Featured 18 Feb. 2013 in “Fine Art of Human Portraiture” group
Featured in “Artists Universe” 1/19/13
FEATURED in “Painters Universe” 12/23/12
This 4′ × 4′ painting, using standard (water base) house paint on the rough side of a piece of masonite board, reminds me that maybe now would be a good time to tell some more details about my youthful adventures during my two years in Montego Bay, Jamaica (from 1965 to 1967).
These awesome guys I painted back then may have been my “unconscious fear” looking around at me, since I’d gone down there to evade the US military draft. Immediately upon arrival in Montego Bay I found myself at Hillsview Guest House, run by an expat American woman Stacy Russell. She encouraged me to keep my head down and use only my first name of James in both introductions and to sign my paintings.
Stacy being from Greenwich Village and having dragged some of her art collection down to the Carribbean, including a Jackson Pollock (which is probably still lost down there having probably been painted over by some unknowing idjit) had an appreciation for art, including mine. She encouraged us to build a simple bamboo art gallery across from a small beautiful beach so with my paintings and help we could generate some income to help support me. She knew many local artists as well, and eventually her gallery represented over 60 artists.
This particular painting I found an old snap shot of recently before I packed everything up and moved without anything to Thailand in 2012. The photo was of it hanging on the swinging bamboo gate that we closed at night. It was a very old photo in very bad condition, so after some restoration work here is my best representation of it. The streaks of sunlight remain, and add an interest of their own that wasn’t part of the original.
I know I sold or gave it to a friend I made at the time who lived and worked in Kingston. This friend, Beric Hazzelhurst Howells, moved to Hong Kong in the 70’s and always kept in touch. In 1979 I traveled through Hong Kong and called on him, and he invited me to his home for dinner. I now remember my great surprise when I saw this painting of the “Three Amazing Guys” hanging in his dining room. He had several other of my paintings hanging around as well, and told me how much he admired my art… as well as friendship. I lost track of him during my mid 1990’s mid-life crisis!… and have no pics of any of the other works he had.
All of these stories of old maybe mere ramblings of an old fart artist who again has moved to the tropics, this time to a beach in Thailand… yet the old batch of bad quality pics, and this painting remind me of a bunch of other paintings I did back in my Jamaica days… many sold, others lost,… most with no record (other than my old decrepid memory! ;-)))
AND eventually I was drafted and sent to Viet Nam as a US ARMY Iinfintryman. Being a resourceful youngman, who was not supportive of the war, I got myself posted as a “Combat Artist”. The few paintings that I did do were not appreciated by the powers that were, they (the artwork) being too anti American. YET, I was likeable enough so was able to serve out my required year drinking beer and dodging meaningful responsibility and bullets. No art work from that experience left any record that I know of… sigh… yet I made it back healthy in body… and maybe even mind. Returned to teach art and build in Jamaica, as my other work shows.
This painting deserved this write up… hope you enjoyed the whole enchillada!