On Saturday a few friends and I took four students to James Town for a street art festival which was a fabulous experience. There were artists, performers, acrobats, poets, dancers performing side by side. The event was huge and ran from 11am-11pm. The location was absolutely sunning being one of the oldest areas in Accra right on the sea. This time I decided to use bright colours to capture the walls which seem to tell their own stories. My running theme seems to be daily life or strength of the workers in Ghana.
I added the Adinkra symbol to link this painting to my other paintings. The symbol celebrates unity through diversity. I really love the design of this one. I haven’t used it before because it is a bit complicated. I am really happy with my peeling posters on the walls too. I think this is one of my personal favourites so far!
Solitude in the Market
This is my first proper painting of an African face and I am really happy with it. She looks very peaceful despite the crowd behind her. I am really enjoying my market series as it is a chance to play with complimentary colours. I am surprised how dark my market scenes are turning out but I really like them. I will venture into some brighter ones soon. It would mean that I’d have to paint the base a brighter background colour first. Again I have added some of my favourite symbols which symbolize knowledge, learning from the past, friendship, greatness, quality and spirituality. I still love using the symbols because I enjoy their designs, meanings and also I like how it makes my paintings very Ghanaian.
This is what my studio is looking like as it is a great way to see the scale of the paintings. I now have 19 paintings and am about to buy some more canvases. I need a gallery space VERY soon.
The Studio, March 2012
Tomatoes in James Town
This was inspired from my previous painting which is now becoming my market series. 🙂 I knew that I wanted to paint the fresh tomatoes that we see on the stalls everywhere here in Ghana. As they were a combination of reds I figured why not begin the painting with complimentary greens. Overall it has given it a darker feel which is VERY different to my normal style. The setting was inspired from a quick drive Greg and I took through James Town which is an old but colourful part of Accra, Ghana.
I am yet to wander around there and take some photos but can’t wait to do that. This was really just capturing an impression/ memory for me. Again I tried to be realistic with the fabric and purposely harmonized her colors with the tomatoes. I really hope you like it as I know it is quite different from the beach scenes.
Preparing for the Market, March
I absolutely love this painting as the colour and texture really works. I intentionally played with complimentary colours hence the limited palette of blue, orange, yellow and purple. I am very happy with the lady mainly because of tones. In my beach scenes I was working away from realism whereas this image is heading back to reality. I used the same style of dry-brushig and sponging and have also incorporated two Adinkra symbols as the background was a bit plain. By putting the symbols in I feel as though I am linking my paintings to Ghana.
The heart is POSITIVE REVERSION- “It is not taboo to return to take back what you forgot.” (Aldolph Hilary Agbo- Values of Adinkra and Agama symbols) This symbol is saying that there is wisdom in learning from the past to help make the future better.
The other symbol is HOPE-“God, something is in heaven, let it touch my hands”. This proverb encourages people to be optimistic and positive minded.
I hope you like it.
Simplicity, Patience and Compassion Are Your Greatest Treasures, March
This was one of the paintings which I started last weekend in the hope to paint through the week. However it did not work I was too tired after teaching instead I worked on it yesterday. As I was painting I realized that my beach scenes no longer excite me mainly because I have completed ten of them. I believe I am “beached out” for the time being. 🙂
Its time to move on to something new and fresh. I am however, really happy with the set I have created over these last few months. They do look amazing together and each one came from the heart as a reflection of the gorgeous, hardworking people we often meet on the coast. The style is also getting closer to what I had imagined. I was able to incorporate my favourite Adinkra symbols and had a lot of fun painting with knives, brushes, cardboard, sponges and fingers!
Once I have had a break I might explore the beach once again. My next painting will be based on the markets. There is so much here in Ghana which I still want to capture from drums, masks, beads, fabrics, Kente, ceramics, Ashanti stools, fertility dolls, dancing, fashion on Sundays to the gorgeous people. I could be capturing Ghana for years to come!
Strength and Adaptability, Feb
This is a painting I completed last night. It is a gift for Lois to say thank you so much for lending us your car for three weeks. Greg and I haven’t had the opportunity to drive in Ghana yet. The traffic is rather intimidating and we don’t have a car yet but Lois trustingly lent us her car which gave us the freedom we have been wanting. We could actually go food shopping without haggling for taxis, we could eat out at lovely restaurants which were too far to walk to, we even were able to have two amazing weekends away. So thanks Lois I hope you like your painting!
Personally. I am really happy with this one as it combines all my favourite elements of my previous paintings. It has the Adinkra symbols which are a lot softer than my previous paintings. The tones are realistic but still have quite an Impressionist feel. It is very calming due to the soft pastel colours. The water is quite realistic even though that was not my aim. I was able to incorporate those figures I really like. There is something quite comforting about the woman and child.
My next painting is going to be similar to this but I want to play with reflections and try it bigger. 🙂
Allow the Beauty of your Soul to Shine
This is my recent painting which I am really happy with (for now). I am finally starting to get the effect which I have been trying to create in those dresses. I would still like to have a bit more movement so am thinking of using this style but applying it to my dancers. There is something quite calming and uplifting about this piece. I don’t know if it is the colour scheme, composition or the meaning behind the symbols.
I have chosen the Adinkra symbols based on their designs and meanings (learn from the past, strength, nurture, hope, friendship, beauty and spirituality). The silhouettes walking across the beach create a great contrast between the soft purples and greens. From a distance it is actually quite eye catching. I do love the dry brushing and subtle tones, just enough to bring the figures to life. The patchwork effect in the background was used to create movement and visual interest through the overlapping shapes. I really think I am on to something now.
This is going to be the new R Jardin style! Please let me know what you think. I truly appreciate any feedback I get.
In the Studio