Friday, April 22, 2011

Paradise.... Gained... Reclaimed! - Part Two

In my last post... I bemoaned the [too] sudden "loss" of the Paradise that we most certainly "found" in the Barbados. How could a place of such new and visually stunning beauty... of unusual human warmth and acceptance... complete freedom of movement... and physical

warmth not be an ideal for the term "Paradise"... "Eden"?

I was well-acquainted with the biblical use of these two terms... but I was curious about the other possible meanings for them... so, as is my usual practice when my curiosity runs wild... I searched out their dictionary meanings. I found that Paradise and Eden... beyond their biblical relationship... shared the notion that they both represented "a place of delight... contentment or bliss." In other words... they both represented an enhanced state of mind.

This latter concept of the word Paradise better suits the notion of what Deb and I both had experienced... and the feeling of dejection... no withdrawal that we both felt upon our arrival back to Canada. We discovered... and sadly to our chagrin... that the country remained unchanged and still... much in the same icy cold clutches of winter. I think that we both might well identified with and felt the same disorientation at that moment... as the "original"cast of the biblical story... when they were expelled... forever... from Eden!

Over the past week back in Hillsdale, our earlier life and state of mind has been difficult to return to... with our minds continually volleying back n' forth between the two diametrically opposed states of mind... Eden vs Reality... and a very tropical vs polar natural environment. Add to that... the reality that small retail businesses everywhere and especially in the Arts... (including our own) are facing some uphill challenges over the next few months.

I really did enjoy our trip to Eden... Paradise... call it whatever you will... both from a tourist'point of view and from an artistic stance as well. However, I came away with much more in the way of benefits. We enjoyed visiting my eldest daughter Lisa's world... and having the benefit of her presence... knowledge of... and passion for the Barbados. I came to better understand and feel more comfortable, as her Father... with her passion and desire to fully make her life there at some time in the near future.

As a died-in-the-wool history buff... I spent much of my time there acquainting myself with the past histories of the Island... both natural and human... as a way to better understand what was unfolding before "Me." I came away with such respect for the Bajan populace as a whole. They have finally... after 300 years of slavery... injustice...oppression and suffering started to enjoy a more equitable quality of life and their rightful place as pilots of their own ship. The yoke of control under slavery and British Colonialism is disappearing... and being replaced by educated Bajan leaders who are prepared and willing to lead their countrymen towards economic self-determination and political decision-making. Their time has finally arrived!

In this process, they have managed to retain their strong and proud connection to their black cultural identity. They continue to maintain an unusual sense of humour... tolerance... and Faith in God and in themselves. We were approached only twice by some one asking for a hand out... and those individuals truly seemed in desperate need. People were visibly "making ends meet"... or as the phrase goes on the Island... "Doin' the best I can!"

Medical care... drugs and hospital care are free to all Bajans. Education is free all the way through from Primary School through to Post Secondary Education. There exists a number of exceptional community colleges and even North American University campuses in the Caribbean... each providing even the poorest, but intellectually capable and motivated students the opportunity to advance in their culture. The US and Canada... being more affluent and able to provide this same level playing field to their poor... should take notice. It CAN be done!

I had planned to run a number of posts to give a more elaborate reporting of my discoveries... but I could be locked into that task far beyond space... or interest allows. I think that you can see that I came away enriched and motivated by the experience. But more than that even... I returned more grateful for the Freedom that I have enjoyed... simply by the good fortune of my birth. The experience made me even more deeply aware of the many simple daily blessings that we all share in our Western World.

In closing... I wish to thank my lovely daughter Lisa for her generosity and love... in providing this uplifting experience for Deb and I. I am forever grateful to "Her" for this gift of the heart! I wish too... to thank her Bajan partner Dorian for spending many hours of his time showcasing his beautiful country... and opening up doors and our eyes to places and experiences that no tourist can hope to reach reach into... or come to understand in such a limited stay. Thank "You".... "Big D"!!!

I am posting the remainder of my Barbadian sketches. I hope that you enjoy them... and they might tweak your fancy... to pay a visit to this friendly... safe Jewel of the Caribbean . You will never regret the decision... I assure you!

I will use this post as well... to bid my other lovely daughter Allison... "Bon Voyage"... and safe journey to your very own version of Paradise ...found... Venezia. Enjoy your teaching assignment and research opportunity... and then get back to us to share stories about our separate Edens!

The mantra for Bajans... as posted on the walls of schools... and spoken from the hearts of their spiritual and government leaders appears so simple on the surface... but it touched my soul and I have adapted it as my own simply because... I believe its every word and will try to continue to practise it in my own daily life:

"Life is complicated. Do your best!"

Can "You"?... Will "You".... try to your best?

"I" will !

Happy Easter to all. Give thanks for your blessings for a few moments... if only quietly within!

Good Painting to ALL!

PLEASE NOTE!.... It would seem that I ahve a spacing glitch in this post that I can't figure out for the moment. If you wish to leave a comment... scroll down.....WAY DOWN! It is there! HAHA!




  1. Hi Bruce,

    You obviously had a very uplifting experience in Barbados, which inevitably left you feeling 'down' when you got back. Unfortunately, if we want to experience joy, we must also have sadness; they are the 'yin' and 'yang' of life.

    Your sketches are full of the sunny happiness that you were feeling. You will only have to look at them to take your mind back to that time in Barbados!

    All the best,

  2. Hi Keith!.... Thanks for the Up... lifting comments! You are absolutely right Keith! It is adversity and the "shadier" sides of life that often teach us lessons which cause us to be grateful for those sunny days that come our way!

    Keeping a travel sketchbook does provide one with visual markers that recapture the elation and sense of adventure... from long since passed vacation highlights! I treasure mine ... and poke through it on cloudy days... when they visit "Me"!

    Thanks for visiting and for leaving such good advice and encouraging comments about the sketches!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  3. I am just blown away by these gorgeous watercolors, Bruce. They are so beautiful...I am so glad to hear of your joy in your girls and in your trip. I've never been to Barbados, probably never will (expensive to travel these days), but I sure enjoy it through your eyes!

  4. Hi there Sherry!.... Your so right Sherry! My daughters... and my sons are amongst the countless blessings in my life! Being with them... thinking about them... and remembering our time together are gifts that only a parent can have.

    Thank you for the compliments regarding the sketches. I feel that they capture the essence of freedom and joy that we experienced in the Barbados. They join my Scottish sketches in my Travel Sketchbook for future trips on "cloudy days"..."down sunny memory lane"! HAHA!!

    Never say never my Friend!Never only exists... if you wish to visit it! is The Universe often provides... what one can never imagine or hope for! Glad that my sketches bring joy to you to be shared! That's the full intent of my blog!

    Happy Easter to you and your Hubbie Sherry!

    Warmest regards,

  5. Lovely sketches in watercolour - some should most definitely translate into the vibrancy of oil! Glad you had such a great time! I must say that the Canada that greeted you upon your return looks quite a lot like the barren tundra artists have used to depict "The Fall" for centuries!
    The next chapter of your travel sketchbook must include your return to the Serenissima!
    Love always,
    Allie xooxox

  6. Thank you for sharing your holiday watercolour paintings, they are lovely and it makes me feel as if I am there! making me an arm chair traveller. Why is there a windmill there?

  7. Hi there Dr Jemima Puddleduck!... What an Easter Egg Surprise to find your comment on my site this morning!

    Thanks for the compliments on the sketches! Feel the same way! They are spontaneous and "painterly" I feel... and surely some will become future studies leading to larger studio oils!

    It was indeed deflating...even for "The Winter Painter"... to return to winter... after such warmth and greenery! It is on the way here... the lilacs are budding... birds are in good voice! Spring's not far off!

    Hope that you are enjoying your Easter get together with Bro Andyrewster before your Veetian adventure gets underway!

    We will surely at some point... when the shekels start coming back in... look to catching some of the Serenissima! Heavenly light for any painter!

    I'll call you on Sunday to catch up before you get too busy with the final packing... etc! Until then...

    Happy Easter to you both!

    Much Love ALWAYS!

  8. Hello there Highland Lass!... Glad that you enjoyed the Barbadian sketches!''I felt much the same way as you... upon my arrival there Caroline..."armchair traveller" - a perfect description for that feeling we share.

    My reading and "poking about" with the locals did in fact provide "Me" an answer for the very same question that you pose here! In reality... all of my earlier school larnin'... bare of fact and application fell into place like a giant jigsaw puzzle when physically presented the facts yet again... this time in total context.

    As I have been preparing (in my mind)... for the post covering our Barbado adventure... your very cogent and important question will fit nicely alongside another major discovery which I made while there and that I would like to share with my Followers. Both underpin a broad comparison of the Barbado's past... and future. Thanks for your comment and timely question! Stay gtuned!

    Happy Easter!... and Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  9. Hi Bruce,

    Thank you for telling me to go way down south to post a comment. Told cousin Sue, about your blog and now I can tell her to go south to post. Back to your wonderful sketches of your trip. Bruce all I can say is that it is always a pleasure visiting your blog. Your sketches your words take the place watching tv. I always get the feeling that I am
    there as well.
    Thank you for sharing. I wish you and your lovely family and very Happy Easter.

    Happy painting to you my friend.


  10. Hi there Joan!.... Thank you for the notice regarding the comment problem! Don't know what caused the glitch. Have tried everything to correct it. Hopefully it's an isolated incident! Onward!

    I am so glad that the blog brings you pleasure Joan! That along with simply sharing ideas... is my intent!

    A very Happy Easter to "You"... and your Family too Joan!

    Love your new post as well... particularly the two small colour thumbnails! Very loose and painterly!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  11. oh my!! bruce, these drawings are so exciting!! i adore each and every one. i love this style, it's so alive and cracklin' with creativity!!! i'm so glad there were directions to the comment section. i have no idea what the problem could be. anyway, i'm so glad you had a wonderful time, your work shows that. i've pinched each one and put them in my inspirational folder! welcome back!

  12. Hi there Suzanne!.... Welcome aboard after your own vacation break! Glad that you enjoyed the Bajan sketches! A really inspiring place for the artist. I'm still not fully back to earth... so much visual overload.... where to start again after that transfusion!

    Glad to share my ideas with you Suzanne... although from my side... your work hardly appears to be in need of outside "inspiration." But I do know what you are getting at... because I draw energy from just seeing your work to uplift me emotionally.It is conceived from a different perspective... and that's always a good thing... to compare agaionst your own ideas... isn' t it?

    Thanks for the compliments and visit!
    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,