Artist still fascinated by Cayman’s charm

Maureen Andersen has shared her love for painting with islanders for almost four decades, and at age 87, her passion for art is as fervent as ever.

Ms. Andersen’s little studio in West Bay, called Galleria Marianne, is filled with her work: oil and watercolor paintings that, she hopes, someday someone will purchase.

Maureen Andersen holds a painting of ‘Svetlana,’ which she completed in 2009.
Maureen Andersen holds a painting of ‘Svetlana,’ which she completed in 2009.

Colorful paintings featuring traditional Caymanian houses, people, Seven Mile Beach, flowers, abstracts and much more line Ms. Andersen’s front porch. Some of the pieces of artwork are yellowing with time and some of the frames are splintering, but she is optimistic that they will someday make a pretty picture in someone’s office or home.

“From the time I was 12, I loved to paint,” Ms. Andersen said.

Born in Derby, England, Ms. Andersen began her formal art training at the Slade School of Fine Art in London and received her art teachers diploma from the Art Institute of Education, also in London. She made her way to Cayman to be a school teacher in 1976.

“I had been to Cayman and the Sister Islands before that and found they were all lovely in a different way,” she said.

She developed a love of Cayman’s flora and vistas, and since her arrival in Cayman, she has been busy painting scenes and abstracts of the island in oils and watercolors.

She taught at John Gray High School and was head of the art department at the middle school. She also taught at Cayman Brac High School before retiring in 1991 at age 60.

Since that time she has painted and drawn the landscapes of faraway places, but her main love is for the Brac.

Ms. Andersen sits on her porch with her paintings. - Photos: Jewel Levy
Ms. Andersen sits on her porch with her paintings. – Photos: Jewel Levy

Her little gallery is right beside her house, and visitors are offered an enthusiastic welcome. Her paintings can also be found in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. One is a painting of Miss Lassie’s House, another of a seagrape tree, and another of a yellow house.

“I do natural painting and love abstracts … it’s a sort of mix-up,” Ms. Andersen said. “People who meet me and talk about art know abstract is a bit of turning and going … you can do something in abstract that you cannot do in plain art.

Pointing to one painting on the floor, she says, “That’s a painting of Bath, England. I got it from a book, I must admit …

“Bath in England is the most delicately elegant place in the world, and there is a bridge over the river and its got little houses on it and that is very unusual,” she said.

Turning her attention to a painting of a beautiful woman, Ms. Andersen said “That’s Svetlana … This lady came to me in 2009 for me to paint her portrait but she never came back for the painting … It is one of my favorite pieces, but I will sell it for a small price.”