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Artisans of the World: Jean Taylor. Caribbean Artist Paints Local Life in Bold Colors

Island Inspired

Caribbean artist paints local life in bold colors.

By Richard Varr

It’s an island scene the way Jean Taylor remembers it.

Two women ring clothes in a washtub; another hangs baggy pants out to dry. A finger-pointing mother scolds her child. And behind them, dirt pathways intertwine up a hilly landscape with houses swashed in brilliant Caribbean hues — banana yellow, grassy green, and aquamarine blue.

“It shows humble beginnings,” says Taylor of her latest painting depicting village life on her native Turks and Caicos. “My neighbors were pretty much like that — people sharing one tub and washing clothes, hanging clothes out to dry, and playing marbles. It takes me back to the way we were — the togetherness and closeness. I find that to be the fundamental basis of who we are — our neighbors’ keeper.”

With palettes of oil and acrylic pigments, Taylor not only captures images from her childhood, but also what’s special about her homeland — white-sand beaches, islanders clad in distinctive garb, and villages with box-like houses.

She dabs purple and pink tones on canvas to re-create glimpses of Flamingo Pond on North Caicos, one of the archipelago’s lush larger islands known for its natural beauty. “I used to spend time just looking at the birds in the pond,” she says. “You see them by the thousands. It’s difficult to capture all of that, but I’ve been able to paint five or six flamingos in small paintings.”

Conch shells and fish streaked in carmine-red and cerulean-blue highlight one of her underwater seascapes that scuba divers might see along the 7,000-foot-deep “Wall,” the world’s third-largest barrier reef, which is just off Grand Turk’s pristine leeward shoreline…

Find out more and browse current works at jeantaylorgallery.com.

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