Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Summer101: final Bowerbird sales

Not only is the show nearing it's end, but so is my time on island. I went to take down my artwork and found a lovely surprise, TWO of my paintings have sold in the last few days. There I was thinking the euphoria of selling my work was behind me when it snuck up on me again.

Enduring love on Seven Mile
My two wooden framed 'doodles' will find their new home in a Michiganian's Summer House, I'm told they thought my work was perfect for it and reasonably priced too. Score!

People Watching on Seven Mile Beach
Although I'm sad not to be able to keep them myself, I'm pleased that a little piece of Bowerbird will reach another home and nest. Sorry Mum, looks like that's two less paintings for your walls.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Sketchbook: concertina Plantana

As the days slowly evaporate I'm trying to make sure I have some record of my surroundings. A grey drizzly afternoon left me sat under the an awning in the garden sketching my home.

Plantana - we're are mostly obscured by the palm tree in this view, but I focussed on our block, we're the second floor and have the most divine view of Seven Mile Beach every day. I added Plantana's logo as I'm rather fond of it.

Hidden lounger - waiting for the rain to pass, I spied this reclusive lounger almost totally hidden by foliage.

I'm really partial to the chunky and simple furniture at Plantana, so lovely to draw, lots of clean lines too.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Seffer Studios

So I've been thinking about what souvenir artwork I'd like to buy before I leave this little island, I know I've created my own art and keepsakes but I've fallen for the charms of several local artists, including Mike and Renate Seffer. They've featured in a few of The Ritz-Carlton gallery shows and they're super talented.

Mike's high sheen resin-ed art is beautiful and unlike anything I've seen, while Renate's colour use blows me away. I'd love to own originals of both but I think a giclee print may have to suffice for now, but one day. One day. I took a trip out to Seffer Studios in West Bay and had a closer look at their art.

Neatly stacked Seffer work, the sheen of Mike's resin artwork can be seen in the left pieces.

 Four of Renate's colourful canvases - excuse the feet

A looser group of figures in this framed watery piece

 I love the colour and the organisation of this unit full of art

This is one of Renate's photos taken of her artwork in Full of Beans cafe for a show called Summer Daze, I'm particularly taken with the one on the right "96 degrees in the shade".

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sketchbook: concertina flowers

Two more pages from the concertina sketchbook, these pictures have come out a little yellow, the  Plantana planter is still a little wet in the pic too so the colours haven't fully shown. Both are acrylic and ink. The 'Table Flowers' image was inspired by Roland Richardson, an island painter from St. Martins whose amazing love of colour inspired me to get the paint out.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Sketchbook: concertina Plantana

More pages are starting to fill up in the concertina sketchbook, here are a few of my watercolour efforts around our condo, Plantana. I'm enjoying the 'wonkiness' of the furniture in these watercolour sketches.

Introducing: Loco

Say hello to Loco, he's exceptionally friendly and he's our Caymanian equivalent of Wilson, if you've seen Castaway you know what I mean.

While I was filling up my concertina sketchbook, I spotted this fellow and decided to enhance his features and adopt him, this way PT has some company after I leave the island. Well, say hello then.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Sketchbook: concertina beaches

Look at my amazing new sketchbook! It's a concertina design which looks like a regular sketchbook from the outside but stretches out accordion-style. I can't believe I haven't used it until now, I brought it out with me and test drove it last night at Barker's Beach while PT windsurfed.

Barker's Beach 1: towards Rum Point - pen and watercolour
Barker's blues 1 & 2 - watercolour, sand and pen
PT is lost / Barker's towards West Bay - watercolour and pen

In the above image, as you can tell from the title, PT got lost, the wind zoomed him up and away towards West Bay, he eventually abandoned his windsurf on the beach and we had to retrieve it with the jeep about half a mile further up the beach!

My sketches below, show PT battling the wind and the choppy waves until he disappeared from view, note the sketches which became a mere triangle, line and a dot (top of image), this was all I could make out of PT and his windsurf on the far horizon.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

A day in the life: Bowerbird

A day in the life: Bowerbird
A day in the life: Bowerbird by TheBowerBird featuring a red brooch
A floral Yumi dress, glasses, high bun and hair flowers. Bopping along to Amy Winehouse, sipping on smoothies and doodling, writing and flipping through Vogue. Not a bad first day of redundancy!

Full disclosure: I've just become hooked on Polyvore, a super east site that allows you to make moodboards in a snap. Here's a summery of my day, what I've worn, done and listened to. Also, the redundancy part, it's soooo quiet on island at the moment that I'm not working in The Gallery, just for now. Hopefully.

Rainy season is making me think of an English Autumn

Hello from my tiny island, although not as tiny as the sister islands I visited last weekend. We had a whirlwind tour of Little Cayman (airport) and Cayman Brac. It is truly incredible how those people live there, I for one already miss the shops of London town. Yes, call me materialistic, but I don't need to buy, just need to be around the new beautiful things. Sorry about that. This is Grand Cayman's East End, the rustic and idyllic end of our island. Pretty huh?

This week it's been very rainy, I feel for the tourists when it's like that, there's little else to do when it rains, this is very much an outdoor kind of place. All this precipitation has me thinking about England and the Autumnal weather I will return to in October/November and I must admit I'm pretty excited about it. Don't tell the boy!

I spotted a competition over at Zuneta, a great online beauty website who keep me informed of  seasonal make up changes, not that I ever do anything different, but I still like to know, you know? Anyway, the competition is to say how you'd spend £200 at Laura Ashley or Zuneta, so I got greedy and told them I'd spend £200 at each store, by creating the perfect Autumnal night in. I got a little carried away and created the mood-board above.

The perfect Autumnal night in, involves low lighting, a Malin & Goetz mojito candle, a rich Sjal face mask while painting my toes in Essie's 'little brown dress' and relaxing back on my Elsham Chunky Knit throw and cushions (they're called Vittorio and Henry) while re-reading one of my favourite books, The Time Traveler's Wife and nibbling on chocolate, watching the candle light flicker off those fabulous mirrors. Isn't that bird so Bowerbird?! There's still a few days to enter if you're up for it head over to Zuneta.

As I finish typing this, the sun is coming out and I can see the rainwater mistily evaporating, it's kind of beautiful in a OMG it's humid kind of way. I leave you with my favourite picture from our adventurous day in Cayman Brac last Saturday. I'm atop a rock looking out over The Bluff, a 140 foot sheer drop down to the ocean. It was a beautiful if fleeting moment and one I should remember when I next face a cold Autumnal day in London.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Summer101: gallery reshuffle and some **NEW** work-ish

It's been a little while since I last posted, and I have plenty of excuses but I don't think you want to hear them, instead I'm posting new pics (apologies for the graininess, I'm using my old ancient camera just to make sure I post SOMETHING today, better pics to follow).

We've had a pretty slow month for art sales in The Gallery, so I decided to try something new and frame some of my pen and ink illustrations to test the water with. These are cheaper than the paintings and have a crisp white matte and wooden frame, what do you think?
"Enduring Love on Seven Mile" "Reading at Smith's Cove" and "People Watching on Seven Mile Beach", all dip pen and ink on watercolour paper - hang top to bottom next to the existing paintings.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Summer101: second Bowerbird sale

Great news! Yesterday I sold my second painting to a lovely family who I'd hoped would buy it after they showed interest earlier in the week. The son and father of the family tried paddleboarding for the first time while staying at the Ritz-Carlton this week and wanted a memento of their holiday!

I was happy to oblige with this sale, and love that I could share the story behind the painting with them. It really is an honour meeting the people who will own your work, you get a glimpse into their lives and why they want your artwork in it - which so rarely happens in galleries.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Summer101: what's in a name?

Sometimes the name of a painting can be enough to sway a purchase, so I'm throwing this out to you, what should this painting be called? It's more traditional that my other pieces, but also more impressionist.

It's 12" x 9" mixed media on canvas, based on an image taken at dusk/twilight on Seven Mile Beach.

It's also better viewed from a distance. :-)

Any name with a hint of Cayman, Seven Mile or local spots also is favourable as a holiday memento, but I'm open to all suggestions. Answers in the Comments please.

Summer101: windsurfing

The trouble for PT is that I give with one hand and take with the other. For example, the painting of him learning his use his new windsurf I made for him, suddenly had to disappear from our walls and be 'loaned' to The Ritz-Carlton gallery. Above is "Windsurfing - try, try, try again".

I did however promise to create him a better, more PT-like version as an apology, which is his for keeps. For now. Image below is "Perseverance", can you spot the difference?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Swimming with turtles

Today PT and I swam with turtles, specifically green sea turtles, and it was amazing. We had our snorkel gear and we swam above, alongside and after them, if was like featuring in Finding Nemo. They are so graceful, streamlined and fast.

Since we've officially entered rainy season/hurricane season, the weekends are now having to be filled with rainy day activities. We decided to visit Boatswain's Beach in West Bay, locally known as the turtle farm.

The attraction is focused towards turtle conservation, but it's a sad truth that they also grown some of the turtles to sell for their meat, which hit the headlines earlier this year when the price of turtle meat soared. Irrespective of how it tastes (and I have no idea how it tastes) these creatures are beautiful and undeniably cute in baby form.
You're able to hold the baby turtles, by simply picking them up from their holding tanks (they're grouped by age and size), it's wonderful to view and touch these creatures, but it's even better seeing them in the water and swimming in their world.
Boatswain's Beach also has nature trails (which we couldn't complete due to the storm that came), a predator tank full of sharks, lagoons and a Caribbean aviary, where we saw parrots and wading birds. The bright red ibises are so beautiful as are the cheeky Cayman parrots which camouflage perfectly in their trees with tiny pink flowers.

Summer101: first Bowerbird sale

I arrived at the Ritz at midday and by 12:05 a gentleman arrived at my Gallery Information desk requesting a haggle on the price of a painting, "Ah well, that all depends on the artist and their generosity" I smiled back, "it's this one" he points. "Ahhh", I said, well "I'm up for a bit of haggling".
And 30seconds later I had a sale, my first sale in the gallery was also MY first sale. What a buzz! I had the privilege of meeting the couple who fell in love with the painting, something that few artists get to do, and give them a little more information about it.

Interestingly, after the 'sold plaque' went up, in exchange for the painting, a string of people proclaimed their sadness at the painting being sold, which was added bonus. I've now got the weekend to create a few more images, which hopefully will go to new homes soon. Watch this space.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Summer101: updated artwork and more doodles

"Ochre Urchin" has been updated and now has a bright blue background, which I think works better.
10" x 10" mixed media on canvas.

Here's a new addition, "Enduring Love" is based on a sketch I did early on in my days in Grand Cayman, a lovely old couple holding hands in the sea. 11" x 14" mixed media on canvas.

I recreated the paddle-board sketch on this 14" x 11" canvas, since PT has taken a shine to the original one I made. I'm hoping the Ritz-Carlton guests will also take a shine to this piece, which goes into the gallery this week.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Sketchbook: Barker's Beach

After a weekend on the deserted beaches of Barker's National Park, deserted bar the pony treks of course, here's a sketch of PT (thankfully) returning to the shore after zipping away on a very choppy sea and gusty breeze.

We're both sandblasted, salt-licked and in need of some shade now.

The horseman appeared from under the sea-grape trees in the far left, so they were a swift addition to the image.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Summer101: work in progress

Here are three of the pieces I'm working on for the upcoming show at the Ritz. You'll recognise 'Nurse Leila's Garden' the other two are 'Ochre Urchin' and 'Paddle Boarding 101' they are on 10" x 10" canvases and are looking for good homes if you happen to be passing the show.

P.S excuse the feet.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Coming soon: Bowerbird in the Ritz-Carlton gallery

Here's the latest draft of the flyer I've made for the show, and look, my image 'Nurse Leila's Garden' is the main poster image, I'm classed as one of the "New Artists" and I'm very excited about it. Watch this space for featured artwork.

P.S. That's a font I designed last year for a certain international razor company, the font is called "Smooth legs" and I thought it worked well for the flyer, what do you think, Summery?

Spring break - I'm back!

So much to say, so little time, I left the island to attain a work permit, and now I'm back and raring to go. Trying to make the most of the time I have on the island. Above is a painting (Chicken!Chicken!), named after a local restaurant and is a leaving present for my good friend Tammy, who returned to England this week.

Say hello to London for me Tammy. I'll be back to posting here and documenting our time on island. More soon.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

2010: The unnamed writer by Elise Valmorbida

Here is a mind
caught in the elision
between personal, political.

Here is a nib
charged with invisible ink
that under iron heat
turns blood-brown.

Here is a silence.

(Death happens in brackets)
but still you can hear
the bell of the voice,
chiming, tolling,
the scratching of the pen.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Make your own sunshine

Having left the land of perpetual sunshine and perfect sea scenes for a month in the UK, you may think I am missing the Caribbean idyll, and I am don't get me wrong, but being away from paradise makes you quite reflective.

On my English holiday I was chomping at the bit to shop, shop, shop! Grand Cayman had stifled my shopping desire with sky high prices and poor choice but me, oh my; the Spring/Summer collection on the streets of London are just beautiful and special mention must go to Banana Republic. The grown up big sister of Gap, Banana Republic sits in the mid-range, well tailored end of the high street.

My first encounter with the brand, was a heavenly one, with a plentiful staff force of fashion conscious, polite, engaging and frankly charming style advisors. A far cry from a surly, too-cool-for-school, Saturday girl work ethic demonstrated by some of the high street. The Covent Garden branch has only been open a week, but if the Spring English sunshine doesn't last beyond the weekend, how about visiting Banana Republic and as their campaign suggests make your own sunshine or at least let their staff do so. I'm still smiling over the whole experience, that and the gorgeous clothes I bought - I just need the Grand Cayman backdrop to show them off!

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Sketchbook: waiting rooms

I have spent seemingly endless hours in waiting rooms while I've been on this island; long, tedious hours in dull, tedious rooms. I decided to start keeping some notes and sketches, goodness knows I had the time to make them. I tried to see the charm and simplicity in a mass produced chair in a nondescript room. Here are two such examples.

Sketchbook: Smith's Cove

After a lovely chilled out birthday day, Jem and I spent the afternoon at Smith's cove, sketching the jumpers. Smith's Cove is a public beach and is most often used as the backdrop for beach weddings and snorkelers, since it has a reef just metres from the beach.