Beach at Biras Creek Resort, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

As a friend once described the Caribbean: "The water is so crystal clear, you almost want to drink it." She meant in a metaphorical sense, of course. The combination of tropical heat and sparkling aquamarine water creates a longing- like being thirsty- to dive right in, immerse oneself, become one with the water.

I'm experiencing a different thirst at the moment, longing for new input, something to stir creativity. I've been working on several gouaches for over a week now, and most of them aren't coming together the way I'd envisioned. Ideally, when experiencing creative block, I'd pop into a gallery or museum, look at public art...I might take a road trip, see someplace new. Attend a lecture or workshop. Pick up some new materials to try. I miss all that. The thirst isn't being quenched.

In life, without always realizing it, we trade one lovely thing for another. In everything we do, there is a compromise. When I came to the Caribbean, I traded easy access to all things art, for nature and quiet simple living. (It's not always so quiet or simple, but hey, that's life anywhere.) Sometimes the environment alone- just being in constant touch with nature- quenches my creative thirst, and sometimes it doesn't. After twelve years of small-island life, I'm ready for a change.

My husband and I are now able to make our plans to relocate. By summer, we should be living in Charleston, South Carolina. From my research, this beautiful, old but vibrant city, appears to be a great supporter of the arts. There is a developing, more progressive visual art scene springing forth, which seems promising for this contemporary artist. I'm eager to explore the area, meet locals, get involved in the arts community, build my career. I'm ready for complete immersion. Talk about finding ways to quench that creative thirst!

Once there, I'll be eager to set up the studio and get to work on encaustics- a brand new medium for me. Depending on our housing set-up, I may be looking for commercial studio space (instead of working from home). And if anyone has art connections in Charleston, I'd like to hear about it.


polka dot said...

I stumbled on this - it's nearly midnight here- thru facebook, actually. It's funny how everything's connected: I just posted on turquoise as I'm just absolutely... energised, by turquoise & shades of pale blue.

That has always been the question for me: where is one most creative (and is creativity always necessarily the same as prolific? Can one be growing as an artist if one isn't producing works of art?) Where is that environment stronger: in a city- sharing ideas with other humans - or in nature?

I keep thinking I'd be happy where you are, and I certainly know I"m happiest in warm weather and turquoise waters. But I've never had the opportunity to turn those all too brief visits to a full time life.

I think people get drawn to a place. You're feeling drawn to Charleston, and even tho I don't know it, I can see why. Just think: there is a whole community of people whose lives are about to become that much more happy & full, because you & your husband will be in their lives. And they don't even know it yet!

Okay, this is a long comment. I'll shut up now ; )

Lauren Frances Moore said...

stumbled upon your blog through my google alerts (thanks for the link!)

charleston is such a lovely place, such a welcoming place. i've been here less than 3 years and it already feels like home. this has had almost everything to do with the "developing, more progressive visual art scene" that you mention. i can't imagine a better place in which to jumpstart my career in visual art... lots of opportunity!

i know you'll love it

i'd be glad to answer an questions that may arise about your new home!! charleston's a small place... perhaps i'll be bumping into you come summer time...

p.s. LOVE the style blog

Caio Fernandes said...

Hi . i just discovered you blog and works now .
i am fascinated .

Stephanie Clayton said...

"Polka Dot"-

What an excellent comment.
I believe the color turquoise is both calming and energizing because it's both a hot and a cool color. (Or else, it's so deeply cool that it's hot...hmmm...perhaps.) There's something almost mysterious about this color. It seems to defy conventional explanation, doesn't it?

Can one grow as an artist if not producing art? Not for long, as least that's my experience.

You hit the nail on the head when you stated: "But I've never had the opportunity to turn those all too brief visits (to the islands) to a full time life." Yes, visiting and living the life are vastly different.

Even paradise gets old after many years, and the result is that you end up with myopic thinking; I equate it to living in a fishbowl. A very beautiful fishbowl. Or a gilded cage. :)

What an excellent, provocative comment, my friend! Thank you.

Stephanie Clayton said...


Appreciate your thoughtful and kind comment; thank you! That's reassuring what you said about Charleston having that "developing, more progressive visual art scene". I was initially concerned. During my research (albeit online only), the vast majority of what I found was very traditional art, sort of old-school, and not much in the way of newer contemporary.

Much to my delight, I've since found this is most assuredly not the case. So thank you, Lauren! I hope we get to meet. It would be a pleasure to see your work and your studio space.

By the way- my middle name is also Frances. :)