Towards the preparation of Caroline’s art exhibition in Palma de Mallorca next month,” Island Impressions” opening on the 7th October at the Saratoga Hotel, I found the perfect moment to recall Caroline’s life as artist and yachtie.
Born in Guernsey in the Channel Islands, between France & England, and brought up in Malta to a Scottish Irish mum and Maltese dad, Caroline’s childhood has been much about travelling the Mediterranean, particularly the French coasts of Brittany and Normandy which have left quite an influence on Caroline’s painterly neo impressionistic style. Choosing to paint life as she sees it, full of vibrant colours and strong brush strokes inspired by the paintings of the Fauvists, best known Henri Matisse followed by Derain, Vlaminck and Dufy.
Caroline’s innate sense of adventure and wish to cease every opportunity for a next adventure started with her big Australian story at only 19 in 1996. It was at this moment she felt free to choose what interested her in life and so began to follow an Art degree while being part of the Sydney Cruising Yacht Club scene. Both complemented very well, as she was able to study and work part time in the yacht club while enjoying sailing after hours. It was in Australia where she built her big love for yachting, learnt to be crew, cook on boats and participate in regattas. Twilight sailing on Sydney Harbour out of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia led her to join the Hayman & Hamilton Island Regatta in 1998 and later the King’s Cup in Phuket in 1999 along with the Hollywood Boulevard crew, supported by her friend Ray.
In the year 2000 Caroline completed a Bachelor in Fine Arts at the National Art School in Sydney. She was one of the students chosen to take part in a mural project as part of the embellishment of the city of Sydney in preparation for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. She chose to make a transcription of one of her most favourite paintings of all times “The Raft of the Medusa ” by French Romantic painter Theodore Gericault, a strong and moving painting about survival. This led her to much exposure, where later she was chosen as the artist to represent Malta with her vibrant acrylic paintings on wood panel “Colours from Home ”; part of the celebrations for the GHOGM (Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting) in 2002. Caroline felt it was the right moment to return back to Europe after 7 years in Australia and keen to develop her art career!
For the next few years Caroline focused on developing her artistic career worldwide. Being Maltese made her quite unique when representing her home island Malta. It offered her some wonderful opportunities while at the same time gave her support through sponsorships. Caroline’s exhibition at the consulate in London gave her the chance to showcase her skills, initiating a solo show at the Royal Commonwealth Society in Trafalgar Square and then forming part of an Art Auction at Ansbacher Private Bank No.2 London Bridge. A few years later Caroline was commissioned to make the trophies for the Rolex Middle Sea Race and at this time she began to nurture her great passion for painting yachting scenes, ports, harbours and regattas.
In 2007 Caroline had a solo exhibition in New York at the United Nations supported by the Maltese Consulate and a couple of years later was invited to take part in an International Painting Symposium in Italy as part of the Mediterranean Games. The piece of work Caroline created called “Regatta” was later hung in the Pescara Modern Art Museum. Caroline’s next collective exhibition took place in the south of Spain, themed female paintings by females where she linked her inspirations with the Fertility Goddess, part of Malta’s Neolithic History. Only a year later Caroline took part in a moving sculpture exhibition against Domestic Violence on Women, where each artist was commissioned to create their own response using a material doll. Caroline by now had really made an international name for herself!
Caroline’s love for the sea, wish for a creative life and strong sense of adventure meant she was perfectly suited for a life onboard as a yacht chef. This allowed her to make art in her time off, opening her up to so many picturesque seaside locations in the south of France, the Adriatic, along the east coast of the US from Maine to Cuba, the Caribbean mainly St Maarten & Antigua and the UK in particular Cornwall, while part of a refit at Pendennis Shipyard to mention a few. Caroline enjoyed visiting galleries and making contacts in these places, often allowing her the opportunity to exhibit one or two of the pieces she had made at the time. This definitely encouraged her to live the bohemian life that so fits her.
Of all the yachting hubs Caroline visited, Palma de Mallorca definitely stood out as the most liveable place offering her the perfect combination of lifestyle and opportunity. Caroline was known amongst her friends and the yachting fraternity as an artist, so when her friend Thomas wanted to move on land and set up his fish and chip shop in Placa Drassana, he asked Caroline to paint a cheeky fish holding a chip on the roller door of the shop which was only a few doors up from the famous Corner Bar.
The local parish priest who crossed the square regularly on his way to the Basilica de Santa Maria de Mallorca to pray to his mother, one day stopped to ask Caroline if she would assist him with something rather particular. He had an issue with visiting Santa Maria because he did not like her and thought she needed some beautification. Caroline reassured the parish priest she would try to bring life to her pale complexion by adding some blush to her lips and cheeks. One of the oddest commissions she had ever experienced! Although this led them to strike up an honest conversation and later he offered Caroline the opportunity to mural paint the square at the Colegio San Alfonso creating a number of impressions from well-known places around the world such as the pyramids of Giza and the Statue of Liberty complemented by famous sayings from poets like Kahlil Gibran. This brought life to the international school full of kids from all around the world. A very enjoyable and satisfying experience!
After returning to Malta in 2010 to follow a Master Degree in Tourism with papers on Yachting, Caroline took up the position as Sales & Marketing Manager at Camper & Nicholson’s Grand Harbour Marina. Her wish to impart her experience, contacts and good energy to the waterfront was a great success encouraging many returned superyachts to visit and winter in Malta year after year. At this time Caroline completed many commissions for people who had become accustomed to what she liked to paint and as part of the 2018 festivities for the European Capital of Culture she formed part of a collective “She Sees the Sea” taking place at the Maritime Museum on the Vittoriosa Waterfont, where Grand Harbour is found. This brought her time in Malta to a close once again and she was now ready for her next adventure, the most obvious being what had become her second home, the Balearic Islands.
Caroline now saw Mallorca and Ibiza through fresh eyes and could not wait to express her feelings of affinity with the islands, choosing to paint impressions of her favourite towns of Andratx, Valldemossa and Deia plus her all-time favourite au plein d’air painting spot above the Port of Palma from the Bellver Castle. This month as part of Nit de l´Art 16th to 18th September she looks forward to participating in the Art Festival, followed by her private exhibition opening party 7th October at the Saratoga Hotel with a little added jazzy fun vibes by her friend Jens Oomes of Jensations. She hopes you will enjoy visiting her exhibition as it will be up until the 24th October if you don’t make the opening. You will definitely feel the energy she has for this unique part of the world she so loves!!