When I came to Saint Lucia over a decade ago, I believed that this was the place to stimulate my artistic mind. Indeed, I believed that sooner or later I would run out of things to paint. Instead, I keep adding to my list day by day.
Art is certainly everywhere to the artistic eye here. The sunsets are very striking and vibrant. The land itself is full of colourful flora and fauna in a sea of greens. The sea itself beholds more of nature’s wonder to absorb the thoughts of any artist.
Perched on my dining table is a sunset painting with some trees I have just completed. While staring at the sun rising on the horizon, I am thinking of a name for the painting. All the while, cockerels are crowing around me. In fact, it was just two hours ago, in the darkness of the night that a local possum, the ‘manicou’, tried to grab a chicken to eat it while it was sleeping peacefully on the branch of a mango tree at the back of the house. It was the cockrel’s penetrating screeching that jolted me awake much too early. It flew down from the branch in a panic, and immediately flew up onto the roof of the house. All of a sudden, I heard a loud bang. It sounded as if the roof was about to collapse. Then, I heard the chicken sliding up and down the slippery galvanise in its effort to climb to the very top of the pitched roof to escape the possum. Suddenly, there was silence. The night became still again, as if you could hear a ball of cotton drop. The cockerel had found a safe place on the ridge of the roof to settle until now when the sun was rising.
As the twittering of the black birds break up the sound of the cockerels from time to time, I switch on the light. I start to write this piece. Then, through the French windows, I notice the calmness of the coconut trees in the gentle breeze as they tower above the lush landscape. It is then that I spot the silhouette of the island of St. Vincent on the horizon. (This is it in the above photograph). My mind is momentarily diverted back to the painting. I decide to call it Silhoutte just like the silhouette of the island, because the trees themselves are in a shadow against the backdrop of the sunset.
After a while, I decide that it is time for a cup of ginger tea. I turn the gas on and light it under the saucepan that already had my sliced pieces of ginger in it. Suddenly, the sun has arisen in its entirety. I can see a stripe of lemon yellow across the sky – grey blue clouds over the white and orange background. It will surely disappear by the time my tea boils. Ten minutes later, the colours are beginning to fade away and the silhouette of the island has already disappeared behind the clouds.
Daylight is upon me on this sunny early morning. I switch off the light to make use of the natural light that is shining through my window like a light bulb. I can see that the sea of greens are showing their face against the backdrop of the baby blue sky. I am thinking that I will start the drawing today of a young girl dancing while the violinist is playing his tune. Afterwards, I will do the painting of it. When I have done that, I will do a drawing of a group of folk dancers. I will be doing a painting of this drawing as well….. I can see the steam coming from the saucepan. It is time to drink my ginger tea so that I can begin to put my artistic thoughts into motion.
Hattie Barnard (15.03.20)