This Gallery is showing 20 of the 50 paintings by Kate Spencer which appear in the book. All are available as Collector Edition prints. For details please enquire using the contact page.
To view the full painting click on each image and hover over it to read Kate's story.
The Tempest 2017
The Tempest 2017
During the hurricane I stayed with friends in Frigate Bay on the other side of St. Kitts. I wondered whether my beloved Mounty P had survived the storm. We thought things must be worse on the Northern end. So the next day I drove as close as I could and walked the rest of the way. When I came over the hill and saw the house still standing I was overcome with joy and shouted. When I got close I found bird nests knocked down in the storm, their house ruined but my house intact. I put them in the painting. We were very lucky. Lots of others were not.
This was the scene just below Mounty P. and on a still day I could hear the surf in the distance, the chop of the machete and far off voices. The painting was large and in oil and took weeks to complete. Eric the man in the striped shirt posed for me and I walked through the cane tracks looking for the right tractor to draw. You had to be careful because when the cane was cut all the centipedes came out and wriggled underneath the mulch.
Oh the noise was colossal, every piece of machinery cranking away and the staircases rickety and old. The wonderful fresh sweet smell of cane filled your nostrils as did the dust, the heat, the debris of cane mulch. It was difficult finding a patch to sketch. I went back day after day, much to the annoyance of the man at the entrance, he said it was far too dangerous for me! But I loved the old splendid wheels and machinery and the best bit was when the oven door opened and the man arrived wearing big gloved hands and carrying a long devil like fork to stoke up the fire and load it up. Wonderful.
This was one of my first landscapes I ever painted in St. Kitts. Fahies was an old sugar estate just below Kittitian Hill but part of the flat lands were used for 'Provision grounds' and grew everything. Yams, Pinder, sweet potato, Dasheen, pumpkin, pineapple. That is Mount Misery or Mount Liamuiga in the background and what a fine range of mountain it is too. Every estate had a water source piped down from the mountain.
It was one of the few estates close to the sea and as you approached you saw the silhouette of the sugar mill and chimney. The land was flat and very fertile and it was close to Brimstone Hill. We often used to go for a swim off the black sandy beach and then drive back up this driveway, over the road and up more cane tracks back to Mounty P.
That late afternoon light around 5:30 as it hit the golden cut cane was magic. I used to sketch a lot in those days as there was so much to paint. The fields around the house were alive with activity, donkeys, tractors and carts. I think the donkeys name is Timothy and the woman looks like Ermine who would be walking back down to the village after the lunch shift at Rawlins Plantation Inn.
This is a small oil sketch looking over to St Eustatius, otherwise known as Statia, a Dutch island with a long strange history. The cane was so tall, you could not see over the top, so when a field was cut suddenly a spectacular vista lay open. The mill and chimney below is Belmont Estate, now sadly a ruin.
I stayed the weekend in this most charming hotel. It has the same sweet proportions as Mounty P, so simple, so intimate, with that timeless softness of light and feeling of romance. It was mango time and the Julie mangoes were delicious. The owner Richard loved Opera and somehow it all fitted in, like a stage set in the tropics.
I tried to simplify and create more of a naive style for this painting. It was a bit risky to make the sky brilliant orange but I love the color against the blue/lilac and it accentuates the feeling of the heat in the tropics.
It was a very sad year when the island went out of sugar. I always felt it was an emotional mistake, like plucking the soul, the identity out of the land.
This is the centre of Basseterre in St. Kitts, called The Circus, near the green clock Berkeley memorial. It’s a busy place, specially before Christmas when all the stalls came to sell chicken wings, jelly water etc. The man in black and white is a lawyer of course, all suited up on his way to court looking quite odd compared to everyone else.
We used to keep an old teak motor yacht called Tiger down in the beautifully protected Dieppe Bay harbour. I painted this painting on deck while Philip worked below restoring the interior and preparing for our voyage to Cuba.
Sadly all the palms died from a palm disease and a couple of bad hurricanes. We must re-plant.
This was a large oil painting and it's the curve of the Dolphin fish (Mahi-Mahi) over Idib’s shoulder that allows the figure to be central. The fish was very heavy and when Idib posed for me he had to put down the fish every 5 minutes or so
There was a wooden 'lean to' that served as the pantry attached to the back of Lodge Great House kitchen. It was always full of buckets of cut flowers because, Joy, Uncle Chris’s wife, was a marvelous florist. She always needed flowers for the Banks, Weddings and Funerals.
In the garden there was a wizened old grapefruit tree that produced a ludicrous amount of big fat juicy grapefruits which are in the basket in the foreground.
I think the little girl was the gardeners daughter, there were always youngsters in the yard waiting to carry some fruit or jellies home.
St. Pauls Butterfly
St. Pauls Butterfly
I kept loose paper in my hymn book for sketching. St. Paul's church at Easter time was full of very smart women and they kept their children 'in check' and beautifully dressed. This little girl was mesmerized by the yellow butterflies and every now and again outstretched her arm to try and catch one. I remember my mother had died the month before and the numbers on the Hymn Board were my mother's favorite hymns...'All Things Bright and Beautiful', 'There is a Green Hill far far away, without a city wall'.
It was a difficult composition and needed to be distorted quite a lot. I should have done many more church paintings. I got half way through one of two girls singing and tapping tambourines at the same time. It was a wonderful sight...