|West End is one of the most inspirational places we have ever spent time in. I feel like I have stepped from reality into the pages of a novel, set in a funky little town, full of expats, beach bums, divers and odd characters of every sort. Throw in the recently arrived Spanish folks from the mainland, tourists from all over the world, and us, the boaters, among the oddest of them all, mix them in with the black and latino mix of locals and it's like we are living in Fantasyland.
Beauty surrounds and then are days when I don't even get off the boat, so content I am to write and read and fish and lately paint. When John and I wander through town, I always stop to chat with Ronald, aka Pollo, who paints beautiful pictures on the beach. He sells them to tourists and when I explained that I have no walls, and therefore could not buy his paintings but was painting myself and loved his pictures, he was more than happy to chat with me and share some tips. He didn't mind when I took pictures so I could study his technique at home. Not copy, mind you, because I want to have my own style, but to learn some basics. I didn't flourish in art class in school and always assumed I was hopeless.
One day John heard me mention that Georgian Bay made me want to paint for the first time in my life and he surprised me with a paint by numbers starter kit. Then in Chicago he bought me paints and brushes and a book and canvas paper which kept me happy for years. The white paint ran out in the Bahamas and we searched high and low and finally found some. Lately my paper has been dwindling and my painting have gotten smaller as I try to make it last.
I asked Ronald where he bought his paper and paints and he told me that he had to go to the mainland to buy them. Like so many things, they are not sold here. I spoke to another painter in Coxen's Hole last week and asked him where he bought his paints. I was shocked when he told me to turn right and go 3 houses down the road to the yellow house, which is a store. Many houses are combo house/stores down here. Alas, a big supply of acrylic paints and a great price. I was thrilled!
The search for paper began and we bought a few pieces of lightweight stuff here and there all over town to try but they are all too thin and curl up when painted on.
So I went back and asked the Coxen's Hole painter where he got his canvas and he laughed. I looked closely and noticed that all his paintings were painted on white material, probably old bedsheets, stretched over home made frames. So on the way home I picked through the garbage at a construction site, while John made like he didn't know me and found all kinds of perfect little pieces of wood. Next project, I guess is to make some frames and attach the paper that I bought around them or start searching through the little used stuff stores, like Goodwill back home, only WAY smaller, for old sheets.
I guarantee that the next guest we have come from civilization will be asked to please bring canvas paper so that I may continue to paint.
So here are some of my paintings, which I was to shy to post earlier but with very little encouragement, agreed to.
The first in the bunch are what I've done here in the last couple of weeks and the fish pictures are from our second trip to the Bahamas, when I was in a fish craze.
I've been called back to the Lighthouse and business as well as tips are picking up. It's hard work but enjoyable and a nice change. So there is never a dull moment, between working, writing, painting and all the other cool stuff we do like swimming, snorkelling, fishing, walking and dancing like fools with all the crazy people here. Yah, we fit RIGHT in.