top of page



Ricardo “Cardo” Knowles (born 1962, San Salvador, The Bahamas) is an impressionist painter whose pieces invite nostalgic reflections on island life in the context of modern times. Approaching quaint island scenery with a European sensibility and training, Knowles finds joy in “reaching the soul through nature”, capturing the spirit of the Bahamian landscape for future generations.  

his story

Ricardo Knowles, son of a boat captain was born in 1962 on the island of San Salvador, The Bahamas. Ricardo’s passion for art began at an early age of  7 drawing and copying images  of cartoon characters from the DC comic books.

Ricardo recalls during junior and senior high school days requests by his teachers, to design memorabilia for special events such as the Harvest Festival decorations for the school and church and to design decorations for the festive season. Another school mission was to design new ideas for certificates and diplomas using his free style pen and ink lettering and drawings with graphic shapes


An early turning point for Ricardo was when he met local artist Mr. Homer Williams,  who at the time taught art at the local school. It was clear from then onwards that Homer would have a concrete influence on Ricardo’s artistic career, something to make him dream. Mr. Williams could do nothing but smile benignly as he accepted the enthusiastic budding artist into his home every Saturday morning for paid art lessons. Whilst under the influence of Homer, many projects were commissioned and completed with sobriety and brutality.


After the Homer  period  which would not begin to recede until the end of one year, Cardo found enough courage to go out into the street alone. Citing as his inspiration the luminous colours of Vermeer and the posture in Van Dyck’s portraits, Cardo refers to this period as reaching the soul through nature. Ricardo has vivid memories of his 1st steps at painting outdoors, in nature, such as going to Doweswell Street and standing up all day in the sun with substantial fatigue, trying to get the perspective right on those buildings sharp angles set off by soft colors. At this time outdoors Cardo had a role to titivate a dry palette and maybe to make the buyer fall in love with his paintings.

While painting outside at Charlotte House, Ricardo met Mr E. Alexiou, who was walking back to his office after lunch. He asked Ricardo if he would accept a commission to paint his historical house and office buildings. The artist vapour of glamour had begun from this day on.


A young artist’s easy confidence continued when Finco decided to record the last of Bahamian historical buildings. The bank made prints from the paintings, from the fund raising they decided to have a summer workshop at St. Augustus College where Ricardo was invited to attend. This is where he met Mr. Max Taylor, who was a tutor at the workshop.


He taught Ricardo print making techniques and with this new found talent he asked Ricardo to participate in a joint show at the bank in 1980. What  he remembers from that show is seeing his artwork sell.  ‘That’s when it really hit me, it was so transcendant, I realized  I wanted to be a professional artist.’


The Finco show was so successful that it poised to secure Ricardo’s place as one of the countries leading artists, belonging to a rising generation of painters. Finco came out to visit the family home and were impressed to view 20 or so completed paintings which they bought for the collection.

Enough money was raised to plan the next step to attend an art school. Here stepped in renown Bahamian artist Stan Burnside who persuaded Ricardo, the apprentice artist where to go. Ricardo chose the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. After all the local training in art  the new studies in Pennsylvania transended into sculpting, painting, drawing and the operations of a museum for four years of art study from 1981 to 1985.

During his last year at the Academy, his paintings were hung and sold in the Academy museum where he won many prestigious awards.  He also continued to enter and earn top awards at art competitions back home, including those by the Central Bank of The Bahamas and the Commonwealth Fair Art Show. Returning home to The Bahamas after his studies, Knowles held exhibitions at Spectrum Fine Art Gallery and Lyford Cay Gallery.  In 1996 he embarked on a decade-long independent art study in Europe, expanding his  creative practice in the south of France and at the Royal Society of Art in London, the U.K., which proved to be monumental in cementing his recognizable style influenced by great European impressionist masters.  Knowles’s work has been displayed in such one-man exhibitions in The Bahamas as Portrait of the Bahamas, 2005 and Promenade, 2006 and can be found in various private collections, as well as in the collections of FINCO and the Central Bank of The Bahamas. 


Ricardo is presently residing in South Ocean Bahamas with his family, where he operates a studio.





bottom of page