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

Island Art

This was the first painting I worked on when I finally got back into my studio at home. I must admit that working in my studio with air conditioning and music playing is my preference even though plein air does allow an artist to really see differently. Probably its best to do some of each.

I called this painting “Outside Inside Outside” because of the fact that I was looking from the outside of Kate’s kitchen window with the shutters opened, into the kitchen where lunch was being prepared and then out the north window at the palms on the other side. SO glorious how the tropical breeze blew right through the house. No bugs except some lizards and perfect weather. The orange metal roof and tropical flowers all around.

As you can see, I again started with the entire painting loosely brushed in with brown glazes and then other colors layered over the original brown textures. I liked how the browns peeked through between the wooden shingles.

If you haven’t already done so, please send my blog link to your friends. You never know if my Island Art would go perfectly in their home. I appreciate you.

Outside inspireWindow Outside prog

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