Friday, February 10, 2017

Self Portrait, watercolor

Just above our rental here on Buckley Heights of Antigua is a large home of grey unstained wood. Its large veranda overlooks the island to the north and out to sea. This is the home of Jan Farara and her husband David.  I looked her up online and was impressed with her strong colorful acrylic paintings depicting island life. I gave her a call and she invited us up the same day to meet.

She grew up in England, sailed the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic to work in the Charter Sailing business of the Caribbean. Eventually she settled on this island, ran a restaurant for years and in the last decade or so has gone to art as a career.

Jan is an attractive woman in her seventh decade with the energy of a thirty year old. She is outgoing and generous.  Her husband, a gentle quiet man, David is a few years younger than Jan, as she often reminds us and seems dedicated to making Jan and her art become a success.

Jan sells most of her work to the 1% crowd that lives on the Jumby Bay Island,  a high end resort and villa  packed islet just off the north coast of Antigua.  As she says, "it's just chump change to them".
We've learned that many of these people are temporary as many of them are in exile from legal states. In fact financially people on this island are in a banking purgatory where they can't make many financial transactions due to the offshore gambling and money laundering that occurred here in the past and was shut down by the US government.  So often one will hear of a person who came to the island, invested or enticed others to invest and began a large scale project only to be stalled when they ended up in prison.  Unfortunately an far too common occurence.

But life goes on amongst us 99% and we enjoy life regardless of the mechanations of the economic elite.  Tonight we had a most wonderful time and fabulous food and wine on Jan and David's veranda. A rain storm passed over the island creating a double rainbow and

We had walked up to Jan and David's since it is literally just above our home.  Teddy the little white fluff ball of a dog like young cheerleader, all bouncy and bright greeted us at the door.  Yata entertained us with some songs while Jan sang a few as well. A bit later Carol and her husband Arthur joined us. They've had a winter home here for decades.  These Americans talk about what this island was like twenty eight years ago, how people still transported goods on donkeys and women carried baskets on their heads.  There were very few cars. On the other hand, this year alone has seen a 40% increase in the number of cars on the poor quality roads.   

Jan set a lovely table. 
The main entree was an amazing bowl of Seafood chowder. I picked Jan's brain to learn about her process after they mentioned a number of times how difficult and how much time it took to make the base.  Apparently they take the lobster carcass, pound it into pieces, oil it and roast it with onions and garlic. Then on the stove top cover the roast lobster with broth is, sherry, white wine wine, mirapoix and whatever and then simmered  with fish broth until it is quite concentrated and strong.    Strain it through a sieve squeezing out juices. This can be frozen for future use.
To make the chowder, simmer this concentrate with cream, fish broth, fried bacon, potatoes, mussels, sauted garlic and onion, brandy, salt and pepper. 

Jan served this fabulous dish with french bread. I contributed a salad and fresh baked coconut macaroons. 

I have finally broken my art slump and have been busy painting the last week.  Here area  a few examples:
Bougainvilla, acrylic and watercolor on paper

Bouganvilla and Fern, watercolor and acrylic on paper

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