty metal parts in another photo became the green shield tucked under the most interesting of the rocks.
As the image developed, it became darker and almost macabre — not something I had intended in the beginning. In fact, looking at it now, the feelings evoked are almost a surprise. Strange.
Posted on January 26, 2009
Maintaining an art blog requires some work. So why do it?
Two somewhat unexpected benefits I’ve already learned:
• Developing a post forces me to think about my work and articulate those thoughts.
• Posting a new image encourages me to make sure it is the best it can be.
And two that I’ve read about:
• A blog is a way to expand the audience for new work, and helps create a web presence.
• A blog can create opportunities to receive advice, praise and criticism from other artists, and just enjoy the interaction with others who have similar interests.
We’ll see about those…
So just what is that little creature?
Posted on January 18, 2009
One of the visually stunning aspects of living on St. Croix is the nearly constant view of the ocean and the shoreline. The colors and textures of the transition from land to water inspired this image.
This was sold at a benefit show for Haiti Community Support, a local non-profit dedicated to helping a small Haitian community. It has also led to the beginning of a “shoreline” series.
It would be easy, working with the color fields of ocean and beach, to venture off into purely decorative abstraction. I like to think “Buck Island View” is enhanced by the natural elements in it that help ground the image and evoke some of the wonder that the sea is due.
I enjoy producing images that are a pleasure to look at. But it is also important to me for a piece to have some meaning beyond pure decoration. Balancing these elements is one of the things that makes the artistic endeavor endlessly challenging and exciting.