Island Time: Bahamas Sketches and Paintings

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Just got back from a six-day painting workshop trip to Elbow Cay, one of the "out islands" in the Bahamas. The workshop was taught by Susan Abbott, a wonderful artist and teacher whose sketchbooking workshop I had taken last year at the Art League in Alexandria, VA. We stayed at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge, and spent hours each day ogling the Atlantic, painting the lovely pastel-colored houses en plein air, and just watching the fronds of palm trees sway back and forth. I went snorkeling at the coral reef just off the hotel's beach, rode a golf cart to Tahiti Beach at the other end of the island, and climbed up the stairs of the island's iconic mechanically operated lighthouse. While the food options were a bit limited (there are only a handful of restaurants on the island, and anything stocked in the small "grocery" stores has to be ferried in), the views and weather more than made up for it.

We started off with a few quick sketches as we took a walk through Hope Town:

A peek at the sea

Street shadows in Hope Town

Color study in Hope Town

Boats in Hope Town Harbour

Then I set up my easel on the beach and did this larger painting:

View of beach from the lodge

As I walked through town, I'd spotted a bright red shutter on the firehouse and decided to paint that:

Hope Town Fire & Rescue

Here's a quick sketch of the water as seen from a bench on a bluff overlooking the beach:

Beach view from the high bench

And here's an alley in town, sketched at twilight:

Hope Town alley

When we went to Tahiti Beach, we came upon a group of kiteboarders with their colorful equipment. I had to work fast to capture them:

Kiteboarders at Tahiti Beach

And here's a quick sketch of that beach:

Near Tahiti Beach

A color study of a wall in town:

Colorful wall in Hope Town

On our last day of painting, the weather wasn't very cooperative. I started this painting on the beach as the sun rose, but finished it under the hotel's awning as a torrential rain set in.

Cottage at Hope Town Harbour Lodge

We did a color study exercise; I worked on this while waiting for the paint on my other work to dry:

Poster-style color study

The rain eventually subsided, and we sat at the Harbor's Edge restaurant and painted after lunch. It's not quite clear what time of day it is in this painting, as I made the sky rather too dramatic!

A view of the lighthouse

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  1. You captured the warmth, which I wish we had up here!

  2. Hi Suma,

    I love how you got increasingly bolder with color and shape as the workshop progressed. It really shows in your last 4 paintings.



  3. Wow - beautiful work. A friend just sent me the link to Susan Abbots's work yesterday, so I was really interested to see this post. It sounds like a great time - and a good opportunity to do some great watercolors.

  4. thank u so much now i have an idea what will i draw for my next avtivity in school!!!