It was about three years ago in New York City, when I attended a Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition at ICP in downtown that I had the idea of a painting as the cover of my first book of Eleuthera: The Garden of Freedom. Probably Bresson’s most famous book “Images a la Sauvette” featured a collage painting by his dear friend Henri Matisse. I then started to think who among my friends was a painter.
I asked Paula Boyd Farrington if she was interested and she immediately accepted. To me she was perfect for the job, she has the talent to play in such wonderful way with splashes of colors and to create powerful undefined shapes. So here in “The Kingdom of Blue” we repeated the adventure and once again she surpassed herself by marvellously interpreting my vision of the cover for the Exumas; an explosion of blues propagating with the currents and tides in an infinite multitude of depths, scattered with light gold patches representing the sand of the cays. But for a deeper insight of the cover production process you’ll have to read Paula’s own words.
“The first time I flew into the islands I couldn’t believe the astonishing colors I was seeing. The wows haven’t stopped thirty two years later.
My husband first introduced me to the Exumas when we were dating, and although I have since grown to appreciate these beloved islands beyond the surface beauty… surface beauty, the sheer natural magnificence of these vistas brings me home creatively again and again, the full joy calling for expression in myriad ways.
Exumas: The Kingdom of Blue cover art was painted in layers of flowing inks and metallics on a smooth paper surface that gives sway to fluid eddies and wavy edges of wonder. Deeply drenched color ruffles over shifting shorelines where possibility, practice and an exciting element of unpredictability all flow together.
and it’s addictive! … the way it changes depending on the amount of ink versus alcohol… the way it flows … how the gold interacts … it’s so tempting to keep going & knowing when to stop because something amazing emerges is all part of it … sometimes the flow you get and eddies it creates just click … and I could try a zillion times again today & would make something else compelling but it wouldn’t look exactly the same … the colors, yes… but impossible to recreate, like impossible to step into the same river twice …”
Inspired by the vibrant realm of life above and below the shimmering waters and rocky cays, the art for the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park section cover is a collage of painted ink-textured papers blended with transparencies and digital embellishments—an abstract reef with coral cutouts as a nod to Matisse. I am grateful for Alessandro’s creative inspiration and artistry in the way he continually paints with his camera. The attention to detail and “decisive moments” found in his poetically captivating photographs tell stories that pique curiosity and everyday joy along with his powerfully tender portraits revealing a deep communal appreciation for the Exumas—and all of The Bahamas. I am honored, delighted, and blessed to be a part of this amazing salute to the Exumas, many years in the making.”