Artist maintains Miss Lassie’s visions

Cayman News reports on Mind’s Eye, Miss Lassie’s South Sound home, which is now a museum maintained by the National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) and “a significant piece of Caymanian heritage.” Gladwyn K. “Lassie” Bush is a 4th generation Caymanian who began painting at the age of 62 (see more at’s Eye).  [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

Local artist Sue Howe is touching up images at the historic home of Caymanian visionary artist Gladwyn Bush, aka Miss Lassie, to help protect the paintings from the weather. In 2013 Howe made copies of the paintings on the doors and windows on the house after Miss Lassie’s originals were placed in storage to preserve them. But just like the images Bush created, which she would repaint when the weather dulled them, the copies also need a touch-up.

Mind’s Eye, Miss Lassie’s South Sound home, is now a museum maintained by the National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) and is a significant piece of Caymanian heritage as well as an important work of art in its own right. The vivid paintings, or “markings” as Bush called them, were reflections of visions she had, which she was inspired to reproduce all over the windows and doors of the small, authentic turn of the century, wattle and daub home.

The reproductions have been temporarily removed for a few weeks to allow Howe to work on recoloring them and once again showcase the brilliance of Miss Lassie’s work, the CNCF said in a release.

Over the years that Bush painted on the house, the weather took its toll on her “markings”, which would fade after a time and she would often touch them up or repaint them as inspiration stirred her. CNCF Artistic Director Henry Muttoo said that this “added new lustre and longer life to her paintings and also helped preserve the wood. Now that Miss Lassie is no longer with us in the flesh, the images she left must be preserved as faithfully as possible.”

When the CNCF took possession of the property a few years after her death, the original windows were stored away for conservation and safekeeping. CNCF engaged Howe to copy Miss Lassie’s original window and door images onto the newly built ones and now they are asking her to recolour them before they begin to flake.

“Sue did a terrific job on the replacement windows when the house was first conserved and opened to the public and because she is so familiar with the construction of the images, she has been invited to repaint the images a second time,” Muttoo said.

“I’m very excited to able to revisit the original pieces with new eyes and stay as close to her work style and subtle colour variation as possible, and to capture still more depth of colour and detail of the shaping of her markings,” Howe said. “I want to bring these replicas a further richness and detail, and just really celebrate how much complexity even the most seemingly simplest of designs holds.”

She added that it was “amazing the number of new things that appeared to me this time around”, describing the work as like visiting a friend you haven’t seen for a long time. “It is a wonderful and magical location to be in, and I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to work where she lived. That really adds something for me.”

CNCF has suspended its guided tours of ‘Mind’s Eye – The Visionary World of Miss Lassie’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic but expects to resume the tours soon.


For more information about “Mind’s Eye – The Visionary World of Miss Lassie”, see:  (Cayman National Cultural Foundation)  (World Monuments Fund)

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