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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Last Painting for 3 Weeks

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I am guessing that this is my last painting for 3 weeks as on Friday I will be flying to Canada for Christmas. I am planning on stocking up on some art materials which I can’t get here and will continue the artistic journey as soon as I get back. With this painting my goal was to play with and strengthen my colours. I have been painting with a lot of blues lately so thought it is time to try the textures with more orange, a colour I associate a lot with Ghana. This was also inspired from my trip to the beach at Sisimbo, the women were on the beach with the fishing nets while the men were in the ocean. The whole process of dragging the nets in took hours or hard work.

I hope you like it. Have a fabulous Christmas and a sensational new year.

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Today Has Been a Busy Painting Day

I am currently working with two very different styles. Both I like but I think they will appeal to different people. This is the first one:

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The first style is an Abstract Expressionist piece which is playing with primary and secondary colours whilst layering the paint. I have been playing with transparency for blocking in the figures. The bold black lines really make the image pop. Today I created two small ones but this time incorporated beads. One of my goals when I arrived back to Ghana was to experiment with texture, symbols and objects significant to Ghana. Hence, the patterns inspired from fabrics and the incorporation of the beads. I have also combined textures and the roller, similar to the previous painting.

DSC_0563This one is inspired from one of my photos taken when I was in a bead market. This woman really appealed to me in the way she was casually holding the chicken with the bag of shopping. I simplified her body so it isn’t 100% accurate as I wanted her to fit in with the rest of the Abstract background. I love the use of the reds and purples. That is a combination I have not used much. The symbols are Adinkras and beads are all made here in Ghana.

I Am Back Painting

Motherly Love-Acrylics on Canvas, Oct 2012

This is the first painting I have produced since being back in Ghana. I am thrilled to be painting again even though the end product was not what I was really thinking of doing. It may sound strange but I never really know what my work is going to look like in the end.

Just so you know why there was such a large break or in case you have just joined this Blog. Last May I had my first art exhibition here in Ghana. Despite the lack of sales it was still a huge success and the first time I have really been respected as an artist and a teacher. As I am currently teaching art in an international school in Ghana I had a big summer break from June-August where my husband and I traveled to Italy, Croatia and Slovenia.

I am back now in Ghana, it has taken some time to get my brushes out again. However, every time I get out and about and surround myself with the gorgeous people, fabrics, beads, music, and sunsets I am inspired to paint. There are so many things I want to capture that I don’t know where to start. As any working artist knows it is VERY difficult to paint after a busy day at work so my main painting days have been Sundays. I wish I could do so much more but I am also juggling yoga, zumba, drumming and various groups at school so it is all about balance. I have actually just introduced a group at school called “art for the soul” where the teachers will be able to come and play with arts and crafts inspired by Ghana. I figured that was one way to make me CREATE.

I am also on a mission to meet local artists here in Ghana. It would be amazing to hear their thoughts on contemporary art in Ghana and I’d love to see their techniques. That is my goal this year…to find 5 local artists who I click with and can be inspired by. I feel like something is missing when I am not painting, it would be fabulous to exhibit or work with others who felt the same way. The tough part for me is always beginning, especially when I don’t have a set style. Last year I loved my markets, close ups and textured walls but this year I would like to explore more mixed media techniques which will incorporate media found around Ghana like the beads, fabrics and anything else I can think of. Maybe even some of the plastic trash. As all my art is pretty much self taught I am going to have to experiment with a variety of techniques- from weaving, beading, batiking to fabric tying as I think these skills will really enhance my future art works.

This painting is a little start towards that direction as I have used some embossed foil, texture paste, beads and glue. This is actually the first time I have painted an expressionist portrait. I am really happy with the limited colour scheme. The warmth of the colours seem to enhance the warmth of the hug. I adore the expression of the mother as she looks truly at bliss. Everything in her life is about this child, there is no love stronger. I really hope you like it. Please let me know what you think.

Some Art Which I Felt Needed Changing

 

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As it is Sunday (my painting day), I decided to rework some paintings which I was no longer happy with.

With the beach scene inspired from Meet Me There (Eastern Ghana) I decided the image was boring as it looked flat next to my new paintings. So I divided up the page in an interesting way and added Agama symbols which have a special meaning to me. This time I also added some patterns from the fabrics I have seen here. I still might make a few small changes but have it hanging in the living room so I can take my time thinking about it. Overall this image is a lot more like my new style and now has a deeper personal meaning. The last painting had an inspirational statement scratched into the paint whereas I decided to make this one stand out more by painting it.

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The dancer has been bothering me for quite a while because of that big yellow swirl leading to her head. The whole image felt too busy and patterned so I simplified it with the contrasting cool colours. I really like this image much better. They look really good as a set.

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Lastly, I only had a couple small changes to make on the final painting but got a little carried away. I added more fabric designs, changed the colour of her dress to create more texture and a focal point and painted the sentence instead of having it scratched into the paint. I prefer the colour scheme to before. I may still work on this one but it is hanging in the sudio for now. I hope you like the changes.

I have also painted three backgrounds in the hope that they will encourage me to paint more through the week. I always find it easier to work on my art if I have started something and have the idea. As Sunday is a relaxed day here I find it much easier to generate new ideas and prepare the canvases.

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