May 2012 Diaries
I’ve been out in Zambia for two weeks now but it feels more like two months with everything I’ve been up to. I arrived late at night to the sounds, smells and heat of Africa, a feeling I often long for. Finally passing through immigration I was relieved to find my paintings all in one piece. It was lovely to be greeted by my Dad’s big smile through the hand full of people hanging around in arrivals. We drove through the calm of the city at night and out the other side onto the dirt roads that lead to his little house that sits in a valley on the outskirts.
The next morning it was straight to work. The veranda had been set up and fully stocked with paints and canvas to act as my studio – heaven. With my dad coming in and out to give his critical opinion from time to time as the work progressed. Being an artist himself it’s always helpful. Peter, a local boy also came to keep me company and have some lessons in painting. I used the opportunity to use him a model.
I started my daily routine of reading for an hour, at the moment it’s ‘Self Portrait’ by Man Ray, followed by a morning walk often taking pictures for inspiration. Once back I have Breakfast outside under some shade followed by painting for a couple of hours. At midday I break for Lunch and leave the paintings outside in the sun to dry. Then I continue until the light starts to fade.
The opening night on the 26 April was a great success. I had organised to meet with a local journalist Andrew Malenga from the national paper the Post to meet me at the gallery just before the people started to arrive at six. It was a good interview I liked his style and the questions where interesting. It was a busy opening with a good mix of people. Many local art lovers including several people from the Norwegian Embassy came. A group of art students from the second and third year at Lusaka University arrived. It was really fantastic to meet and chat to them about the work. Many left me with their contacts very enthusiastic to keep in touch which I am very excited about. Six paintings sold on the night including three of the largest pieces, so all in all it was a very successful start for me.
I am now due to spend the rest of my time continuing to paint down on the Zambezi. My dad is working in Livingston for two weeks and has found a house we can rent for very cheap. There is no stove or furniture so back to basics. It’s right in the bush within the national park so I expect to come out with some interesting stories and paintings – wish me luck.
Flying into Zambia on Friday night I wanted to do a little dance on the air strip. The smells, the heat and the sounds all flooded over me - I’m home! Dad picked me up and we drove through Lusaka at night, eventually out onto the dirt roads and into the bush of Leopards Hill. The next morning I woke up to a fully stocked studio on the veranda brand new tubes of oil paint and six large primed canvas’s -Heaven!
Over the last five days I’ve thrown myself into my work. With only the sounds of the birds and occasional children singing in the surrounding valley. Yesterday I got up early to walk over the hill through the local township of Bowleni and on to visit the markets in the city. Moses a local guy that works for my Dad showed me around. I got back to the house bursting with inspiration.
Wildlife Artist of the Year 2012 Exhibition - Mall Gallery
I’m delighted to have two large paintings being shown this year for the Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition 2012 May 21-25. Last year was a great opportunity for me to exhibit my painting of a Buffalo in such a prestigious gallery. It received a recommendation by the judges and was sold. Fifty percent of this sale went to international wildlife protection projects supported by the David Shepherd Foundation including an Elephant Orphanage in Zambia I was lucky enough to visit in 2010.
Up coming exhibitions for 2012
May Solo Show in Zebra Crossings Gallery Lusaka, Zambia
Following the success of last year’s exhibition at the gallery I am looking forward to returning for another solo show with a whole new body of work including the recent works in oils. ‘Africa Revisited’ is a body of work that explores snap shots of roadside and lakeside scenes collected during previous trips to Zambia and Malawi. I am interested in the transient nature of these places but also the atmosphere surrounding them and their dynamics as places of survival.
July - August, Joint Show with painter Mark Jeffreys in Stoke Newington Gallery (behind the Library), London
I am really excited about this exhibition with fine art painter Mark Jeffreys. For this show we will be collaborating on a collection of work that will be examining ‘Metamorphosis’ that occurs during and after large scale events.