All At Sea - The Caribbean's Waterfront Magazine
Nancy Terrell -- December 2007 Issue
Annie Westcott-MacPhail - A Painting Sailor
Annie Westcott is a multi-faceted woman—there is not much at which she does not excel. A first rate sailor, Annie is a graduate of the Chapman School of Seamanship where, at 23 and after graduation, she commanded a 75’ 1928 motor yacht on the Chesapeake Bay from Maryland to New England. Annie was also a graphic artist in Boston for an international design firm during her twenties before relocating to the Caribbean almost two decades ago. As artist and yachtswoman, this talented gal now owns her own communications agency.
Growing up in Westport, Connecticut, where she was one of six children, Annie spent much of her free time in her father’s studio. An industrial designer and owner of his own business, Westcott’s studio was a place that inspired and influenced his daughter’s choices later in life. Surrounded by artist materials, drafting tables, and projects, Annie loved to create from a very young age.
After moving to the BVI in the early 1990s to operate BVI Yacht Sales, Annie discovered a balance between commercial art, to make her living, and fine art, to fill her leisure time and fulfill her desire to create. Not only did she sell yachts, she also re-branded her company and developed a new marketing plan for it.
During her time off, she raced yachts throughout the Caribbean and crewed on deliveries from Trinidad, through the island chain, and from the Caribbean to the U.S. During these deliveries she discovered time to paint, bringing along her water colors and capturing scenes out on the ocean with its changing light on the sea’s surface.
“Nine years ago I decided that it was time to update my computer skills if I wanted to stay in the business of design and marketing,” Annie says. “I enrolled in a trade college in Connecticut to learn the technical side of software development and the use of graphics software. This ultimately afforded me the ability to start my own design and communications agency.
“The majority of my clients tend to be marine related businesses from chandleries and marinas to marine insurance, yacht charter companies, and even a company in Tanzania and St. Maarten that recycles retired sailing dhows to create furniture. I have a creative mind in networking people and businesses which is the ‘key’ in this region.”
For example, Annie was the media contact, behind the scenes, for Team Wave, the all female race team that campaigned throughout the Caribbean to raise awareness about domestic violence. She designed the logo, built the website, wrote and distributed press releases, did radio and television interviews for the team, and even flew up to Newport Rhode Island to be the auctioneer in a team fund raiser. Team Wave ultimately won their class in the 2006 Centennial Newport Bermuda race.
“However, I find that in my spare time I will always go back to basics - paper and paint or paper and pastel,” she says. “We are inundated with commercialism every day so I find solace in creating, seeing, and appreciating fine art. My work almost always includes water—to me one of the most difficult things to paint. I never tire of painting the sea, and living in the Caribbean means there is no shortage of subject matter.”
Her inspiration comes from artists such as Winslow Homer and Antoine Chapon. “To my mind it is the most incredible talent to have—simple strokes that use line, weight, and colour to show movement and depth. To tell stories like that on paper with a brush is what I strive to master.”
Many of her paintings are in homes of friends, family and patrons.
Although Annie works out of St. Maarten, she is currently in the process of setting up her studio on Tortola and insists “it will be a solitary place with no computers or cell phones, where the only waves in the air will be brain waves that I hope to churn out with paper and brush.”
Annie Westcott can be reached on line at [email protected]
Nancy Terrell is a freelance writer who has lived in the Caribbean for 21 years. She holds an MA Degree in Literature and is currently cruising on her trawler, Swan Song, throughout the Caribbean.