“She likes details,” Bruce Cooper says of his wife.
Their gallery, in a rented shop on main street in Caye Caulker, presents her art. She paints and he runs the business end of their collaboration.
“We sell original art, prints, and small stocking stuffers, ” Bruce tells me as we talk about New Orleans, the proliferation of guest houses on this island, the fact that his business is for sale due to aggressive web marketing by competing worldwide tourist destinations.
“We are losing 3% of our visitors a year,” he tells me. “I have been working since I was seven years old. I want to retire and go fishing.”
Bruce walks with a swollen foot brought on by diabetes.
I slip my purchase into my cargo pants as he makes a sale to a lady that has already bought two prints earlier in the day.
Selling art in a wood shack in the Caribbean sea, with a breeze rustling simple curtains hung on shuttered windows, seems better than cooking your brains out on a boat in bumpy water with a plastic bag full of stinking cut bait waiting to go on your hooks.
Art and business can co-exist.
It looks to me like Bruce’s work is as close to fishing as he is going to get in this lifetime.