THE DAUGHTER OF BERMUDA’S FIRST MODERN ARTIST, JO BIRDSEY LINBERG WELCOMES VISITORS TO HER STUDIO — WHERE SHE AND HER FATHER ALFRED BIRDSEY USED TO PAINT TOGETHER. A former Latin teacher, Jo is the first to say that she merely followed her father’s footsteps in her foray into the art world. But she is an established talent in her own right. We sat down to talk with the artist about her main inspirations: her father and the island itself. How did your close relationship with your father influence you as a painter? I learned from my dad that it’s the journey of life that’s interesting. We painted together all the time. In the early years, he would sit down and do little paintings on the corner for the tourists; and my sister and I would be around to help bring him water or whatever. In later years I became the assistant, cleaning brushes, helping with murals, etc. Somehow or other I got pulled in the door and learned how to pick up the brush and let it fly. What’s the biggest thing you learned from him? That you do not have to do what everybody else does — paint something green because it is green. A painting should give off some kind of a life, some kind of emotion, or it’s no good. He used to say that if you want realism, you can take a photograph. Beyond that, do whatever you want. Pull it any way you wish, and just do it because you feel like doing it. How does the island itself shape your art? It’s the atmosphere of Bermuda that influences me. Because of the way the island curves, it looks a little bit oriental. Wherever you are, you’ll always see a bit of land. And there is a light in Bermuda that you don’t see many other places. Bermuda has a gorgeous light. It affects your emotions. It doesn’t make you feel depressed. It’s very hard to describe. It makes you feel that things are more delicate in life. Bermuda’s beautiful trees and rampant colourful vegetation combine with this light to put us more at ease, as do the ever-changing colours of the sea and sky. We become one with nature. To ensure someone is there to receive you at the studio, please call ahead. The Birdsey Studio, Rosecote, 5 Stowe Hill, Paget Parish. Tel: 236-6658
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