‘Ms. Hanna’ by Sheldon Saint. Watercolor on paper.
‘Chile, I from Long Island’ by Sheldon Saint. Watercolor on paper.
‘Straw Bag’ by Sheldon Saint. Watercolor on paper.
Sheldon Saint is a master in depicting every-day Bahamian life. His quiet, intimate settings are recognizable to anyone in the Caribbean. His subjects seem immersed in what they are doing, unaware of their surroundings. “They look like they have arrested time for their own purpose”, says Saint. “You know that they are not part of an affluent class of people, so you may want to rescue them, or envy them.”
Born in 1971 in Freeport, Bahamas, Saint is a self-taught artist who has been painting professionally for the last 20 years. He paints in oil, watercolors, egg-tempera and conté.
‘Red Bucket II’ by Sheldon Saint. Watercolor on paper.
‘Conch Stand’ by Sheldon Saint. Watercolor on paper.
Simplicity, grace and dignity are the main themes of his work. “The colors I choose are not bold and often mimic the simple everyday life of my subjects”, says Saint. “My paintings remind us of the delicacy of our natural environment and how humankind co-mingles with it.”
Sheldon Saint has had several solo and group exhibitions in the Bahamas. His watercolors have been featured in magazines and in books. His work hangs in private collections in the Bahamas, the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, China and Trinidad and Tobago.
Franciso Oller (1833-1917) painted fruit like no one before him. The tone, composition or even the subjects of his still lives were nothing like the the bodegones of his time. No delicacy, no austerity, no pantry items, sometimes not even a slab, in fact to the Europeans buying the paintings very little was recognizable.
By Jorge Cuartas
Oller used his whole canvas to showcase local, exotic fruit to the maximum. His coconuts look like enormous, dangerous nuts; his soursops and pineapples look like they are alive and almost ready to pop off the canvas. There may have been nothing recognizable in the painting, but they sure captured the buyer’s fancies.
The importance of Fancisco Oller’s still lives are twofold. First of all it shows us how buyers of paintings at the end of the Spanish era viewed the Americas: it was still an exotic and unknown territory. But more important is that with his fruit impressions Oller captured the reality of Puerto Rican life and its tropical aspects. His realism set the standard for many painters who soon followed his style.
Paintings used in this article:
‘Higueras’ (ca 1912), Francisco Oller, oil on wood panel.
‘Naturaleza Muerta con Cocos‘ (ca 1893, Francisco Oller, oil on canvas.
‘Bodegón con Guanábanas’ (ca 1891), Francisco Oller, oil on linen
‘Bodegón con Piñas’ (ca 1912-1914), Francisco Oller.
‘Plátanos Amarillos’ (ca 1893), Francisco Oller, oil on wood panel.
Errol Allen (1960-2012) started painting at the age of 8 and is considered one of the main impressionists of Jamaica. His favorite medium was watercolors although he also used pastels, oils and acrylic. Characteristic of his paintings are the colorful pigments applied with heavy brush strokes. His art has been sold to the USA, Canada, England, Germany and Australia. Errol Allen is our featured artist for Throw Back Thursday.
Elvis Tromp is an Aruban painter who speaks with colors. Using oil or acrylic he has painted several Aruban landscapes since he was a child, but lately he has expanded into figurative and abstract art.
‘Haciendo Redo’ shows three women sitting down to gossip. Set against a powerful yellow background the painting captures a very recognizable activity around the Caribbean.
Tromp, who has led the art movement on his island for decades has an active page on Facebook, showing his latest works.
Nowadays he is generally regarded as one of the Caribbean’s first great painters. But in his time, Trinidad born Michel-Jean Cazabon (1813-1888) was appreciated more in Europe than in his country.
by Jorge Cuartas
Michel-Jean Cazabon came from a rather wealthy family of free colored immigrants from Martinique, who owned a sugar plantation. At the age of 24 he was sent to Paris to study medicine, where he decided to concentrate on painting.
Cazabon started painting under Paul Delaroche, a leading painter of that time in Paris. He soon became popular as a society painter of Trinidad scenery; and of portraits of planters and merchants of Port of Spain. It is due to his paintings that we have a fair view of Trinidad’s way of life in the 19th century.
His works include images of the Caroni river, the Port of Spain docks, sea views and other landscapes. He preferred using watercolors combining stunning pallets that remain fresh and bright to this day. Some of this most important works are part of the following collections:
‘Views of Trinidad’ (18 lithographs, 1851)
‘The Harris Collection’ (44 paintings, 1848-1854)
‘Album of Trinidad’ (18 lithographs, 1857)
In England and France his work was much admired and he won several awards and medals at exhibitions. His first exhibition was at the Salon du Louvre in 1839, followed by expositions every year from 1843 to 1847. Back at home his art was much less appreciated. Disillusioned with life he became a drunken eccentric.
After his death in 1888, Cazabon’s style gained more recognition in the region and his influence grew. Today he is considered to be one of the first great painters of the Caribbean. His work is appreciated for the rich details and for the use of light and shadow.
His scenes of a clean, natural and unspoiled Trinidad show a country as it was before the heavy industrialization of the twentieth century.To many Trinidadians the scenes are familiar, creating a tremendous sense of nostalgia.