Barrington Watson, CD
Artist, educator, author, philanthropist, writer

"I utilize

The Light of Turner
The Line of Ingres
The Range of Rembrandt
The Techniques of Velasquez
The Emotion of Goya
And, my Birthright of Benin."
View Complete Biography below gallery.

Jamaican master painter Barrington Watson aptly describes how he has forged his unique style to brushstroke brilliant works of art.

Striking combinations of form and color that radiate with energy. Whatever his subject, be it landscape or the human form, he executes his work with great skill.

"A brilliant portrait artist, without question the best in the West Indies, he produces with equal skill, landscapes and other subjects. But it is his obsession with the human form that generates his best work: full of life, vitality and movement. Many of his subjects seem ready to walk off the canvas and disappear into the surrounding area," says noted Jamaican Patrick Rousseau, O.J.

Watson's works, largely people oriented, concentrate in thematic expressions, such as Athlete's Nightmare, Vision of Venus, Women in Captivity, Piano Concerto, Samantha's World, Shock Attack and Teatime (depicting cricket), The Rose, Hibiscus and Orchid germinated by the human figure, to name a few. He tries to show the beauty, the dignity and pride that people apply to the art of living. His intense fascination with the female form is evident in the works that illustrate Shades of Grey, especially Two Women, A Flash of Light and his many other works, which capture the love, friendship, generosity and protectiveness he feels towards them.

Among his most recent works is a collection of canvases, some large and some small, numbering 24, entitled The Pan-Africanists. They depict African, Afro-American and Caribbean leaders of the past and present, who sacrificed themselves for the betterment of the black race. There is also a book bearing the same name with short biographies of each of the 17 characters in the major painting.

Born in the picturesque town of Lucea, in the parish of Hanover, on January 9, 1931, Barrington showed an aptitude for art from a very early age. After attending Kingston College he migrated to London to pursue a career in art, despite his parents' desire for him to become a lawyer. He first studied at the London School of Printing and Graphic Art, from where he was accepted to Royal College of Art. His extensive training in the arts also took him to academies in Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid and Rome and he broadened his concepts with African, Oriental and American art with the sole ambition of producing an art peculiar to the Caribbean.

When he returned to Jamaica from the Continent in 1961, his first assignment was at the University of the West Indies where he taught art appreciation in the Department of Education. He became the first Director of Studies of the Jamaica School of Art in 1962 and organized the diploma and certificate courses, while his determination to gain recognition and respect for the full-time professional artist proved successful.

Barrington Watson has always been preoccupied with the development of art and the building of institutions to support the profession of art in his country.

He founded the Contemporary Jamaican Artists Association in 1964, Gallery Barrington in 1974, the Contemporary Art Center in 1984, the Jamaica Art Foundation in 1985, the Orange Park Trust in 1991 and the Pan-Africanists Committee in 1998.

Barrington Watson has also tried to teach through his book, Shades of Grey, which speaks of life through an artist's eyes and by imparting some of the techniques an artist needs to complete successful paintings.

-Adapted