I have just returned from a two week holiday on the beautiful Seychelles Islands. The first week was spent on the island of La Digue. We chose self-catering which is perhaps not the best option as groceries are very very expensive on the island.
The colours are an artist's dream - tropical plants in many shades of green, coconuts on the trees. They are a glowing orange. The sea has shades of blues and greens to challenge the most experienced painter. The light shining through the turqoise water on the breaking waves was stunning.
My first visit to an artist's studio was on La Digue. It had a thatched roof and was open on both sides of the area where the artist worked. She is an English lady called Barbara Jenson. She has been living on the island for the past 17 years and produces lively acrylics with bright colours. You can pay a virtual visit to her studio at www.BarbaraJensonStudio.com
The second studio I visited was the George Camille Gallery - a wonderful artist who is a great colourist and whose work sells very well. www.georgecammille.sc It is worth taking a look.
The next two artists were as different as two artists could be. Gerard Devoud has his gallery in a beautiful, colonial house with excellent hanging facilities. Huge, colourful works expensively framed tempted the would be buyer. I met the artist and he was excitable, an excellent salesman and totally enamoured with his work and himself. It was a lot of fun meeting him.
Not far down the road was a sign to the gallery of Mr. Donald. We rattled along a bumpy track in our rented car until we came to a broken down shack with a rusty old car chassis in the front garden. The little Creole man had one or two paintings on the wall, very simplistic and a sad attempt to copy the style of Devoud. His right hand was crippled with gout and we felt so sorry for him. We gave him a donation and said it was a in appreciation of his showing us his studio. We felt that helped him to maintain his pride.
It is a tough life trying to make a living out of art. Good marketing and a gallery that encourages and helps its artists like that of Jason Horejs at Xanadu is what all artists need. I am a coward when it comes to marketing myself and I know there are many artists out there who feel the same way.
My painting , 'My big fat Red Umbrella' which is on this blog was sold whilst I was away on holiday. What a lovely surprise it was. I now belong to an Art Association and we have exhibitions at various venues. There is a committee that does a great job with advertising and promoting these exhibitions so the 20% commission they take on sales is worth it to the artist.
I will scan a few of my sketches done on the Seychelles and put them on the blog within a day or two. Sketching was difficult as the heat and humidity made it possible only in the very early morning.
TIP It is well worth taking water colour sticks on holiday with you. Great way to pick up colour quickly. They are easy to store in a plastic zip bag. I also take brush pens in three sizes which I fill with water so no need to lug around a jar of water and a number of brushes. I do a lot of pen and wash in my sketch book so a good water-resistant pen like my sepia Rotrings are an essential part of my holiday sketching kit. I never use a pencil or a rubber as I like the challenge of not being able to rub out lines and get too precious about drawings. I prefer the odd mistake and the lively work that results.