Colonial-era “Copper”

While enduring a stressful period in one of my other endeavors, it seemed a good time to work on what I hoped would be a peaceful landscape, a pretty picture. This was the result.

Copper - 2009

Copper - 2009

The object in the foreground is a colonial-era artifact known as a “copper”. These large iron containers were used to boil down the cane juice in the production of sugar during the sugar and slave-trade era in the Caribbean. So even this tranquil scene carries a mixed message from our past, and begs questions about the vestiges of that past that remain.

A Ripe Tomato from the Caribbean

This started out as a ripe tomato from the local organic farm. So sweet and delicious, it’s just a distant relative to what can be bought in the store.

It’s one of those tomatoes that, even when perfectly ripe, is still a mix of brick-red and green. It had delicate rings of tan scar tissue — maybe tomato stretch marks? — and a cleavage from the stem down the back side. Only a tomato, but I think that’s where its magic lies.

Ripe tomato - 2009

Ripe tomato - 2009

Giant Sucking Sound

Giant Sucking Sound

Giant Sucking Sound

It was Ross Perot who popularized the “giant sucking sound” phrase. Living on a Caribbean island we hear that sound sometimes. But in our case it is the sound of major off-island “investors” (a.k.a., developers) sucking the island dry of its fragile and scarce land resources — leaving behind a ruined landscape and a few low-paying service jobs, while removing the value of the precious land they have consumed.

While this is not true of all developers, the islands are hungry enough for more economic activity that our leadership too seldom dinstinguishes among them.

Buck Island View 2

Thanks to Jane Hunt for giving me the blogger’s lemonade award! Jane paints contemplative heavily-textured acrylic landscapes. Check out her blog!

lemonadeaward

Since I ‘ve just passed on a tag of another award, I will leave this one on countertop for a few days before sending it on to some worthy bloggers helpful to other artists.

Instead, for today, I’ll share a new view of Buck Island, visible from my studio window.

Buck Island View #2

Buck Island View #2

While the island itself plays a role anchoring the top of the frame, the inspiration came from the water and the many colors it takes on from the sand, coral, urchins, depth, sunlight and clouds. It is different every day.

Locked Out/In

Locked Out/In - 2009

Locked Out/In - 2009

The ambiguity of a locked door… Which side is out and which in? Am I locked out to protect what is in, or locked into my world. Or is what is on the other side locked out to protect and keep safe what is on this side? There must be something important behind that door, but I’m not sure I want to let it out… or to get in. Do you?

Carambola Still Life

Carambola - 2009

Carambola - 2009

The carambola, better known as “starfruit” in the continental US (and sometimes called “five-fingers” in Trinidad and other southern Caribbbean islands), is tart and juicy, and ranges in color from a greenish yellow to bright orange. You can pick them fresh from the tree here in St. Croix, and we have a beach resort and a golf course named for the carambola.

The color, distinctive shapes and shiny, almost leathery texture of three ripe orange fruits sitting on a dark marble slab caught my eye.

Guard Dog at Boiler Bay

I was working on a beach scene, when this little doggie popped into view. Well, I just couldn’t shoo him away, so I let him be the star!

Guard Dog at Boiler Bay - 2009

Guard Dog at Boiler Bay - 2009

Sometimes the unexpected can add a smile to the day.

Digital Art Goes Back to the Beach

Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge is located at the southwest corner of St. Croix. It is a spectacular sweep of sand beach and Caribbean-blue water, and an important nesting site for the ancient-looking and endnagered leatherback turtle.

Sandy Point Peel - 2009

Sandy Point Peel - 2009

The leatherbacks come ashore well after dark to lay their eggs, and the baby turtles emerge from the sand just after dusk about 60 days later. Whether in the brilliant mid-day light, at dusk or on a moonlit night, the stark shapes and brilliant color fields of Sandy point are stunning.

(Contact the St. Croix Environmental Association for information on guided turtle-watch tours.)

Mystery at the Water’s Edge

There is a story about zen master Shunryu Suzuki-roshi who was asked to summarize Buddhism in a single sentence. His answer was, “everything changes.” Where the sea brushes the shore is a place of constant change, and sometimes mystery – almost a metaphor for life.

Mystery at the Water's Edge - 2009

Mystery at the Water's Edge - 2009

This image was inspired by a spot along Davis Bay on St. Croix where the water had carved the sand into soft curves and mounds. That glowing green object held in the shadowed curve of sand emerged as I worked on this image. It had to be coaxed out into the open.

Haiti-haiti flower (Thespesia populnea)

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. *

Haiti-haiti flower - 2009

Haiti-haiti flower - 2009

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.

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