Island Wisdom Part 2 – Peace and Patience

beach girl in Puerto Plata, near the brand new Amber Cove port,  copyright by Irene Rowley

On the beach in Puerto Plata where I got the carved fish. March 2015

I am a humble traveler and artist, not an expert on Caribbean art and music. Before I traveled to the Caribbean, I only knew about the islands through reggae music and popular lyrics by Bob Marley, such as in the wonderful song, One Love, One Heart… continue reading

Island Wisdom Part 1 – Everything Counts

AFI [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Botanical Garden, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

I’ve been reflecting on this blog and what secrets to share as the year draws to a close, and one of the key pieces of wisdom I can share with you now. Here it is: I learned from a quiet shopkeeper in Puerto Plata, the Dominican Republic, that whole cultures  are made and supported from art scraps.

Puerto Plata is a city on the north side of the island and just a few hours from the Haitian border.  Christopher Columbus settled in Puerto Plata,  founding the first European-American colony in this very region. So as a traveler I walked on historic ground and wondered deeply about how cultures survive for centuries… continue reading

A Painter’s Love Affair with Wood

my birdhouse with tole painting and blue pickling stains, by Irene Rowley

my blue birdhouse

Don’t you love wood? Wood is the substrate for many beautiful pieces of art.

Here is a modest example of painted wood art: a Swedish plate that depicts a rural scene and windmill, my cedar box,  my bird house pickled blue, a fruit still life painted on a wood cutting board, and a folk art cow panel, that I saw in Gilroy recently: continue reading