Barrington Watson - Barry to his friends - is the most acknowledged modern Jamaican artist, mostly renowned for portraiture but also has some stunning landscapes. The Canadian Womens' Club (CWC) arranged an art tour on Sunday, February 26th, which included a private tour with docent at the Watson Retrospective (currently on view at the National Gallery until mid-April), followed by a visit to Mr. Watson's estate in St. Thomas, up in the hills inland from Yallahs.
It was a day to remember! There were only five of us from the CWC, me bringing Samar (9 years old) as she was staying with me for the weekend. Those who did not attend are, sadly, the poorer for it. I cannot imagine many repeats of this experience. Mr. Watson is 81 years old.
The tour at the National Gallery was most informative and very impressive. Our private tour with knowledgeable docent was very worthwhile. Could not take pictures as per gallery policy.
Then we drove to Orange Park, where Mr. Watson has lived for over 40 years, having converted the old overseears house into his residence on an old coffee plantation. "Orange" park refers to the glow at sunset. Mr. Watson and his wife, Dirleene, live there maintaining the beautiful property on the crest of the hills; though they have transferred title to Orange Park to the Jamaican government for public use as an art and nature centre after Mr. Watson's death.
Orange Park is in St. Thomas and about 45 minute drive inland from Yallahs on - even by Jamaican standards - a very narrow, crude, rack. Worth every minute.
After the tour of their home - every room! - we were treated to tea, coffee, lemonade, cheese and crackers, as we Barrington engaged us in delightful memories of his childhood and stories of being a young artist in Jamaica.
This, for me, was one of the most memorable days in Jamaica.
Erin Mc, Delphine, and Erin W. in Watson's living room.
We toured and went into every room of the 3 story house; and every wall was covered with art, including the kitchen and bathroom. This was my favourite, over the the sideboard in the dining room.
Dirleene Watson outside of dining room
Barrington relaxing with an afternoon read of a mystery novel, with portraits of his daughter behind him.
The view from the top floor of the home at Orange Park. A grey day, thought beautiful glimpse of the sea beyond . . .
Patio at Orange Park
Barrington signing prints that we had purchased earlier at the National Gallery.
Two of Barrington's sons are sculptors and he has many beautiful pieces of their work. This, 'The Hurdler' was my favourite, so delightfully and naturally posited in the window.
The patio, resplendent with flowers, with the his studio just beyond . . . note the white door, mostly covered by blooms on the left . . .
We had the great privilege of being invited into his studio and could view his works in progress. Understandably, we could not take pictures of unfinished works; though he did allow pictures of his studio. The tools of an artist . . . .
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Mr. Barrington Watson, a truly gifted artist at work . . . . .