The abstract paintings in this series present the variety of colors on the southern Caribbean island of Grenada. This Windward Island is known as the "Spice Island". It produces one third of the world's supply of nutmeg along with quantities of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric and mace. Largely dependent on agriculture, the tiny nation of Grenada is earning a reputation as a holiday destination. We have enjoyed many year end celebrations there.
The island has white sand beaches and dense rainforests in its mountainous interior. The capital, Saint George's, was settled by the British in 1609. the current population of about one hundred thousand is descended from British, French, African and West Indian settlers. The capital is an attractive colonial town centered on a circular harbor, the Carenage, which is deep enough to accept
cruise ships. Stepping on to the enclosing hillsides are low masonry buildings with tile roofs. The gray forts on the heights have backdrops of thick green forest.
My paintings depict thirty five distinct colors to represent four visual environments: natural; nautical; structural; and background sky. The amount of color is proportional to that which is seen in our reference photographs. The greens in the natural environment vary from lightest 'Hibiscus' to darkest 'Yukon' shown as horizontal segments. The nautical environment, in diagonal segments, has cruise ship colors 'Chantilly Lace', 'Iron Mountain', 'Sky Cherry' and 'Blue Danube'. The low, whitewashed buildings, represented as vertical segments, have colors such as 'Ivory Tusk', 'Peach Parfait', 'Straw' and 'Acapulco Sand'. Terracotta tiled roofs of 'Persimmon Red', 'Buckland Blue' and 'Stokes Forest Green' are also vertical segments. Sky colors differ between paintings but, include 'Harbor Haze', 'Ballerina Pink', 'Light Salmon' and 'Pale Iris'. (Note: The paint names are from Benjamin Moore & Co.)
Abstract paintings often have no
recognizable features. The painting's organization may suggest an idea encapsulated within the composition. What came first for me, was respect for the island. What followed was a way to express that respect with creation and color. Sketching, drafting and model making were employed. The model, made from white cardboard, is a three dimensional illustration of my idea. Photographed under a single light source, the model reveals crisp shadows. A hollow cube with slatted sides of spaced horizontals and diagonals, the model's interior is a maze of spaced vertical panels of varying widths.
The model offers the basis for four, square abstract paiuntings. These compositions show the interweaving of the foreground segments, the complex interior and the diaphanous background elements. The colors of the parts vary according to the degree of light they receive: full, raking or shadowed. Color is the main attraction for the viewer. Perhaps, with closer scrutiny, the layering of the segments and their terminations will hint at their role in the composition. Of course, one hopes for the "aha" moment when recognition falls into place.
Malcolm Montague Davis