Equally the trade winds, azure sea and bright sun of the Caribbean, like Gauguin with the Pacific, seem to have impacted the artist’s disposition and fuelled his artistic leanings. Unlike other contemporaries, even within the Impressionist Movement, Pissarro painted outside for the duration of each piece of work, often completing works in just one sitting.
Though he would abandon Impressionism briefly in favour of the more exact style of pointillism of Seurat and Signac he returned to it and all his life was devoted to embodying his immediate sensations in his painting. His commitment to capturing the subtle nuances of the natural world, which had previously been depicted in a grandiose and unrealistically ordered manner, caused early critics to be outraged.
It was also on St Thomas where Pissarro met his mentor Fritz Melbye – a Dutch painter who became both his teacher and his good friend. Despite his father wanting him to pursue a more stable career, encouragement from Melbye led him to the decision to become a painter professionally. The pair then moved to Caracas in Venezuela where Pissarro painted incessantly and indiscriminately, capturing everything he came across for two years, developing his style and individuality.