I first met Karen Hale-Jackson when I offered to be part of the Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association Race Committee Crew. Karen was one of a group of loyal volunteers who spent their Sundays – come rain or shine – sitting on a rocking boat waiting for the racing yachts to complete their course. Among other duties, Karen's job was to check who was over the line early and call the names of the boats as they crossed the finish. She obviously had a good eye to make these split second calls. In between races, I got to know Karen's lively sense of humor and that she was a keen cyclist, hiker and active member of the Port of Spain Hash House Harriers. However, it was only when she exhibited her art at a silent auction, which was combined with a sailing regatta to raise funds for the Cancer Society, that I realized she was also a gifted artist.
Born in Trinidad in 1956, Karen says she was born to paint and while growing up spent every free moment with a paint brush in her hand. With maturity came the demands of family and children and it was not until 2000, while laid-up with a foot injury that she started to paint seriously again. Since then she has exhibited regularly in Trinidad, and her acrylic and water color painting reflects her many interests: her love of the sea, her enthusiasm for hashing through tropical forest with its rivers, birds and abundant plant life, her fondness for animals and delight in the music and color of Carnival. Developing her painting style and method is a continuous learning experience for her and is constantly evolving. She welcomes commissions as she says she enjoys creating paintings that have special meaning for her client.
For Trinidadians, as well as visiting cruisers who, like me, have a strong tie with Trinidad and Tobago, her work touches on many aspects of this surprising twin island country that continue to draw one back to it again and again – in particular the flamboyant color and energy of the local culture, the tranquility and mystery of the natural environment.
Dancing Ladies and Young Moko Jumbies
One can feel the swirling energy and confidence of these two dancers, doing what Trinidadians do best – celebrate music. Carnival costumes and performers such as these talented youngsters provide a wealth of fascinating subjects for local artists and craftsmen.
Most people agree that one of the main attractions of Trinidad is its people – their natural musical and sporting talent, their easygoing warmth and humour, evident from a very young age.
Basket of Fish
The sun rises on the boats moored at the TTSA, a favorite anchorage for cruisers and racers alike. Influenced by the outflow of the big South American rivers, the water is not typical clear Caribbean blue, but the sea is very much alive. Fishing for one's livelihood or for sporting fun is a strong part of community life.
Karen Hale-Jackson's work can be viewed at www.fullcircle-tt.com
Ruth Lund is head of Marketing and Merchandising for Budget Marine, Trinidad.