With bold charcoal outlines, a crisp white background and the clearest greens & yellows, the West Indies print feels like the bright edge of the Caribbean jungle.
In 1951 my Oma & Opa arrived in St. Lucia
as missionaries. My mother, their youngest, was two. I never knew my grandparents as missionaries; they lived in North Carolina by the time I was born. I just knew they were the best grandparents in the world and some of my absolute favorite people. I probably spent a weird amount of time with them as a child. Given the choice between Oma & Opa’s and just about anything else, I chose Oma and Opa’s. We cooked together, gardened, played the piano, went to the grocery store & watched lots of I Love Lucy- nothing super exciting, just the things children do with their elderly grandparents.
As the years passed, Oma’s memory faded along with Opa’s hearing and sight. Roles shifted & I drove them to the grocery store then cooked while Oma watched. I still spent a weird amount of time with them and they were still some of my favorite people, so not
much had changed.
During those later years I began to reinterpret their black & white photos of St. Lucia in bright watercolors & discovered a love for painting tropical foliage.
Oma and Opa had both passed away by the time I got married. I’d never been to St. Lucia but had seen and painted photos of the church Opa & the St. Lucian men built during their early years on the island. It was where I wanted to get married, & happily, everyone else was very much on board with this plan. It was the next best thing to having Oma & Opa at my wedding.
You’ve probably seen the iconic banana leaf wallpaper patterns from the 1940’s all over magazine covers & Pinterest lately. They’re absolutely stunning &, although my inspiration is almost as old, it runs a bit deeper than the simple resurgence of a Beverly Hills design trend. West Indies is Oma & Opa.