Africa: This Creative Connection

Africa Art Quad.jpg

My creative vision is inspired by place, geography; the way that place evokes each of my senses.  I can honestly admit to having a love affair with geography.

Over the past couple of months, I've spent a significant amount of time working with an amazing client (aka friend, mentor) who commissioned a quadriptych of Africa inspired watercolors, with a focus on animals and tribal elements.

My friend and I spent weeks indulging in conversations about our intrigue in Africa.  Her background being in interior design, she curated her home with an open, minimalistic aesthetic with accents inspired by African history.  As we delved into idea of adding splashes of warm hues into her space, I committed to creatively adding authentic African illustrations to complement her home's monochromatic sensuality.

As I began studying tribal patterns, textiles, pottery, and weaponry, the art fell into place organically.  Because of my background in cartography, it became clear that I needed to anchor the work with a map.  Each pattern within the map illustrates a tribe that resides within close proximity to the place on the continent.  As I indulged in this cultural anthropological study, carefully and respectfully rendering each pattern, I grew fond of several distinct patterns which I carried over to the illustrations of the animals.  The leopard's checkered diamonds reference the Kamba people of Kenya, and the lion's bright colored bands of stripes and circles represent art from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria.  My favorite image, however, is the element that ties each piece together: the flower from the the wax relief textiles in Mozambique.  

Each painting in this quadriptych has been painted from a place of deep intrigue, respect, and excitement toward exploring Africa (which I get to do in March!).  As I worked through this series, I felt like I was carving a path to get me there so I can truly experience these rich cultures.  With each stroke of my brush, each new color gently washed along the paper, I found myself falling madly in love with a place, once again.

Meg HulseComment