It’s a mostly outdoor life in the Caribbean. With sun shining and bright blue skies, life in the caribbean is basically a very happy place to be, compared to the UK where it’s cold with dull grey skies.
Christmas is now behind us and my life as an artist is as busy as ever. I am working on a new piece, a nude, which is a little erotic, especially through the eyes of my postman Michael. With a beaming smile on his face he commented “She ready! Oh she very ready!” “She not ready” I say, “because it’s not finished but thought you’d like a glimpse at one of my unfinished pieces!”
Barbados is a religious Island and though painting nudes is more commonplace now, a few years ago when I had an exhibition in one of the main galleries I exhibited a piece titled ‘Unclothed Dignity’ and boy! did that attract the press. I was swamped by male reporters wanting to know the ins and outs of why I should paint two women in a friendly embrace. I think maybe the two women being in the nude was the reason for the press intrigue and questions. To me the painting was not sexual, but to them it was totally sexual. I got the feeling the press thought I didn’t like men and their enquiring minds provoked their line of questions towards the opposite sex. My partner thought we were going to be put behind bars with such a risqué painting, but instead I got great publicity and my exhibition was very well received.
Today, you often see nudes in Galleries around the Island. I suppose I may have started something there!
Apart from working hard in my studio I like to enjoy the social scene too. One of my favourite charites is the ‘Because of Jenna’ Trust for brain-injured children. Sir Cliff is also a very supportive contributor to the charity and often we bump into each other at various events.
I thank God that my gift as an artist has allowed me to raise considerable amounts of money for such deserving causes by donating numerous paintings for auction.
Animals too have always been a concern to me, and a need to make life a better place for them, Charities related to helping animals is very close to my heart.
I once owned a pack of Siberian Huskies and Samoyeds, and could never imagine my life without them, so I am a keen supporter of PETA and other animal rescue societies like ‘Hope Sanctuary’ in Barbados. The events are always well received and it always helps when there is a celebrity or two to support the charity. I had the pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with Simon Cowell who is the Patron of ‘Hope Sanctuary’ where much money was raised again this year to care for rescued animals.
One story I would like to share is the Story about a young bear named ‘Balou’ who, thankfully was rescued. He was a ‘Dancing Bear’ who had suffered endless cruelty to make him perform for the tourists in India. After much work from a group of dedicated people and money raised to pay off the owner of the bear, Balou was rescued and now lives in peace in a sanctuary with other rescued bears, along with kind humans that love and care for him. His suffering days are over, he rolls in a mud pit with sheer delight, paws high in the air, he wriggles to scratch his back any time he chooses. He has learnt over time to play with other young bears having gone through much the same as Balou, but though he will never forget he is now safe and is a very happy bear.
I felt rewarded for helping Balou to have a happier life though I know there is much more work to do to help many more animals , sick children, old people and the homeless, in this world. There is always much more to do, but so long as we keep trying and pull together, we can all make this a better world for humans and animals alike.