Friday, 26 February 2010

Soundbite: Hey Shirley

Overheard, the bus driver on the phone to Shirley. Obviously.

Sketchbook: conch revisited

You'll notice that I took my previous sketch, conch, from Cayman Ladies' Art Society (CLAS, we have an acronym, now we need a logo) and decided to experiment with some painting. 

Apologies for the same composition, but this exercise was more about playing with different media. I really need to learn when to stop, as I'll naturally keep plying on the layers, but I enjoyed it all the same.
More pics of the individuals paintings on Flickr.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sketchbook: conch

Having met on Saturday morning for the inaugural Cayman Ladies' Art Society meeting I present the fruit of my first week's labours. It's a modern and bright change of pace for me, but I'm enjoying the hot pink on turquoise. (The second image is as art directed by PT, the traditionalist, who frankly hates the bright version.) What do you think?

Cayman Ladies' Art Society is an excuse to meet, eat, drink, gossip and draw, we currently comprise of three art and cake enthusiasts, an Australian,  a South African and a Brit. I hosted the event this week, so with a cloudy seven mile beach as our backdrop we diligently set about sketching, rendering and painting (and eating and drinking).

We have our first Society outing this week, which pleasantly coincides with my first piece of curating. I'm assistant curator to 'Beloved Isle Cayman', the latest art exhibition at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Who knows, maybe the Cayman Ladies' Art Society will feature in the next exhibition?!

Here's the flyer for this Wednesday's event, which I also designed, I'm looking forward to meeting the artists and seeing their vivid island inspired work in person.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Sketchbook: catboats

In a bid to conduct more island research and help with my potential new job, I've been learning about catboats and particularly those painted in Caymanian blue.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Super quick post here to say Happy Valentine's Day although you're all tucked up asleep in the UK now. Here's a heart-stone I found on the beach to adorn the dinner table, which lost me 10 points when the boy excitedly said "ooh heart shaped biscuits, what do you mean it's a stone? I got excited for a biscuit." But the meal was delicious, possibly the best we've had on the island. 10/10.

I made spaghetti and meatballs, all from scratch (except pasta), following the Hand To Mouth blog recipe, which is a food blog that you would be wise to follow. Much love. xxx

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Sketchbook: beached

Greetings from the island.

It's an overcast and choppy sea scene today, we had some early morning 'sun' bathing, during which I had to admire these holiday makers for their resilience, remarkably they weren't English but were bathing under grey clouds all the same.

We sampled a long and delicious lunch at an all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ for a birthday celebration, before moving onto cocktails at The Royal Palms. Not a bad way to spend your Saturday.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Sketchbook: all at sea

While sketching by the pool, I looked up and saw this pirate ship sail by. How surreal, when did that become a normal occurrence?! It certainly made me do a double take and scribble it down into my composition.

Now walk the plank and jump in to the pool me hearties. Arrrrrrrr.

Money, money, money

In my bid to educate you in the ways of the island, as cold and boring as it may sound today's lesson is money. The Cayman Islands have two things in abundance, banks and churches. I thought I'd show you the colour of money, it's kinda pretty right?

There are also $100, $50 and $5 notes, but I'm fresh out of those today. Everywhere on the island accepts both Cayman Dollars (KYD or CI as they're commonly abbreviated) and US Dollars, but you get a better rate if you use Cayman Dollars.

$25 - Golden - a map of The Cayman Islands on the back
$10 - Red/Purple - Cayman beach on the back
$1 - Blue - Angel fish on the back, which we've seen while snorkelling incidentally, they're really beautiful.

We save these Blue notes for the bus, which is $2 each way and they're not best pleased to break large notes. Although I do enjoy hearing the Caribbean tones of "Hey driverrrr, ya got change for a fif-tyyyyy" and the driver muttering under his breath.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Be as right as rain

The heavens just opened on Grand Cayman, I think she needed it, there was an oppressive air hanging today. Although we've been here over a month, we're still a long way from settled, there are still many, many obstacles to overcome but we're persevering, I wish some of this would get wrapped up so that we can get on with enjoying the island.

That isn't meant to sound heavy, but we're quickly learning the quirks of (trying) to get things done here, slowly, slowly, we're getting there. We're close to getting the jeep, which I'll certainly appreciate, the four miles walking in Cayman Sunshine to the airport only to find that it was a fruitless journey was somewhat irksome.

Still, after the rain, things are brighter now, maybe we just needed a good soak. I'll try to sound like less of a drip on my next post.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Sketchbook: Sunset at Plantana

I tried to capture the hazy colouring of sunset, as quickly as possible. I sketched this scene from the balcony as the sunset, scanned in the image and added the colouring on my computer while watching the lights and colours switch and swoop in front of me. It's a quick effort and by the end I was sat in near blackness but I enjoy working to a time restraint (not to mention the light restraint).

Sketchbook: Island flora

On my frequent wanders around 7MB (Seven Mile Beach), I keep noticing these architectural plants. They're between 4 and 8 feet tall and essentially look like great asparagus spears with bendy branches coming from them. I'm presuming these are in different states of flower, or they could be different varieties altogether.

Either way I think they make great shapes and I wanted to share my sketches of them. Any horticulturalists recognise them?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Observations on a small island #2

Introducing Sir Turtle, the man of the island, he adorns nearly everything here, so I thought I'd introduce him to you. I've been doing some research and it seems this was designed by Suzy Soto (the above is my sketch of her design) in 1963 and sold to the Department of Tourism in 1970 for the princely sum of $1 but despite this, the above design is only the 'unofficial' national logo. 

Cayman Bakery

As the adage goes, necessity is the mother of invention, which is why I've been nudged into baking my first ever bread loaf, and it wasn't half bad!

On this island you can either buy small sweet American style loaves, (why would you put sugar in bread? Bread is a savoury!) or stupidly expensive fresh bread, we're talking $6 for a small tin loaf, so keeping up the British desire for sandwiches I decided to give bread baking a go. Despite loving cake baking, I've avoided bread until now, but I'm pleased with the outcome.

Thanks to Ferg and Lorenza for bread advice, I made a really sticky mess of the kitchen but after several hours of rising and proving, here's the finished article. I followed this recipe with butter instead of oil, and I added a dish of water in the oven to make it a more humid baker's oven environment, a great tip from the hand-to-mouth blogger himself.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Plucky characters

I've met a few characters so far on this island, but so far I'm falling for the charms of the chickens. They seem to be a tourist favourite around George Town too. They strut all over this island, on the main roads, on the dirt tracks, even in the port town.

Against the bleached gritty paths their bright plumes really pop in the sunlight. I've never had pet chickens, but in the future I could be tempted, if these plucky characters are anything to go by.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Sea Shells

I've been painting some shells that I collected while snorkelling. The paintings are for our apartment, the decor when we moved in was pretty special to say the least. The colourful, beachy and tourist focused designs have their place but we had to take down the crazy metal coloured fish and I'm in charge of their replacements. So here's the first batch of shell studies.