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Artist at heart

Anesta Henry

Artist at heart

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Since the age of five, Tracey Williams has been sketching and creating interesting drawings and paintings.
It is not surprising that 40-plus years down the road, she is painting a colourful career in the art sector.
“I paint to fulfil a deep need and longing inside of me to express myself. It is a passion that excites me which found expression,” said this week’s Wednesday Woman.
Putting down her brush and canvas at her The Art Hub business, located on Hincks Street, Williams sat down with the MIDWEEK NATION to engage in an interview on her life as an artist and how it evolved from raw talent and pure passion.
“From the very young age of five I recognized that I loved to draw, colour and paint. I use to draw a lot on paper. I remember clearly drawing a parrot, staying in the lines and painting it in pretty colours.”
And though from an early age Williams saw the profession of artist on her résumé, it took some time before it came to fruition. “When I left school I went to do the Fine Arts programme at the Barbados Community College. When I left there I went to work at a printery where I applied to work as an artist, but there was no vacancy for that position so I went in as a sales person and painted on weekends and evenings,” she explained.
“I left there and went to another area of the printing industry. Sixteen years ago, I left there and finally started my art career. As I sought to establish my art career, I [was under] the tutelage of Allison Chapman-Andrews and Stanley Greaves. I apprenticed in their homes, especially Stanley who was my main mentor.”
Through her apprenticeship, she not only developed her technical skill but also found out, “who I was – why I want to paint”.
Working mainly in acrylic or oils on canvas, Williams is best known for her flower paintings. Recently, though, she has been developing a love for highlighting the Barbadian landscape.
“My paintings of flowers and people have developed over the years. I have added a spiritual element to them by using a halo effect that I [have] witnessed at times around persons and plants. This is an energy I believe surrounds life forms.
“I am attracted to flowers because of the mysterious energy their colours seem to give. In addition, there is a kind of sexuality seen in some like anthuriums. For this reason, I tend to paint them often.”
She sees the days of the week and months of the year in “blocks of colour”. She knows some people might think that’s weird. But, according to the 47-year-old, people who understand the language of an artist would grasp why she has the “blocks of colour” perspective.
“An artist is a very emotional person. Through their work, an artist shows a lot of themselves. It is their language they put out there. Actually, every artist should have their own unique language, and you find out about their language through their work,” she said.
Williams is also focused on building and preserving the art sector in Barbados. From a retail aspect, along with her partner Jeffrey Batson, Williams sells her paintings and art supplies at The Art Hub. Through a special schools programme, she encourages students to develop an interest in art.   
“It is difficult to explain my love and passion for art. When I can’t get to paint or produce, there is an overwhelming burden or feeling of heaviness that comes over me. I have to produce; I have to paint; I have to draw something. I need to express myself through art,” she said.