Nathalie Marineau found out the hard way how intense the Cayman sun can get. She watched as it melted the paint on her canvas.
Instead of getting frustrated, Mrs. Marineau accepted it as part of the process, even incorporating the phenomenon into her new exhibit “Melting Skies,” which opens Tuesday at Full of Beans coffee shop on Smith Road.
The textured, swirling abstract acrylic paintings in the exhibit are Mrs. Marineau’s latest efforts to capture the light and feel of the island environment.
The paintings, she said, “are all representative of the sky and the sun and how it’s shaping nature around it. I like how the light here is so blinding at times that it changes the shape of things.”
Rather than trying to capture a physical moment in time, Mrs. Marineau said she tries to depict the essence of how it feels.
“Like this one with the sun kind of melting,” she said, pointing to a painting where trails of yellow from the sun run down into the rest of the composition. “I know that moment.”
Mrs. Marineau found her art through writing. A native of Montreal, she studied literature at the University of Quebec at Montreal, earning a master’s degree in literature and art criticism. After writing about art for awhile, she felt inspired to put down her pen and pick up a brush.
“I found it was the perfect expression for me,” she said. “It’s an anchor. I always carry a notebook and draw.”
Mrs. Marineau began painting cityscapes and continued with that theme after moving to New York in 2007. The work, she said was typically “very dark and geometric.”
Cayman changed that.
Mrs. Marineau moved here in 2012 when her husband, Charles, got a job in the financial sector. She was overwhelmed by the light.
“The colors were so bright and bold,” she said. “I had to find a way to interpret them. I tried to use a lot of texture.”
Most of the works in the exhibit show that process.
“I like to layer the colors,” Mrs. Marineau said. “I might start with a splash of red and then add on. Some of them, I come back around and add layers and layers.”
Parenting duties made it difficult for her to find the time to paint, she said, but now that her two children are school age, she’s had more freedom to pursue the work. The paintings in the exhibit, she said, were done in the past four years.
“I thought this collection was making sense, together,” she said. “It’s all about the senses. That’s why I call it ‘Melting Skies.’”
A reception for the show will be held 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, at Full of Beans, in the Pasadora Place shopping center on Smith Road. The show runs through Nov. 30.