Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dots, Dots and more DOTS !!!!!

In June 2006, I was revisiting the beautiful Cayman Islands, not just for a fun in the sun diving vacation with the "Viking Women", but also for a chance to paint with the world -renowned artist, Ron Steven, aka Rogest.
On having seen our old friend Ron at Our World Underwater in Chicago, we were gently "persuaded" into signing up for his seven day Dive/Paint trip, being assured we would have a good time.
Our home for the week was Cobalt Coast Resort and Divetech dive shop in West Bay, Grand Cayman. From the time of our arrival until we departed, we were treated like royalty from the customer friendly staff. The owner of Cobalt graciously opened his 3rd story home up to us nine guests to use as a studio.
The cast of characters for the trip ranged from an elderly gentleman from Madison, Wi, with a witty sense of humor and much wisdom and knowledge to share and his gracious and sophisticated lady friend who managed to get a "zinger" in now and then; a couple from New Mexico who kept us in stitches with her infectious laugh and his dry sense of humor; a sweet and quiet lady from Denver who after a day or so showed us her alter ego; and my "Viking Women" friends....a passionate poet, a "princess" and a cautious banker.

After mornings of two wonderful dives off the Cayman walls, and a tasty lunch, we learned to paint with Rogest in his Australian aboriginal pointillist (dot) style with acrylic paints in bright Gaughin-like colors. This was exciting for me, since my own paintings are done with watercolor or oils and my murals with latex paint. Knowing how to paint was not a requirement and Rogest, with his boundless energy, made the learning process very easy and pleasant.
What started out as a daunting task to create a16"x20" canvas to actually look like a painting made solely of dots, ended in us creating nine wonderful paintings of underwater creatures! The laughter oozed out of the windows of that makeshift studio during our afternoon painting sessions. Wisecracks became the norm. After what seeming like painting millions of dots, we decided that we were going to need 'dot therapy', 'dotaholics anonymous', and hoped we wouldn't have post-dottum depression after going home !
In addition to the Rogest-style dot paintings, each of us contributed our palette knife "fish" on a 32"x40" canvas which turned into a huge abstract underwater scene that now hangs in the entry way of the resort.

The staff of the resort worked diligently to advertise an auction of our artwork that was held at Boatswain Turtle Farm to raise monies for environmental groups on the island. Rogest acted as auctioneer and sold all of our paintings for a profit of $1800.00. Our hearts and souls were poured into those little canvases and we were proud to donate the proceeds for a worthy cause. The environment needs all the hands it can get to help it along, if we want there to be something for future generations to enjoy, because "extinction is forever."

I came away from this dive trip with renewed friendships, a little part of each of my "new" friends to carry in my heart, a deeper appreciation for the environment, and a newfound energy for my own artwork .........which may just include a few DOTS !!