Monday, June 28, 2010

Palletteers Paint at the Nealon's

The inclement weather did nothing to dampen our spirits when we painted at the rain forest home of Jim and Gail Nealon Friday morning. At the Nealon's gate we were greeted by Petey the peacock. Alas, though we heard his calls at various times during rest of the morning, that was the last we saw of him, so our visions of peacock portraits never materialized. Despite the darkening sky, a few of us decided to set up outside... not, we soon discovered, a wise move. Slower than the others to take cover, I received a thorough soaking from the gusting torrents.. (luckily, I'd packed another shirt). The skies cleared, so, determined to get my painting done, I set my stuff up again and had barely gotten some paint on my canvas when the rains came again! No, I didn't set up a third time and good thing I didn't because the rains continued to revisit us sporadically all morning. Fortunately, I was the only affected by the weather. I was glad to be able to have some time to visit with our hostess, Gail, and annoy the rest of the group, too. We had an interesting show and tell after which we caravanned Creque Dam Road West and went to Polly's for lunch. Ginger

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Palletteers Paint at Botanical Gardens

The weather forecast was not encouraging: 80% chance of thunderstorms with a tropical wave moving through. Flash flood warnings had also been posted. An hour before it was time to leave, this was the scene from my patio.. and it was repeated as far as I could see. A few minutes later, torrential rains poured down on St. Croix. Not a good prognosis for our morning plans to paint at the St. George Village Botanical Garden.The day was much brighter, though not by much, by the time I arrived at the Botanical Gardens.Elwin drove up a few minutes later and we took a walk around the property together, trying to decide what we wanted to paint: the main building, with it's vivid red-orange roof, one of the gorgeous flowering orchids in the orchid house, the cascading blossoms on the Golden Shower tree, some of the historical ruins, the bridge, the lobster claw, or one of the myriad other botanicals abounding on the property? Do we paint under a roof or take a chance and paint in the open? By the time Elwin and I made our decisions, Sondra, Kerri, Marilyn, Chris, Barbara, and Jane had arrived.

I'd set up under the giant kapok tree near the Great Room of the main building and a light drizzle interrupted my work twice, forcing me to pack up my palette and protect my painting. Fortunately, the rains were short-lived and quickly followed by clear skies. It was only when we gathered at noon and looked around for the rest of our group that we realized that there were only four of us left! Though our numbers were small, we still had a great "Show and Tell." We joked about giving ourselves another name: the Diehards, the Final Four...??? We're open to suggestions:^)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Palletteers at Sondra's

Quite a few people showed up to paint at Sondra's Green Cay home Friday morning, surprising since the Palletteers are often scattered across the world on their own holidays during these hotter months. We were so pleased to finally meet the Porters, Marvin and Shirley, who now reside in Pennsylvania but were active members of the Palletteers back in the latter half of the 90's. Jenn and Carolyn stopped by to say "hello" too. You might be able to tell that several of us experimented with our paintings, seeking variety and improvement in our artwork. Alma continued exploring a combination of working with watercolor and palette knife techniques, Brenda painted in pastels, Margaret worked on a quilt-like pattern, Kate produced one of her hidden image watercolors, and I tried out a trans-red oxide undercoat to lay in my values. It's always interesting to see the differences in paintings of essentially the same views: different techniques, different styles, all distinctive and lovely, eh? While we painted and later at lunch, Sondra, Marv and Shirley entertained the rest of us with tales of the group's early days. It's always so interesting to have returnees join us and we love painting at Sondra's!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Palletteers Paint at Creque Dam Farm (VISFI)

As I drove along Creque Dam Road with directions to the farm on the seat next to me, I wondered more than once if I'd missed a turn or gone the wrong way. Just about the time when I thought seriously about turning around and going back, the sign for Creque Dam Farm appeared to my left! We were greeted by Shelly, who took us on a short walking tour around the nearby parts of the property. Bananas, loofah and passionfruit vines, pineapple plants, medicinal and gorgeous flowering bushes...Wow! It was impressive and beautiful!

We were captivated by chief rooster Pablo, who proudly strutted his stuff while we snapped his picture!He even managed to get himself into one of the paintings! What a ham!

While some picked subjects around the community center to paint, a few of us took the self-tour maps and drove out to the tree house which was the original community center for the farm. Of course, the treehouse brought out the "child" in a few of us! Those who stayed to paint did so amidst the trailing vines from the overhanging treeline.

We loved Shelly's palm frond hat and Nate told us that he'd had the hatmaker, Tony, at the farm to give lessons in his weaving technique. We asked him to try to have Tony back again so that we could learn how to make them too! Nate also told us a little about the camp where he'd been working for the past 8 years. The mission of the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute is "to provide a working educational farm enterprise that integrates sustainability in education, environment, and community through quality instruction in Agroecology and related fields." It encompasses about 200 acres of lush land near Frederiksted off Creque Dam road and is getting much publicity as a premier Virgin Islands eco-tourism site. It was recenlty rated “Top 25 New Favorites in the Caribbean” by ISLANDS Magazine! Their plans for the immediate future involve having summer camp (ages 12-16; June 28th-July 30) and a Permaculture Design Course (August 8-22) soon! You can find out more about them from their website We had a unique experience there and will definitely be returning!