Es­cape Artist

ALONG THE SAME SHORES WHERE IAN FLEM­ING DREAMED UP HIS ICONIC JAMES BOND, A LON­DON-BASED PAINTER RE­TREATS TO AN OPEN-AIR VILLA TO CHASE HER MUSE

Coastal Living - - NOVEMBER 2018 - BY MIMI READ PHO­TOGRAPHS BY BRIE WIL­LIAMS STYLING BY LIZ STRONG

Painter Pauline Amos fol­lows in Ian Flem­ing’s foot­steps, find­ing her ul­ti­mate muse in a tree-shaded Ja­maica com­pound with views of the Caribbean Sea.

TWO OR THREE MONTHS of every year, Bri­tish artist Pauline Amos ducks out of the gray Lon­don win­ter and heads for her Ja­maican villa tucked into a grove of Moringa and ba­nana trees. It’s a nine-hour trip from Gatwick Air­port to Kingston, and then a quick flight to the tiny Ian Flem­ing In­ter­na­tional Air­port 10 min­utes from her door. But the lay­over, if you can call it that, is more than a pass-through. Amos has a fa­vorite art shop in Kingston, and it’s only af­ter she pops in to stock up on paints and lo­cally made can­vases that she is ready for her so­journ along the Caribbean Sea.

“When I get to my house, the scenery, the fo­liage, the in­ten­sity of col­ors—I just want to cap­ture it all and paint it,” says Amos, whose mul­ti­me­dia work ranges from oil ab­stracts to per­for­mance and au­dio pieces. “The water is a beau­ti­ful turquoise, and it goes right into my paint­ings. I record the sounds of Ja­maica, with

its storms, its amaz­ing thun­der­claps, and the mu­sic of the sea. Ev­ery­thing on this is­land be­comes a part of my art.”

It’s lit­tle won­der the spirit of Ja­maica has seeped un­der Amos’s skin and into her work. The north coast of this col­or­ful is­land 90 miles south of Cuba has long been a mag­net for artists. No­ta­bles like ac­tor/play­wright Noël Cow­ard and painter Lu­cian Freud have traipsed its white-sand beaches and taken in its teal wa­ters. Amos’s house it­self has a siz­able cre­ative pedi­gree; it’s lo­cated on the grounds of the leg­endary Gold­enEye re­sort, a prop­erty pi­o­neered by the late Bri­tish author Ian Flem­ing in the 1950s (af­ter he bought a for­mer don­key race­track in the small ba­nana port town of Ora­cabessa, Ja­maica). It’s here that Flem­ing built a sim­ple, open-air house with enor­mous win­dows where he liked to sit and gaze out at the sea. And it’s here that he dreamed up the suave and ruth­less James Bond char­ac­ter and wrote the se­ries of stylish spy thrillers that made both of them house­hold names.

Amos’s villa was one of sev­eral built in the 1990s as extensions of Flem­ing ’s for­mer home. Con­structed of pol­ished con­crete block, ochre­col­ored stone, and wood, the home sits on a bluff that rises some 20 feet above the water. It’s a sub­lime perch, one she only dis­cov­ered when a bro­ken arm left her un­able to paint. “Lon­don

Amos carved out a 10-foot shut­tered win­dow to give the liv­ing area a broader view of the sea. The hats and rug were crafted by lo­cal straw ar­ti­sans.

Right: Lo­cal trea­sures such as Blackwell rum, fresh limes, and poin­ciana blooms light up every cor­ner of the villa. Below: The bam­boo-walled en­try to Amos’s villa, Strange­ways, in­spired by the name of a se­cret agent in Flem­ing’s Dr. No.

The petite kitchen con­veys sim­ple, el­e­men­tal beauty with con­crete coun­ter­tops and teak win­dows.

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