Back to painting- Caribbean memories and unforgettable color

Caribbean Floral, 8 x 10" acrylic with palette, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2013

Caribbean Floral, 8 x 10″ acrylic with palette, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2013

Just sat down to write this post about tropical places when our coyotes of Colorado outside my house decided to serenade us with their group party noises. Now that’s a little contrast of cultures!

I finished my art quilt class work for the McCall’s Quilting magazine cruise of 2013 early this month and am just now getting back to my alternate life of painting. At first I just wanted to record a Caribbean color idea/palette, and then thought I might as well put it into a simple painting. Of course my paintings never seem so simple after all, but I did manage to finish this one in a little over a week working nights. Notice that although the painting seems very colorful and splashy, the palette is mostly full of toned hues and tints. Not a single primary color here, although one brighter blue comes closest, followed by a yellow I see in a corner of the piece. Another reason we never paint with colors right from the tube of paint… too far from nature so too jarring/unnatural. So mix, look and mix again. Put the daubs on your plain white page and keep mixing. This part of painting I love. Discovery. If you love color you will never tire of this simple part of the early painting.

Montego Bay on arriving in Jamaica aboard ship, January 2013

Montego Bay on arriving in Jamaica aboard ship, January 2013

My first ever view of a Caribbean island, Jamaica! My favorite early appreciation of this place was the mountainous feeling in the backgrounds. I’m no flatlander and it made me feel at home right from the start.

St. Peter’s Anglican Church   ~ The oldest public building in Falmouth

St. Peter’s Anglican Church ~ The oldest public building in Falmouth, Jamaica

There was something warm and precious about this stop on our brief tour in Jamaica. Our sweet guide you can see in the farthest back of this trio not only delivered proud facts and history of her country, but fielded all the goofy comments of the fun-loving folks on our bus from Arkansas and Texas who helped make our day a treat.



This little beach did not feel touristy, much more like family friendly. That’s why I liked it and wished we had discovered it early in the day, rather than right before we had to return to the ship!



The best beach on our little cruise tour, after two days at sea with teaching our quilting classes. We were ready for a break. Too bad we didn’t have time to just walk along the sand, but we did get to have a cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and a bit of banana bread, and see the town kids out on the town after school in their kid uniforms, relaxing and hanging out. Seemed like a sweet town to me.

Morning view at sea, before landing in Jamaica, moon so tiny above

Morning view at sea, before landing in Jamaica, moon so tiny above

I have to say, the best part of traveling on the high seas on a ship is the sea and sky views. Forget about all the fancy ship activities, this is the best experience. I will always remember my thoughts on the first day I saw a wonderful sea and sky view, and realized why people in history chose the sea life and became sailors and even explorers. Now I get it. Seeing the changing skies that happen so fast in the course of not just a day, but mere hours, make for a feeling of the love of nature that is hard to describe.

My take away questions for you:

Did you ever travel to a different state, province or country that shook up your world view? Maybe even affected your life or thoughts in a new way that changed your life?

However small or big in your life experience, I would sure love to hear about it.



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2 Responses to “Back to painting- Caribbean memories and unforgettable color”

  1. marla stefanelli Says:

    Hi Karen, I’ve been following you for the past month and I’m truly inspired. Not only because of your beautiful and fun work, but also by your energy. I’m just getting back into painting after a three year hiatus, and every time I see your work I want to go paint. Thank you. Regarding your above question, I visited Paris, France six years ago and it totally changed some of my visions of the world. I plan on going again this fall, but to the southern part, and hopefully will get to do some plein-aire painting. I think the biggest impression was how much our society in America wastes. There is so much more to life than having everything and lots of it. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work!


    • karen Says:

      Marla, I hope you get to the south of France to paint! What a dream! Good to hear you are getting back to painting, and I hope to see your work sometime. Bon chance!


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