Painting Retreat in St. Kitts

In early February, I was fortunate to be in St. Kitts with 5 wonderful artists for a week long painting retreat. Everyday, we got up early, ate breakfast and then packed up our easels and paints to paint in a different location on the island. Sometimes we painted in two locations a day…exploring and creating works that remind us all of the fun and inspiration we experienced.

Plein aire painting is not easy. You arrive at a destination with gear in tow, scout a vantage point and place that you want to paint, find a comfortable spot in the shade, set up and go. For me, the pressure of deciding what to paint quickly was diminished by the beauty before our eyes, the island breezes and the comraderie amongst the artists. Some painted with acrylic, some oils and one, watercolor artist. We painted in Rosey Cameron’s art gallery in the capital square of Bassaterre, the Christophe Harbour Marina, at a private home on the beach in Turtle Bay, at a old salt mill turned into a hip resturant, at a world famous artist’s (Kate Spencer) home and studio on the northern end of the island. We took a boat to the sister island, Nevis to paint at Golden Rock, a hotel with beautiful arboretum and gardens. The group was dedicated to being productive as we were invited to show our results at a show at the end of the week at Dale Art Gallery at the marina. Dale had a lovely gallery opening for us on our last evening.

Not only being inspired by the beauty of this friendly island, I find that my work improves by painting what I see, the other artists way of working, the laughter and love between everyone in the group, and working quickly. Even when I get home, I find that my creativity has improved and new discoveries implemented.  Unfortunately, this year, I got the dreaded flu when I returned, so was very ill for nearly 3 weeks.

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This painting of the popular hot spot and resturant, Salt Plage sold at the gallery opening.bSalt Plage 16x12

24×12″ painted at Turtle BaybTurtle Bay

Painting in the courtyard at Golden Rock in Nevis.

Artist Retreat in St. Kitts and NeviscmGolden Rock Courtyard 12x12

The marina where we painted and also had the art show on our last evening.

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Some of the other paintings completed on the days painting at the marina, the capital and Kate’s studio:

Moonlit Bay 12x12Morning at Taxi Dock 24x12Palms in the Breeze 12x24Shutters at Roseys 18x14The Journal 20x16

Two similar paintings worked on within a few weeks allow for exploration

“Morning at Turtle Bay”  40×30′ was painted in a larger size from a similar painting that I did after visiting St. Kitts earlier in the year. (“Nevis in the Distance” See below). I had taken photos while painting on this idyllic beach. It was a windy day so the sailboats that would have been sailing that day came around the tip of the island to anchor and wait for the wind to die down. The first sailboat still had one sail up still while getting in position. There was a little dock and we swam in the shallow water. Paradise.

Of course on this second painting from my photograph, I changes a few things and tried to make the water reflect less wind in the cove. This painting will go on my wall at home.

Morning at Turtle Bay 40x30tropical decor

Then, after completing the larger 40×30″ scene, I wanted to explore the idea again to learn and be bolder with my new ideas. My husband remarked that he didn’t understand why I painted two of the same painting. I wanted to change the time of day like it was a summer evening with the moon lighting up the sky. I also wanted to try making the colors more brilliant and colorful.   These two new paintings really made me happy while painting it and I am assuming that the happy feeling transcends to whomever purchases the painting.

“Twilight Sail”  40×30″

Twilight Sail 40x30

Escape To The Coast

Nevis in the Distance is 24×30 was done earlier in the year and was my inspiration for the two new larger paintings.

Nevis in DIstance insp

“All You Need” is a smaller landscape 24×20″ and done from the same photos I shot while on that beautiful beach.

All you Need 24x20

“Sand Bank Bay”  24×24 is from a Str Kitts trip two years ago. Sand Bank Bay is on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island and near the most southernly points. Available for purchase.

Sand Bank Bay 24x24

Photo illustrations from the St Kitts trip

As I have been still inspired by the beauty of the tropical island of St. Kitts for weeks, I went over a few of my photos and enhanced them to reflect the stunning colors. Some of these did not require a lot of enhancements and some I went a bit wild. I usually use Photoshop and a few additional filters to achieve the effects you see here. Also I do like to add borders on some. Printed on archival art papers makes for a stunning display. Enjoy!

Turtle Bay was so inspiring

Turtle Bay is on the very southern tip of the island of St. Kitts. We were cordially invited to spend the day painting at a new friend’s home on the beach. The island of Nevis is visible in the distance. We swam and enjoyed some rum punches with the family and painted all day. The day got quite windy and the sailboats started coming around the island to anchor. The first boat still had one sail up while they anchored so I took some photos for reference that day. SO glad I did because I really liked the composition.

Again I started with a mixture of browns to sketch in the scene with brushed washes. When that dried, I was able to add some other tints for the basis of the design. I also added the little dock that was just outside of the shot but on other photographs.

In my work, I am trying to explore the feelings I have from an experience and inspiration so adding bright colors and more abstract tendencies work well. My paintings are more in the category of impressionism/expressionism.

Painting is available and would look great with beach decor.

Nevis in DIstance inspNevis in distance progression

Paintings that were completed since returning from the Artist Retreat

After returning from the wonderful week in St. Kitts, it took over two weeks to design a coffee table book of the journey. The last post had a slideshow of the final book design.

Then last weekend I finally was able to get into my studio to paint. I was still highly inspired form working with the thousand photos I shot. A few in particular I had set up with a painting in mind for later so I have been now printing my photos and painting from them. This one is a view from Kate Spencer’s kitchen window, on her plantation on the north end of the island.

Below are my references and some photos of the progression of how I mapped out and worked on the various layers. Starting with a brush and a mixture of raw umber,  burnt sienna and glazing medium…I painted the entire surface of the white canvas. I used creative license to change my layout before I started.

For more information on this painting, go to my website: http://www.linda-olsen.pixels.com

Kitchen Table view inspKitchen Window progress