Like old love letters from a love-sick suitor
On a visit to my homeland in 2016, I had the pleasure of spending uninterrupted time in the quiet of the countryside. I was reacquainted with rustic wildlife and birds that I had long since forgotten. The sleepy days brought back such haunting memories that I found myself attempting to record the fast-changing scenery before it was all lost to time and the unrelenting changes that usually accompany it . Sadly, my efforts could only do faint justice to the memories I sought to capture. The images below are just faint echoes of some of those memories. They are like old love letters penned by the heart of a love-sick suitor. That notwithstanding, I employed some of my best strategies and techniques in my race against time to capture some of the essence of the birds, wild creatures and landscape of my homeland. Unfortunately, I had to improvise for some of the materials which were not readily available on the island. This lead to my producing substandard reconstituted paper, even though its overall impressions seemed satisfactorily to pass muster, if I say so myself.
Formatting the Scene
When I am touched by a scene, I may take photos of particular features of the scene and later try to reproduce it with the help of those pictures. Sometimes I do not realize how powerful the emotional impression of a certain place has been until days later. My reproductions then are based on emotional recall and such artworks tend to be heavily romanticized. In formatting scenes, as a self-taught artist, I find myself attempting to capture the essence of places I portray, not necessarily the exact features of the place. When confronted with a rocky landscape, for example, I am moved by the rockiness of the landscape rather than the placement of the lesser rocks themselves. After placing the major items that give a place its character, I then feel free to take unfettered artistic license with the painting or sculpture itself. As in the beach scene which I portrayed, I fashioned the rocks to express a sense of overwhelming substance at the vantage point of the scene. The water was so gorgeous that I was hard-pressed to render it any less inviting. As I took in the scene from the extremely rocky landscape, I felt that I had to attempt to capture the memory of this place before it disappeared into the fog of time, as had already happened to most of the places I visited. Along with a few well-composed photographs taken by a handy cell-phone, I set about to recreate the much-sought seascape which is the object of my sculpture. Though not an identical photographic representation, I have been able to recreate the overall impression of the rocky beach and the gorgeously turbulent water in my portrayal. My choice of sculpture in paper helped create the 3-dimentional sense of the marvelous landscape which leaves a lasting impression through actual contact. As an artist, I had to try my hand at recreating this beautifully haunting scene.
Images, art and artistic license
Creating physical reproductions and images without mechanical equipment always involve some level of artistic license. Usually, it requires much more artistic license than most persons may realize when viewing the completed artwork. It is quite fulfilling to see and hear the expressions of appreciation for the completed artwork, but the multitude of frustrations encountered during its creation are forever unforgettable. Unlike.a photographer, hell-bent on capturing the perfect shot for a photo, the painter or sculptor sometimes uses techniques available to a poet. There is a reason for the apparent imperfections in manual artwork as opposed to mechanical photography. Art requires an intense involvement of the emotions and heart. Fashioning a sculpture feels like writing poems from the heart. The sculptor has to walk a fine line between love and dissatisfaction. One wrongly-placed piece of material could trigger a burst of discontentment resulting in the artwork never seeing the light of day, or worse yet, its total destruction at the hands of the artist. Unlike a photographer who can throw a fearsome but nondestructive tantrum, a sculptor’s or painter’s tantrum is life-destroying. Unlike the photographer who can simply take up another angle to capture the image in question or reposition the lighting, the sculptor or painter has to capture the emotional stimulus of a particular scene, That’s why there is a similarity between sculpting, painting and writing love poems from the heart. All three intensely involve the heart. Thank God for artistic license!
My Gift To You
Bearing this in mind, I gave my best to capture the fast-disappearing essence of Trinidad before it may be too late. I feel privileged to have been able to attempt the reproduction of a few scenes from my homeland, as little as that may convey of the fast-fading beauty of a once proud land. Trinidad today may no longer be the “pearl” of the Caribbean. It may no longer be a land of proverbial “milk and honey” and boundless resources. Its people are now overburdened with the concerns of “modern” life and its manufactured conflicts. Walls surround its houses and cars crowd its streets, jousting with pedestrians for free right of passage. The forests are almost gone, fences have overtaken the once-free spaces and its rivers have fallen prey to man-made pollution. This land, which first nourished my dreams of life, may not be what it once was but still is able to shower its people with the gifts of Nature, bewildered and buffeted by imaginary progress. I hope my readers could feel as I did as I was once again reacquainted with latent memories. It was my intention to tickle the senses of all who view my artwork and create a little bit of longing in their hearts to experience the thrill of a modern-day Caribbean adventure. Despite the rampant stresses imposed on its people, the islands of the Caribbean region bring with them their own timeless magic. Enjoy the images presented here. They are gifts from my heart to yours.
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