An Artist’s Exploration of St. John

January 16th, 2013
    • Watercolor Pencil 9" x 12" © liza myers

      Watercolor Pencil 9″ x 12″
      © liza myers


Just yesterday I flew from warm sunshine on a luminous Caribbean beach to the gray winter skies of New England. .
Fortunately it was not too cold so re-entry was not as harsh as it might have been.

Today my forest view is muted with softly falling snow.

        I had group of young artists

with me, mostly beginners, who spent the week working on techniques in ink, charcoal, watercolor and watercolor pencil.

What an expanding experience it was for them (and me!).  We were exploring a new environment where most of them had never been before. Many of them were also learning techniques they had never tried before. It was a pleasure to share the adventure with them. And we managed to get everyone there and back in one piece! Success!

Lameshure Bay

watercolor, 10″ x 8″
©liza myers

When I’m traveling with students I don’t usually get to do any of my own work, but this group was so focused there were times when I could sit and work as well. These images are the resulting plein air studies.

Plein air work (in the open air) was pioneered by the Impressionists in the late 19th century. Thank goodness for that!
Because the light  and shadow change so swiflty as the earth turns and the clouds & sun pass over head, you have to work very quickly to catch the drama and beauty.

Monet, one of my many art-heroes, declared that an artist should work on several paintings at once. That way you can work each day in the same place at the same hour so the light will always be the same. Or at least similar. Since our stay was brief we did not have that luxury, but the experience was very informative.

IMG_2218We stayed at VIERS, the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station. The location is perfect: at the far end of the island nestled in the midst of the Virgin Island National Park. Far from the madding crowd  and distraction of pleasure-seeking tourists. We were there to WORK, after all.

The VIERS staff  is fun, knowledgable, helpful, and well— resourceful.  I can’t recommend the place highly enough for a rustic tropical experience. I hope we can go back next winter!

And even more I hope that the color of the Caribbean and the texture of the forest and rocks remains with my students for a long time. I know it will for me.

One Response to “An Artist’s Exploration of St. John”

  1. Lynn Blagden says:

    Wow, Liza, your impressions are lovely and the trip sounds like it was fun and productive. What a great experience for the students!