Painting Bonaire

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - February 14, 2013

Above: Sail to Klein by Janice Huckaby

By Alexander Britell

BONAIRE — For more than two decades, Janice Huckaby has been chronicling Bonaire, brush stroke by brush stroke.

Across more than 700 paintings, Huckaby, who first came to the island in 1991, has created an artistic narrative of Bonaire, from the underwater seascapes for which the island is famous to its historic buildings.

It was not the first choice for Huckaby, who came to the Dutch Caribbean island from Grand Cayman in 1991.

“In the early 80s, I had come diving to Bonaire,” she says, “but would not have considered it as a place to live.”

But for Huckaby, who came to the island to work in underwater photography, a initial one-year contract begat another, and soon, after four years, she decided to stay indefinitely.

“I taught underwater photography, collected a lot of images of the island, and started to paint a little bit more,” she says. “Eventually, it led to a full-time painting career.”

Above: Janice Huckaby Baillie (CJ Photo)

Today, the result is the JanArt Gallery on Kaya Grandi in downtown Kralendijk, where Huckaby greets visitors to offer them a glimpse of Bonaire on canvas.

In 1996, she first established an art gallery and studio, first opening in Antriol. She now uses that studio for lessons and art classes.

“I try to diversify,” she says. “For a long time, I painted only underwater — then I realized that the land was pretty special, too. So I started creating the landscapes, and one day I decided I didn’t want to choose between land and underwater — I wanted to paint above and below water. So I paint both.”

According to Huckaby, the art culture in Bonaire has changed dramatically over the years.

“It’s changed quite a bit,” she says. “There are a lot of artists that have moved here from other places.”

When she first arrived on the island, few artists pained landscapes in Bonaire, she says. Much of the art was of a more religious nature.

“I decided that my goal was to paint what you see, to give the person who’s visiting a nice representation of what they saw,” she says. “I wanted to give them a good memory, a feeling that Bonaire is a special place — so they could have a visual tangent to see when they get home.”

“I started creating paintings to make sure that everybody left Bonaire with a happy feeling, something they could enjoy for the rest of their life.”

Popular Posts

The 10 Best Overwater Bungalows in the Caribbean, From Aruba to Belize

Overwater villas at Caribbean resorts aren’t just a novelty — they’re also among the most luxurious and beautiful accommodations you can stay in. And while all of the bungalows perched above the waves have their charms, some stand out among […]

The 10 Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean, From Antigua to Jamaica

all-inclusive hammock cove

All-inclusive resorts are more popular than ever, particularly in the Caribbean. The all-inclusive concept just keeps winning over travelers, who have been drawn to the ease, comfort and convenience of the concept. But the biggest thing within the space isn’t […]

The Bahamas’ Atlantis Paradise Island Just Completed a $150M Renovation

walking on the beach in nassau

A new eatery by Michelin-star Chef Michael White. A new-look casino. State-of-the-art guest rooms and the Caribbean’s first Shake Shack.  The Bahamas’ Atlantis Paradise Island resort has officially completed a $150 million resort-wide renovation, a significant project that included a […]

Related Posts bonaire beach bars best

How to Fly Nonstop to Bonaire Right Now 

It’s easier than ever to fly to the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire right now, thanks to expanded service from a number of major carriers.  United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and WestJet are all currently operating service to […]

The Newest Adults-Only Resort in Curacao Comes With Its Own Village

kura botanica pool with chairs and roofs

If it takes a village to make a great vacation, you’ve come to the right place in Curacao’s Kura Botanica Hotel. A boutique property with 46 recently refreshed rooms, the “new” Kura Botanica was carved out of the former Hotel […]

The Island of Bonaire Just Set an All-Time Tourism Record  

buddy dive

The Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire set an all-time record for tourism last year, according to new data from Tourism Corporation Boniare.  The island welcomed 169,706 visitors in 2023, a number that was 8 percent higher than its total in […]


Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.

No. Thank You