Independent Canadian book publishers working in Dominica, W.I. specializing in coffee table books of architectural treasures and lush gardens. We also promote fine artistic photography. This blog contains unofficial reports and comments from our various trips, photo sessions, and jobs – an unofficial scrapbook of our travels, explorations and photo-related work. See “about” for more.

Archive for the ‘Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean book goes to print’ Category

Hiking around Freshwater Lake

We had a nice hike last week – around the Freshwater Lake in the Morne Trois Pitons Natonal Park. It used to be our favorite place when we were coming to Dominica as visitors, only for a short time. Now, because we live here, we have an opportunity to take our time and hike the entire loop around the lake and enjoy stunning vistas.

Freshwater Lake, Dominica

Freshwater Lake, Dominica. Sun behind fast moving clouds creates spectacle of lights.

When we left the capital town of Roseau, car thermometer showed 31 C; upon arrival to parking lot, temperature dropped to 20C. We are on elevation of over 700m above sea level, high in the mountains, at the heart of the island. There’s always wind blowing clouds of mist soothing the skin after scorching heat of the city. We breathe deeply fresh air and take a first look at the lake. It’s situated in a valley surrounded by sharp peaks covered by montane rainforest, dense patchwork of every shade of green color. The natural beauty of the place is astounding; it is also very calm and serene. As we start to hike, thoughts and noises in our heads gradually quiet down, and we fell under charm of this magical place.

The trail is made entirely of steps held together by wooden logs and tree fern trunks. We’re lucky it isn’t raining; it can be really slippery. Apart from the wind, there is only glass flute-like sound of mountain whistler (rufous- throated solitaire) singing long notes, beautiful and soothing. We climb steeply uphill taking a closer look at the unique vegetation found only on higher elevations. Shrubs and trees form a dense, low growing thicket dripping with moisture from the swirling clouds. There seems to be more ferns, bromeliads and epiphytic plants than anywhere else. Some plants are striking like Lobelia stricta with spiny leaves or epiphytic vine with red and yellow flowers (Alloplectus cristatus)

Finally, we are at the top of the ridge, and views are amazing! We can see Freshwater Lake shrouded in mist and all volcanic peaks of the interior. Standing there, you can see both sides of the island (how small this island really is!): to the west there is Caribbean sea, to the east, distant views of Rosalie Bay on the Atlantic side. The path descents and climbs up again yet to another peak with slightly different vistas, equally stunning. _DSC5429_30_31

After the walk we feel thoroughly refreshed and amazingly light-hearted. We have to return there soon.

Actually, we may return indeed, as while hiking and enjoying the natural beauty of this place, our old idea of creating a coffee table book about Dominica rippened in our minds, and we just decided it is time to do it. Therefore in upcoming months we will be travelling the island scouting for most picturesque locations, photographing, interviewing people, and collecting all material for this fine task. It may take up to a year to produce it, but we hope it will be as nice as our Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean, Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean – or even better, as our publishing experience over last years accumulates, helping us do what we love better and better._DSC5438

We will keep you posted on progress of our works, therefore please subscribe to this blog, and share it with friends.
Cheers!
Margaret and Derek

All photos by Derek Galon, writing by Margaret Gajek. Please respect copyright.

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Julie Savage Lea, artist – painter from Bequia

Arriving in Bequia

Arriving in Bequia

As mentioned in our previous post, today we are posting a profile of a fine artist from Bequia, Julie Lea. She just finished work on a new book we are about to publish. Please, meet Julie:

_DSC9956Julie Savage Lea was fascinated and smitten with the island of Bequia from the first moment she saw it. She describes this experience in her book, called “”Bequia reflections”: “I first saw Bequia in 1978, from the deck of a steel-hulled, 48-foot ketch. My husband and I and our two small sons were guests of young friends, part of the self-styled “boat vagabonds”, who, in those days, plied the waters of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We arrived after a rolling, fitful, all-night sail from St Lucia. In the predawn light we anchored in the sheltering calm of Admiralty Bay, just off Port Elizabeth. As the others sputtered ashore (…), I stayed on deck, exhausted yet dazzled by the visual feast before me. My first response to Bequia was to pull out my watercolours and record the soft explosion of clouds and colour in the sky as a golden dawn erupted over green volcanic hills and poured into the awakening turquoise harbour.”

Inside Mango Cottage

Inside Mango Cottage

“I wanted to capture the charm of what I saw that first morning- the languid parade of human and animal activity along the main street, the exotic trees and flowers, the diminutive shops and cottages, as gaily painted as the small fishing boats lining the beach.”

_DSC9903Julie frequently returned to the island to paint, and finally, in 2005, decided to make Bequia her home. She found the perfect place for her studio – Mango Tree Cottage, a quaint little house that she rents from her long-term friend and also a great painter, Vivian Usborne Child.

_DSC9691Most of the year 2012 she has been working on a book about her friend Peter Carr – another Bequia-fascinated painter. The book, titled “Bequia – the Feast of Colors”, will be published by our company Ozone Zone Books in early 2013.

_DSC9840

Julie talks about her paintings

We met Julie in her studio full of colourful and vibrant paintings, various objets d’art, and everyday things chosen for their strong primary colours. She spoke enthusiastically about the painting she had just finished for the Gingerbread Restaurant in Bequia, called “Tropical Eden.” The lush exuberance of the vegetation she captured there reminds me of the famous jungle paintings by Henri Rousseau.

_DSC9724We wrote about the Mango Tree Cottage in our book Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean: “This humble, small place has transformed itself completely under Julie’s influence, reflecting her own happy, artistic personality. With the presence of her paintings, it has become a vibrant colourful place and a joyful continuation of the tropical landscape that surrounds it.”

_DSC9706While visiting Bequia, you may see Julie walking alone, scouting for subjects to paint, or sketching hurriedly some life scenes passing by. She writes: “Under a brilliant sky filled with colour and movement, the glittering sea and an exotic parade of people, events and contexts leaps at me.”

_DSC9719We hope you enjoy this story. More soon, happy New Year!

by Margaret Gajek, Photos by Derek Galon
Please respect our copyright.

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Bequia, a Feast of Colour – Ozone Zone’s New Book

Port Elizabeth harbor front, 1979, “coffee stain” painting, collection Lou Keane, BequiaWhen he first came to Bequia, Peter didn’t have any paints. He used pens and ink. He made paint from instant coffee mixed with water. He’d make a little painting, sell it, and when that money was gone, he’d paint another picture. This one shows the SIMONE V, a Guyanese wooden sloop trading between Barbados and Bequia. The Bequia Chandlery, now the Bequia Bookshop, is at the center of the sketch and the old Barclay’s Bank building, now Solana’s, is at the right. Empty steel drums lined up on the beach were filled with water and used as ballast. The little ground floor shop sold plumbing fittings.Nolly Simmons

Port Elizabeth harbor front, 1979, “coffee stain” painting, collection Lou Keane, Bequia
When he first came to Bequia, Peter didn’t have any paints. He used pens and ink. He made paint from instant coffee mixed with water. He’d make a little painting, sell it, and when that money was gone, he’d paint another picture. This one shows the SIMONE V, a Guyanese wooden sloop trading between Barbados and Bequia. The Bequia Chandlery, now the Bequia Bookshop, is at the center of the sketch and the old Barclay’s Bank building, now Solana’s, is at the right. Empty steel drums lined up on the beach were filled with water and used as ballast. The little ground floor shop sold plumbing fittings.
Nolly Simmons

We are excited to share with you some fresh good news:  We are just finishing a new book, which will be published by Ozone Zone. It’s again a Caribbean-related title, full of paintings by Peter Carr, an artist from Australia, who was fascinated by the beauty of Bequia, a small island belonging to St Vincent and the Grenadines. It’s actually much more than a book of paintings. A friend of Peter Carr’s, Julie Savage Lea, herself a fine painter living on Bequia, has put together some fascinating memories and comments by selected Bequia residents, and used them as descriptive reference for Peter’s paintings. The result is a colourful book telling the story of Bequia, its local traditions, important historical moments, treasures, local customs, and much more. You can get quickly drawn into reading this vivid story – it’s like visiting Bequia with a great guide, and having fine watercolours illustrate the story at every step you make.

Port Elizabeth, Bequia, 1999, watercolor, collection of Cedric Bourdereau, FranceUsed by pirates and the French and British Royal Navies in turns, the early settlement, a thriving port with limited fresh water, was initially called “Harbour Town.” In the ensuing years, nineteenth century whaling ships, mostly from New England, gave way to locally-built trading sloops and schooners. In 1937, “The Harbour” was declared “Port Elizabeth” by King George VI, in honor of his oldest daughter. By the 1950’s, charter yachts and motor vessels began to appear in the bay. Traditional fishing and boat building declined. Since the ‘70’s, bare boats and catamarans have become ubiquitous. Rental villas, construction projects, and tourism are now the economic forces in Bequia.Bob Berlinghof

Port Elizabeth, Bequia, 1999, watercolor, collection of Cedric Bourdereau, France
Used by pirates and the French and British Royal Navies in turns, the early settlement, a thriving port with limited fresh water, was initially called “Harbour Town.” In the ensuing years, nineteenth century whaling ships, mostly from New England, gave way to locally-built trading sloops and schooners. In 1937, “The Harbour” was declared “Port Elizabeth” by King George VI, in honor of his oldest daughter. By the 1950’s, charter yachts and motor vessels began to appear in the bay. Traditional fishing and boat building declined. Since the ‘70’s, bare boats and catamarans have become ubiquitous. Rental villas, construction projects, and tourism are now the economic forces in Bequia.
Bob Berlinghof

For us this new book is a natural continuation of our on-going Caribbean theme. Things tend to unfold harmoniously when you are working in the Caribbean.
We met Julie when working on our first Caribbean book ,“Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean”.  We had appointments scheduled nearby on the famous island of Mustique, and we heard about Julie’s studio by chance in our hotel. A quick decision, and a couple of hours later we were on a ferry to Bequia, to visit her in her studio – the charming Mango Cottage. In fact, I believe Julie Lea deserves a separate blog post. Yes, why not? In our next post we will profile Julie and her works – we will invite you to her Mango Cottage. It’s quite a unique place, we’ve dedicated a whole chapter to it in our Tropical Homes book.

Bow of WATER PEARL, built on Belmont beach, Admiralty Bay, 1980, watercolor. An earlier schooner with the same name, owned by J.F. and Reginald Mitchell, was finished near this site, in 1932In the late 70’s, Californian Chris Bowman and I were co-contractors for a 68-ft. traditional wooden schooner, WATER PEARL, built for Bob Dylan near the present Dive Bequia, just off The Belmont Walkway. We hired some of the best shipwrights in Bequia—Albert Crosby, Lincoln Ollivierre, Lanceford Hazell, Herbert Ollivierre, Gilbert Hazell. She was handmade with pride. Her ribs were Bequia white cedar curved to the right shape by the N.E. Trades. Her planking was Guyanese hardwood. Her bulwarks were dark as ebony and finished with gleaming brass fittings. It took three years to build her. We launched her on December 9, 1980, with an all day celebration.Five years later, WATER PEARL ran aground and sank off the coast of Panama. All of Bequia wept. “All...that...HARD...work!” said “Linky” Ollivierre. Nolly Simmons

Bow of WATER PEARL, built on Belmont beach, Admiralty Bay, 1980, watercolor. An earlier schooner with the same name, owned by J.F. and Reginald Mitchell, was finished near this site, in 1932
In the late 70’s, Californian Chris Bowman and I were co-contractors for a 68-ft. traditional wooden schooner, WATER PEARL, built for Bob Dylan near the present Dive Bequia, just off The Belmont Walkway. We hired some of the best shipwrights in Bequia—Albert Crosby, Lincoln Ollivierre, Lanceford Hazell, Herbert Ollivierre, Gilbert Hazell. She was handmade with pride. Her ribs were Bequia white cedar curved to the right shape by the N.E. Trades. Her planking was Guyanese hardwood. Her bulwarks were dark as ebony and finished with gleaming brass fittings. It took three years to build her. We launched her on December 9, 1980, with an all day celebration.
Five years later, WATER PEARL ran aground and sank off the coast of Panama. All of Bequia wept. “All…that…HARD…work!” said “Linky” Ollivierre. Nolly Simmons

Am I drifting away from the main theme – Bequia, a Feast of Color? Yes, perhaps – but as I just said, things about the Caribbean tend to unfold naturally, leading one to another. We are really excited about this new, upcoming book. Attention to detail and close collaboration between all the people involved in the production, made it a truly rewarding experience. I took all the  time to make sure all the paintings look in the book as close to the original as possible, and now it’s ready to go to print. It will be printed by our long-time partners, who stand behind the quality awards received by our Tropical Homes and Exotic Gardens books. Unfortunately, the printing, cargo shipping, and distribution all take time – and therefore this book will not be ready for Christmas. A pity, for coffee table books make really classy and elegant gifts. But there is always the next time, so let’s wait for this newcomer. It will be worth it.

cover-homes-600px-sRGBIf you like coffee table books as much as we do, and if you came upon our blog rather recently and are not familiar with our early posts – then perhaps I should introduce our previous Caribbean-themed books – which enjoy world-wide distribution, numerous international awards and 5-star reviews. Both these titles were multiple times on Amazon’s top-seller lists, and their various enthusiastic endorsements were our best reward for years of passion put into their creation.

From Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean

From Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean

The first one was Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean. San Francisco Book Reviews in 2010 called it “A book so thick and decadent you can almost feel the tropical warmth penetrating from the heady images.”
Another magazine wrote: “A delirious architectural tour of the most exotic and fanciful homes in the Caribbean, this exquisitely photographed collection of eye-popping residences is bursting with playfully challenging design. While the work featured might not be applicable to every home, getting lost in the images is a vacation in itself.

From Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean

From Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean

The sense of liberation and unbridled exuberance is nothing short of thrilling. This gets my vote for best book to curl up with in January when you want a respite from the Wisconsin winter. “ – (Robert Bundy, Milwaukee Home & fine living July 2010)
Readers seem to have a similar opinion, to quote one of Amazon’s: “This is a jaw-droppingly beautiful book; a feast for the eyes! It takes the reader into private worlds of exquisite gardens and houses, created by the most tasteful, sophisticated and (one assumes) wealthy inhabitants of this favoured part of the world.

From Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean

From Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean

Derek Galon’s photography is masterful – full of juicy colours, whimsey and entrancing details. Margaret Gajek’s text is both knowledgeable (she has a background in architectural history) and very readable. Highly recommended. Guaranteed to take you away from a dull, North American winter!”  (- Susan Scott). While spending an enormous amount of time and effort on producing this title, we never expected the reception to go to such degrees of enthusiasm, so these comments are really our greatest reward. You can browse this book, read more about it, and perhaps choose it as your perfect gift, on Amazon’s sites.

From Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean

From Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean

Here are direct book links to three main ones,  where it is available at a big discount now:
Amazon USA
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

Our next Caribbean title was born shortly after Tropical Homes. Exotic Gardens of The Eastern Caribbean followed the success path of our previous title, and even exceeded it with the prestigious Nautilus Book Award 2011. Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean - our next bookIt also received fantastic reviews and endorsements. Halifax Herald wrote: “If you’ve ever visited one of these islands, this is a wonderful keepsake; if you’ve never been, it’s a temptation to go.”

Another comment comes from a known British media celebrity – Stuart Hall from BBC, ITV ( It’s A Knockout, Look North): “It is a masterpiece, an amazing work of sheer artistry, imagination, and indeed of romance.”
Other artists shared this view: “It looks like a labour of love, and you have every right to be proud of it. And it’s amazing that this is bilingual too. Just on the first flipping through, we are already overwhelmed by the images and thoughts. Congratulations!” – Robert Bateman and Birgit Freybe Bateman.

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

Comments of other readers were similarly upbeat: “This book is well written and has stunning photography, superbly arranged and produced. For those of us who have enjoyed travelling to the Eastern Caribbean, these are the pictures we tried to take but couldn’t. This is the kind of book we want on the coffee table, to leaf through and admire.” “This book is absolutely gorgeous! We have it on our coffee table, and are so inspired by all the beautiful photographs. This book would make an excellent gift for anyone interested in gardening, or anyone who loves to daydream about living in the tropics!” (Amazon’s reader).

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

Exotic Gardens shows a wide selection of unique Caribbean gardens, and the final chapter demonstrates ideas for flower arrangements using tropical flowers, with step-by-step instructions for three unique flower arrangements, done by fine flower designers from Grenada, with their original comments. The book also includes an audio CD with one hour of Caribbean nature sounds, to offer an enhanced reading and browsing experience.  Yes, experience may be the word – and it was used in the most recent reader’s comment on Amazon UK site: “Exotic Gardens is more than just another coffee-table book; it is an experience. From small gardens to grand gardens, this tour through selected islands of the Eastern Caribbean is an absolute delight. The photography is nothing short of stunning, to which the insightful commentary is the consummate foil. For garden-lovers visiting the islands, this sumptuous volume is the perfect introduction to some of the rare and exotic plants that might be seen.”

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

This is perhaps the most fantastic review of our book ever, and it makes us truly happy. You can browse Exotic Gardens, read more about it, and perhaps choose it as your perfect gift, on Amazon’s sites.
Here are direct book links to three main ones, where it is available at a big discount now:
Amazon USA
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

Working on several projects at the same time, we missed seeing the newly added readers’ comments on Amazon and other bookstore sites. We discovered them only recently – and so we wanted to share all that with you. After all, this is the blog of a book publisher specializing in Caribbean coffee table books. We often share with you stories about our other trips, shoots and experiences – but Caribbean books are always an important theme that’s very close to us.

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

Announcing our new title made me also step back in time and introduce our previous titles to those of you who found this blog more recently. If you go back to our earliest posts, you will find stories from our first Caribbean trips, sharing the adventure of producing our first title.

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

From Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean

I hope you enjoyed this bit of retrospective, which is always very close to our hearts. In the next blog – more about Bequia artist, Julie Savage Lea.

Cheers! Until next time!
Derek

Photos of paintings copyright Peter Carr, Ozone Zone Books.
Other photos: Derek Galon – please respect our copyright.

GLASGOW NECROPOLIS

When I did my latest post yesterday, sharing with you photos from our Scotland trip last May – I left out one particular part of it. I did it for a reason – I thought this specific part of our trip would make a great stand-alone, separate post.

Glasgow Cathedral – Necropolis

We both love Glasgow, it has such fine character. Every time we travel via Glasgow, we try to explore it some more. Glasgow Cathedral is one of my most favourite places. But when we went there last May – the Cathedral was closed, and we decided to go explore the huge old cemetery behind it.
It is beautifully located over a green hill, overlooking large part of the city. Old architecture of it is quite spectacular, and if you like places like that – you can walk there for hours.

It dates back to Victorian times, and it’s design was selected in a way of competition, with the first prize  of… 50 British Pounds. Now, close to the top of the hill you can see tombs of influential people, artists and politicians alike. (Google “Glasgow Necropolis” to find much more info, or check Friends of Glasgow Necropolis web site.)

At the entrance, you are welcomed by large sign “NECROPOLIS”. Darkened by age grave stones give this place unique character, and I could not resist photographing it for  hours…
As the path goes higher and higher, to the most spectacular old tombs at the top, you are dazzled by the sheer size of that land, and rich architecture of old graves and tombs. You feel respect to the place, fascination, also sensing the eery beauty this cemetery possess.
Necropolis’ dark character, quiet majesty, but also a slight creepiness of these dark monuments bring to mind photography noire, perhaps also the goth style. Surely, dense green colour of grass makes it quite vivid all together – but what if photographs are edited as black and white?

 I created series called Necropolis, and edited all of it’s photographs in such way that they are 90% black and white, having only 10% of colour in them. All photos were bracketed and later fusioned for more aggressive textures of all monuments and stones.

At first I was a bit upset at the cathedral keeper, for him closing on that day some half an hour earlier than he should. But after taking all these Necropolis photos and exploring it – I found it actually good luck. With the cathedral open regular hours – I would not wander behind it, and would not discover the Necropolis.

I hope you like these photographs, some of them are available as art prints at the Gallery Vibrante – photo art gallery co-op offering quality art at low prices. Check them out there in larger sizes.
And – as always – if you like this post, SHARE it, and FOLLOW our blog to get all next posts in your email.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Derek

All photos copyright Derek Galon, Ozone Zone Books. Please respect it.
Assistance – Margaret Gajek (author of Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean and other books.)

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Happy Valentine! Here are flowers for you…


Hello,
allow me to present here another little treat – one more photo from our upcoming book Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean. This time it is a photo showing fields of Anturium at Montreal Gardens in St Vincent. This garden is amazing, and huge fields of various types of Anturium are simply mind-blowing. Red, pink, white, cream… almost overwhelming experience.
Anturiums do really well in that climate, being high in the hills of St Vincent, with lots of mist and breeze…
I hope you will enjoy this pic as much as we do!

Looks like soon we are going for next photo trip – this time to St Lucia, Dominica, Martinique, Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica and Honduras. It will be six weeks of location work. Surely, I will post some of photos made there. Stay tuned – I will post more before our departure. Cheerrs, and Happy Valentine Day!
Derek

PS.
Here is another recent recommendation of our Tropical Homes book

Hello,
Our first book goes to print now, and we are quite happy about the process. It was really busy year with long field trips to various locations, setup of our office, negotiations with several book distributors, book printers, you name it! But – it looks like the hardest set-up part is already done, and in about 6 weeks we should have our first title ready for distribution!
We signed contract with a very good international book distributor, and look forward to see our titles in many book stores in North America, Caribbean, and Europe.

We will work on distribution to other countries and continents progressively.

It is also time to start layout design of our next title “Tropical Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean”.
But – it is a different story…
For now, we will keep you posted about progress of this book, and other related news.
Ah, one more thing – Lex – our photo tech consultant will share with you soon some of really valuable tips and recommendations related to fine photography – recommendations which also helped to improve our work! Stay tuned, and thanks for your visit!

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