Donald (Jackie) Hinkson

"I can pay Hinkson no deeper compliment than to summon the same admiration and technical astonishment for him as I do for Winslow Homer." So poet Derek Walcott describes the work of Donald (Jackie) Hinkson.

Born in Port of Spain in 1942, Hinkson is Trinidad's leading watercolorist, an art he has sought to perfect in an unending quest to capture the light and forms of the Caribbean.

Hinkson showed in interest in painting while still at Richmond Boy's School, where he copied characteres from comic books. This interest was continued when he attended Queen's Royal College, where he began to paint in oils. His major influences at this time were the French Impressionists and English Watercolourists, whose works he saw in books that he borrowed from the library.

At Queen's Royal College, Hinkson met and worked with Peter Minshall, now best known for his serious and complex Carnival productions. The two young artists would paint out doors, in sea lots and the wharf area of Port of Spain. For criticism they would go to Peter's father, Wilson Minshall, also an artist.

In 1960, Hinkson exhibited his work in 'Five Young Artists.' The exhibition included the work of Pat Bishop, Isaiah James Boodhoo, and Peter Minshall. Shortly after, with a scholarship from the French Government, Hinkson pursued a non-diploma course for a year at the Academie Julien. In Paris, he was able to study the works he had previously only been able to see in reproductions.

In 1965, a Canadian Government Scholarship took him to Edmonton, Alberta, where he gained a Bachelor in Fine Arts Degree and a Diploma in Education.

In 1970, Jackie Hinkson returned to Trinidad. He was immediately and forcibly struck by the light and rhythms of his native region. He launched himself into 'plein air' watercolor painting exploring the medium almost exclusively for the next two and a half decades -- working, traveling, and exhibiting throughout the Caribbean from Trinidad to Jamaica. During those decades he also worked in conte crayons and produced some ink sketches.

It is his work during this period which is generally regarded as 'Hinkson' and to which many observers draw parallels to the significance of the early watercolorist who recorded Trinidad's landscape in the 19th century -- Jean-Michel Cazabon.

Since then, Donald (Jackie) Hinkson has been commissioned by the government of Trinidad and Tobago to do a series of drawings on local architecture, has completed several murals throughout the country, and has been featured in a number of international exhibitions.


  • Queen's Royal College, Trinidad
  • Academie Julien, Paris
  • University of Alberta, Canada


  • 'Five Young Artists,' Port of Spain, Trinidad
  • State University of New York, Albany
  • London