ALTON Lowe is a famous Abaco artist whose roots in Abaco stretch back seven generations.
The quiet, unassuming artist has devoted more than 40 years of his life to capturing the beauty of Abaco on canvass.
Whether they?re images of the first Abaco settlers, or Abaco seascapes and beaches, Lowe?s paintings are so perfect that many art lovers have commented they are almost photographic.
His art hangs in the homes of international businesses, the Royal Family of Britain, Bahamas prime ministers and art collectors around the world.
Lowe first started painting still life?s and branched off into wildlife, boats, Junkanoo and shells. His paintings of Loyalist Abaco homes are renowned.
His artist?s brush captures the brilliant colours of Abaco ? from the cobalt and turquoise sea shades, to the delicate pinks of hibiscus and bougainvillea.
Lowe was born on Green Turtle Cay, Abaco. He inherited his gift from his father, Albert, whom he credits for ?drawing beautifully? and crafting wonderful Bahamian ship models. Albert sat at the dining table and drew ships. Alton tried to copy him.
In high school, Alton learned how talented his father was. He later established the Albert Lowe Museum on Green Turtle Cay in memory of his father.
At nine, young Alton studied art with an American couple who lived on the Abaco island. Of the 14 children invited to study, all but Alton dropped out.
Alton sold his first painting when he was a lad to the late Edward St George, chairman of Grand Bahama Port Authority. He pocketed $12 ? a significant sum for an Abaco boy. He spent it all on art supplies.
Alton finished school in Abaco at the age of 16. His American art instructors took him to Miami Beach. He worked and studies in their art gallery for two years.
He recalls that his entire world changed when he left Abaco in 1961. He met lots of famous people at the Miami Beach art gallery and went to the Frank Reilly School of Art in New York. He says this was the greatest experience of his life.
But Abaco was never far from his mind and he principle home is in Green Turtle Cay. He founded the Albert Lowe Museum at New Plymouth in 1976. Then a few years later, he opened the Loyalist Memorial Sculpture Garden in honour of the Loyalists who settled in Abaco.
In spite of his successful career, Lowe is still a solid, down to earth Abaco man who has more than 30 Nassau art shows under his belt. He still takes the time to write a personal note ? ?see you at the show,? in his art invitations.
Lowe has perhaps done more to promote the beauty of Abaco than anyone else. He is truly an ambassador of Abaco.
Abaco has many talented locals. Andy Albury, who lives on Man-O-War Cay, stands out among them.
He?s a master carpenter who has preserved a piece of the past in the form of his beautiful, hand crafted wooden model boats.
And he?s made quite a name for himself with his wooden treasures.
Mr. Albury has taken a craft of three generations and turned it into a hobby and business that has survived the test of time.
The models replicate the Abaco boats of days gone by, but adorn the most modern homes in the islands.
Mr Albury has carpentry in his blood ? literally.
His grandfather and father before built the beautiful wooden boats that Man-O-War Cay was famous for. These Abaco boats were not only gorgeous, they were very seaworthy.
The Alburys ? as did the other masters of their day ? fashioned the dinghies and sloops from hard Abaco pine, a truly hardy wood from the forests of Abaco.
They formed the skeleton of the boat by hand, working the ribs to fit precisely to the shape of a lead-bar template. Pine wood planks formed the hull of the boat.
In the 1960s, the Abaco pine forests were tragically destroyed by external logging businesses, which exported the pine abroad.
Mahogany and other hard wood was imported, but as the years went by, wood was replaced with fiberglass and today very few of the beautiful wooden boats are built.
Andy Albury started woodworking with his father, Emerson, when he was a young boy.
Emmerson followed in the footsteps of his father, George.
Although the era of the famous handcrafted Abaco boats appears to be dying, the art lives on in the form of Andy?s wooden model boats.
These models are master pieces.
The hull and sail ? rounded on one side, flat on the other – are fashioned from wood and mounted on a panel of wood. The wood is sanded to velvet and polished to a high shine with clear coats to enhance the beauty of the grain.
They are proudly displayed in many Abaco homes, and coveted as gifts and fund raiser prizes.
If you are visiting Man-O-War Cay, go and check out the Albury models for yourself.
Mr Albury, who also makes furniture, can be found in his workshop opposite Williard Albury?s Boat shop.
Sonya Albury Weatherford, a cousin of Abaco real estate agent Mailin Sands, grew up on the island of Man-O-War Cay eating conch every Saturday and boating or swimming in the afternoons after school.
Sonya has been interested in art for as long as Mailin remembers. Sonya?s father, Andy Albury , is a master carpenter.
?We went to school together and had this wonderful teacher who I?m sure none of her students have ever forgotten, Ms. Westhoven! Ms. Westhoven was an art teacher and she encouraged Sonya with her talent and desire to do art,? Mailin recalls.
Sonya has been influenced by the beautiful seascapes, plant life and wildlife of Abaco.
She sews, and works in pencil, charcoal and acrylics.
She produces art on commission and also appears at the local arts and craft shows in Abaco as well as Nassau, including the Bahamas National Trust?s to annual Jollification .
?Sonya?s underwater scenes are some of my favorites and I?m sure living in this paradise of Abaco and experiencing nature at its best has influenced her. I think she is quite talented. Talent definitely runs in her family?s blood,? Mailin says.
Check out Sonya?s website