Life at 80: My love of solo travel, creating art and living by the sea

CHRIS DUNNE catches up with Cork artist Roz Brazil White, who has travelled extensively in her life and chats about the places she’s been, her work, and why she’s drawn to the sea
Life at 80: My love of solo travel, creating art and living by the sea
Roz Brazil White, Ardfield, County Cork. Pictutre: Melanie Mullen.

ARTIST Roz Brazil White is living proof that a new study which claimed that your 80s can be the happiest years of your life, is extremely valid.

“I’ve always love painting since I was a child growing up near Galley Head in West Cork,” says Roz, aged 80, who now lives in Ardfield, and who has travelled extensively during her long and healthy lifetime.

“I like to travel solo. It is a real adventure!” she says.

Full of the joys of life, Roz belies the fact that she is in her ninth decade.

“Let’s just say I celebrated my 80th birthday!” she laughs.

She could give 80-year-old style queen and fashion blogger, Eileen Smith, a run for her money.

“That’s what my grandchildren tell me!” says Roz.

She was due to hold an art exhibition in the Dunmore House House, this April — but it will now go ahead at a later date, when the establishment re-opens after the COVID-19 crisis.

Roz Brazil White with some of her work.
Roz Brazil White with some of her work.

“I have sea genes coursing through me,” says Roz, who is donating a percentage of the proceeds from her art exhibition to the RNLI.

“I like to support the local Inchydoney Inshore Lifeboat Association,” she adds.

“My grandfather and my father, Walter Brazil, who served in the Defence Forces, both went to sea and they travelled all over the world.”

Roz has exhibited widely in Ireland and latterly further afield. She has also had a one-woman exhibition on Bofin Island, the Kenny Gallery, County Clare, and in the AIB Bank Centre, Ballsbridge, Dublin in the Personal Choice Exhibition. She also regularly exhibits with the Limerick Art Society.

“I get my inspiration from the beautiful West Cork scenery and from the wild ruggedness of Connemara, Co. Galway,” says Roz.

She has the perfect artists’ studio to work in where she creates her seascapes on canvas. Her oil paintings are easily recognisable by the beautiful ochre/golden palette and soft cool blue she uses.

“Now that I am living back near my childhood home in Ardfield, I have a fantastic vantage point in my sunroom overlooking the ocean,” says Roz.

“I make the most of the panoramic view.”

She also makes the most of life.

“Yes. I do,” says Roz. “There is always something new and wonderful to discover.”

Roz and her husband John White, didn’t always live beside the sea.

“We lived in the Burren in County Clare for some years,” says Roz, who worked with the Irish Tourist Board.

“I was involved in Shannon Tourism and I did a lot of work with Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.”

Roz, who has wanderlust and sea-faring in her genes, didn’t always stay put in one place.

A painting by Roz Brazil White
A painting by Roz Brazil White

She laughs.

“I think the travel bug is definitely in my genes too!”

She has travelled to far-flung places, touring solo, adding: That takes a bit of courage and grit doesn’t it?

“I think travel broadens the mind and exploring different countries is always memorable. I organise myself and take off myself!”

She doesn’t do things by halves.

“I’ve been to Senegal in West Africa. Gambia has always fascinated me,” says this very independent lady.

Roz enjoys all the journeys and the experiences that they bring.

“The Cape Verde Islands, spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean, were amazing,” says Roz.

“I loved travelling to the West Indies. The people are so welcoming and so delightful. It is a colourful place.”

Does she have any qualms travelling so far alone?

“Not at all,” says Roz.

“I am never daunted travelling alone. I don’t find it at all daunting.

“You always meet lovely people and when I go on cruises I always feel included.

“Having dinner or enjoying activities aboard the ship with new friends is always exciting.

“Meeting new people is part and parcel of the joy of travelling.”

She always feels inspired.

“On sea, and on land, I always find the natural beauty and wonder of nature,” say Roz.

“I love capturing beautiful scenes of the sea and of the countryside on canvas.”

What does John think of her wanderlust?

“John doesn’t mind me going off travelling,” says Roz.

“Our family always step in to come to Ardfield to keep him company.

“In later years John has become somewhat deaf. But he always loves to hear all about my travels when I get back.

“Our eight grandchildren love hearing all about the different countries I’ve been to as well!”

Another painting by Roz Brazil White.
Another painting by Roz Brazil White.

Roz, who has travelled to Africa, South Africa, the West Indies, Egypt, and many other European destinations, still has wanderlust coursing through her veins.

“A trip to India is next on the cards,” she says .

“And I am hoping to travel to Russia with the Friends of the Crawford Art Gallery later this year.”

Apart from her robust Brazil genes, what does she put her energy, her creativity, and her curiosity about the world and its people, down to?

“I know I am very like my father, who was a real people person,” says Roz.

“He was a man of the people.”

Roz is a woman of her generation; proving that 80 is the new 60 and that the world is her oyster.

To contact Roz about her work email roswhite@outlook.com

I think travel broadens the mind and exploring different countries is always memorable. I organise myself and take off myself.

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