276

sketchI’ve been following (somewhat obsessively) news about the 276 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. From the time I learnt of it, my mind has been alternately ablaze with outrage and hope for the girls recovery. Although this story has aroused a frenzy of international attention, there have been so many other deaths and lives changed forever by the atrocities committed by this group. At a certain point however, in our world of sordid war making, we’ve become numb to the statistics. One reads 276 kidnapped school girls, but what does that even mean? One reads 300 villagers killed, but what would that feel like? Although the numbers are merely a means of conveying quantity, I can’t help but feel that one human being is much more significant than the number 1 conveys.

 

On thinking about this, I’ve started putting together my current painting. What does 276 young school girls captured by islamic militants with a penchant for rape and brutality look like? Each girl would look different. Each girl would have a whole unique life and anatomy as well as a whole string of relationships with the people around her. The girls kidnapped were between 16 and 18. These would be girls with hope for their futures, standing on the brink of adulthood.

 

I imagine myself with my high school classmates at that age. What would we have done if approximately one quarter of our school had disappeared? How would I and my friends have reacted at being corralled by these monsters? Naparima Girls’ High School’s entire raison d’être is to educate young women to be the brightest in the country. My classmates and I were all so lucky to be born in the Caribbean and not in place that is hateful toward women and education. Although it comes with it’s own baggage, being a West Indian woman is a great and powerful thing. I’m not thankful enough for that fact.

 

So that’s where I am. The canvas is ready and I’ve started working through some sketches. I’ll post some pictures as the painting progresses. This one may take a while.
Thanks for tuning in.

 

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Natural Symmetry

Natural Symmetry, 10 x 14", ink & goache on paper

Natural Symmetry, 10 x 14″, ink & goache on paper

I’ve been thinking about incorporating colour into my mandalas for months. This is my first attempt at combining mandala and painting. The mediums used here are ink and goache on watercolour paper. Next time I’d like to try using coloured pencils with a mandala to see what’s possible with textures.

This piece considers symmetry found in nature alongside the symmetry of geometry and mathematics. I used the air plants here because of their unfurling nature and the markings on the geometric centre were inspired by the markings of butterfly wings.

A sneaky puppy

A sneaky puppy

 

The Messenger

The Messenger, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30"

The Messenger, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30″

This turtle has been wanting to be painted for a while. I started this piece a little over a month ago. As some of you may know, I had an accident around that time. I was walking my dog on a pedestrian trail near my house when I slipped on a patch of ice and broke my ankle. This is why I haven’t posted in a while.

Source images of red sea turtles have been taped up on my art room wall well before my accident. I’ve had a long time to think about him. When I first filled in his outline on the canvas I felt like I was in over my head, but I got into a great painting zone and after half the night, I was happy with how he turned out. I’m really enjoying a totemic approach to animals these days.

In terms of process, as an experiment while making this piece, I took progress photos every time I took a break. This turned out to be a great technique for me, since I changed my mind a few times about the way I painted the sky as well as the peak. It was by looking back at previous images that I was able to determine what I really wanted.

It’s kind of amazing how many hours went into this piece. In the past I might have been more frustrated at the time it took to create. Now however, with more experience, I am no longer as impatient with my work. That’s something great that’s come to me through this accident – patience. I hope I don’t lose sight of it when I’m walking again.

Hope you enjoy.

Bird’s Eye View

Pen & ink, 10 x 14

Pen & ink, 10 x 14

This is my first mandala of 2014. It’s called Bird’s Eye View. It was snowing steadily all day today. Even though it was a fairly warm day in comparison to recent days, I couldn’t bring myself to walk to the art store for more canvas. Instead, I spent the afternoon drawing at the dining table.

Recently, I’ve been watching a documentary series called Through the Wormhole. One episode  I saw last week looked at near death experiences. In that episode, there was a snippet of footage of a butterfly flying through a forest. Since then the idea of flying with an animals eyes has stuck with me. One of the ideas discussed involved the notion that at the moment of death, our minds might latch on to the consciousness of other being in a quantum like transfer of awareness. That’s the best way I can restate it – non technical as I am.

This mandala explores that idea – of reaching out beyond human form and seeing life through another’s eyes.

Hope you enjoy the mandala, and as always thanks for being interested in my work.

Union

This piece was done with thoughts of two of my friends who are getting married this spring. The piece is composed of two framed mandalas. Each reflects the other and are bound together by the spirit of the bird. It’s a story about the love and union of two separate and beautiful souls.

Union, pen & ink on paper

Union, pen & ink on paper