The African Markets Reappear In My Work

Market Life

Market Life

This was a piece I created after a frustrating day at work. Normally when I am tired I just want a wine and a good book or pillow but this time I went straight upstairs and painted all night. I had already created the textures and base colour but the rest was uncertain. I was experimenting with a copper mesh ribbon which I actually quite like. Due to my fatigue I just grabbed the rollers and painted what ever colours I felt like. For some reason the greens and yellows appealed to me. Normally I use the sponges and rollers at the end but this time I reversed the process. My background colour helped me choose the colours for the women as I knew I wanted a contrasting colour but nothing too strong. The splattering shows the carefree mood or release I was getting from the paints. I have been wanting to combine these ladies for a long time. They were women I saw at different times when I was on my beading trip in Eastern Ghana. I am not normally attracted to greens but this time the colour scheme appeals to me. It actually seems quite calming. Sometimes I think I am so lucky to have this outlet. Often the paintings are coming from within and are not overly planned which is the opposite to what I tell my students to do. Haha.

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Boarding at Anomabo, Ghana

Boarding at Anomabo

This is the largest canvas that I have ever worked on. This time I used a chocolate brown base, added my usual textures with tissue, foil and gesso and worked from one of my favourite photos taken a couple weekends ago when we went to the beach. It was fascinating watching this young mum try and boogie board whilst the kids looked on. The little girl in the blue dress was very scared of the water and never let it touch her feet.

I like the warmth of the browns and Impressionist choice of colours. This is actually an interesting combination of my previous paintings with their beach scenes and Adinkra symbols and my new textured pieces. I wanted the colours to feel light and happy to capture the mood of these kids playing in the sand and watching their mum. The symbols represent spirituality, courage and greatness. I chose them for their meaning and their organic designs. I mainly added them because the Adinkra symbols are used everywhere in Ghana. This beach scene could be anywhere in Africa but by adding the symbols I am specifically connecting it to Ghana. Most of my paintings this year have been focusing on the daily life and hard work of the locals but I could not resist this one even though I said earlier that I wasn’t going to paint the beach again. It is such a major part of Ghana’s beauty that it is hard not to capture it.

This Is My New Style

This is the second technique I have been playing with. I produced this image a couple of weeks ago and LOVE it. The colours are soft yet contrast very well with the dark base colour. I am painting my favourite people that you see daily on the streets or beaches here in Ghana. The style of painting the figures is the same as my market scenes earlier but this time I am pushing the textures and colour blends. The swirl is a design you will find in most of my works it is my organic shape which seems to appear in all my doodles and often in my paintings. It even appears back in the UAE paintings. I really like how relaxed I feel when my eyes follow the swirl just like a simplified mandala.

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Here is the piece I produced today, can you see the differences? I am trying different colours and have incorporated some fabric. The batiks are stunning here. Between the Batiks and beads art, colour and patterns completely surround us all the time. This time I decided to extend the fabric design into my background while the paint was wet so that it blended slightly because I wanted to unify the work by extending the patterns. I didn’t want it to look separate from the work it was there to enhance and inspire. The fabric gave me my colour scheme too. I hope you like them.

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Making Fufu

I forgot to add this one.

It was painted straight after my first James Town wall as it was also inspired from the street art festival in James Town. I love the colours and once again here are some of my favourite symbols. I am liking the balance between Realism and Expressionism. As my paintings develop I am incorporating more and more of my favourite techniques especially dry brushing and splattering. Using the pastel colour combination is different for me.

Another One Completes the Series

Spirituality, Wisdom, Relationships and Intelligence, Jan

This is the third one of the series. I decided this time to combine my Adinkra symbols with the beach. I really like how the women fade away on this image. I have been using dry-brushing to harmonize the image by using the dominant colours of yellow and blue.

I love these symbols and particularly think their meanings are significant for a happy and fulfilling life. I am going to continue developing this style and but work on a bigger canvas and try to define the women a little more. Greg (my husband) wants me to paint men which I will do one day but I find the women here in Ghana so beautiful in their stunning fabrics it is a bit hard to move onto something else.

Gone Fishing

This is the only one I have done with men so far.

I Am Back Painting

Meet Me There, Ghana Jan 2012

I have finally made it back into the studio after a wonderful holiday to Australia. Of course my first goal was to start with one of the large canvases, which is actually not HUGE but it is big for me.

This painting was inspired from our travels to Eastern Ghana. We stayed at a stunning place called Meet Me There, where the lagoon meets the sea. As with any chilled out experience on the beach in Africa you are always observing daily life go by. This is my attempt to capture daily life. We did see many men too but I have to say I love painting the women for their curves, colours and flapping fabrics in the breeze. I decided to use pastel and cool colours because I was wanting to communicate my calm and content mood whilst sitting in my hammock soaking up the atmosphere and watching life go by.

The second photo shows you the beginning of my beach series and how my studio is developing.

Look how the studio is progressing

Its Painting Day Today

Traveling Home, Nov 2011

I am back onto the beaches now. This piece was originally going to be realistic but I found the image to be a bit boring and didn’t like the way the people were looking so I layered the colours to get a more Impressionist feel. Which is actually a goal of mine.

I have seen some paintings here in Ghana which incorporate gorgeous layered paint effects. I’d really like to learn that style and apply them to all my pieces. There is something really exciting to me about the flicked, dragged, and sponged paint.  It is actually like another interpretation of my final UAE paintings!

I am going to have another attempt with the same style but I’d like to try and get brighter.