BERMUDA RESIDENCY 2015
With my painting focus currently employing foliage and the depth of forestry, I spent the majority of my time in Bermuda looking for areas off the beaten track. Worlds apart from UK woodlands, tropical, and jungle-like, with more roots visible than trees and Bermuda Palmetto in place of Bracken. I spent a lot of time at Southlands. The 37-acre estate used to be privately owned and was clearly once extravagantly kept and landscaped into three tiers of botanical gardens. It has since become wild and overgrown and is now a National Park/Nature Reserve.
I wanted to make more than just sketches during the trip and so opted for something I could paint on a smaller scale to my usual large paintings. As well as something that I could take out to work on in situ if I wanted. and so having learned a little about making monotypes from Tamsin Relly only a few weeks ago, I took out with me watercolours to use on perspex, perhaps to print at a later date or even to leave as stained glass style panels. A completely different process for me to get my head around, the watercolours don’t take easily to the non-absorbent perspex surface but as I often like to have an amount of control taken away it became something to work with.
As I experimented I found to prefer working with the lack of control and so these first few panels are made up of marks which vary from having crisp focus to areas where the colours loosely pool. I concentrated on looking carefully while allowing the paint to be paint.
Southlands was conveniently close to where we were staying but I did want to see more of the island so I took off on my scooter in different directions on a few days. It’s not a huge island but there are so many spots, I didn’t go nearly everywhere I wanted to, nor manage to always stop long enough to do work. I took one afternoon to drive up to Clearwater where I mostly became distracted and hung out at Marlin’s beach bar with new friends discussing painting lighthouses, abstract art, and football. I managed also to check out Elbow beach, the Botanical Gardens, Par-La-Ville Park, a bit of Tom Moore’s Jungle and Somerset Long Beach Bay East Nature Reserve. I spent a fair amount of time just riding around on my scooter taking in the surroundings.
Gombeys, Clearwater beach
Painting at Somerset Long Beach Bay East Nature Reserve
Big Naked Gombeys, 2015, digital photograph, Alan C. Smith
One weekend G and I scootered up to Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, located within Bermuda’s Botanical Gardens. We saw two exhibitions: 2015 Charman Prize and Verdant a smaller solo exhibition with work by Paul Hardy Carter. [more photos]
Devil’s Isle for smoothies.
Ferry trip to and from Hamilton
On Robin’s boat
Thank you Robin for taking us out on your boat. Had the best time – love Somerset – your friends are lovely – the shrimp is tasty – boats rock.
Robin took us out of town and around all the places he grew up around in Somerset. We saw some the shipwreck and fed the fish crisps. Went to Dockyard. We had fish sandwiches, shrimp and swizzles from Woody’s – I can’t rave about this place enough.. actually that goes for the whole evening, everyone was so nice hanging out at the boat club and Country Squire bar. NL or NFL will stick with me esp.
Painting on the balcony before the hurricane
We had some real Bermudian weather including a hurricane in the first weekend which meant we bunked up for the whole of the day apart from one windy scooter ride up to the petrol station for supplies – which in hindsight was a bit idiotic considering I’d only just learned how to drive the thing. The later in the week we had a huge thunderstorm, with the whole sky lighting up electric blue.
Lightning from the balcony