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In my reflection are heavy lidded large brown eyes, olive skin, thick eyebrows, curly, wavy, wiry hair.
I've been greeted with Hola! Namaste’! And received nods of commonality from people I do not know.
A mixed race South African by birth, I thought I was African and European so I was not prepared to blown away once I took the DNA test with 23&Me. They provide a world map of ancestry and mine was quite lit up to indicate my ancestors, from Vietnam all the way to Scandinavia!
Born at the tip of Africa – once the cross road of settlement and discovery - my ancestral timeline records several instances in world history. Migratory patterns in Africa, the search for silk and spice, the creation of half-way stations, settlement, sequential colonialism by Dutch, French and British, trade and commerce, slavery, and Apartheid policies in South Africa where marriage could only occur within the same race.
Being mixed was a derogatory term growing up. For me, it is now a celebration. The information from my very own DNA provides a looking class to my lost ancestral history, finding my lost kin and understanding this part of me a bit better.
Things that I love about living now is:
🧬 Progress in Biology and Technology makes our world more inclusive, family found in a saliva test and new friends just a click away. Foreignness increasingly becomes the anomaly.
🧬 We are all descendants from someone else, knowing our forebears gives us a sense of identity and belonging.
🧬 Finding the migratory patterns through the DNA history of my ancestors gives me an appreciation of their ability in economy and perseverance.
To grow in your craft; you need a growth mindset.
Standing in the foyer I observed her taste. A beautifully patterned marble floor, ivory damask fabric covered wall panels and painted ceiling with a crystal chandelier hung above us.
My new client had a carved double door especially made for the entrance. Her vision was for a reverse painted glass scene which also had a stain glass affect to allow the light to filter through. The painting was also to be reversible, to be seen from inside as well as outside.
She wanted a Rococo inspired painting. Dramatic and romantic with blended colors and fine details painted in Acrylic with glass medium.
I considered all the requirements. I did my research; I couldn’t find anyone else talking about accomplishing all of this in one project. Either you do traditional reverse glass painting which is only viewed from the front because the back is messy, or you do stain glass which is flowing paint with leading to separate the colors. The glass paint company wished me good luck as I ordered their materials.
Through many experiments and failures, I discovered a process that worked; the ratio of pigment to medium had to be adjusted and brush work that allowed the pigment to disperse allowing for fine blended tones.
During the final stages we met for her to see the project and she is very happy with her two three-foot-long glass panels of a dramatic cloud scape in subtle, blended tones, and a landscape with a couple taking a romantic stroll.
The image is equally presentable on both sides of the door and daylight filters through the “stain glass” painting.
Success is a happy client, success for me is that I expanded my repertoire, I figured out a new technique and will soon be able to share it with others.
I learned a few things from this experience:
1. I love a challenge. I do not mind going beyond what I know, improving my abilities, processing my errors and adjusting my process.
2. An artist needs to be willing to put their ability to the test in letting go of irrelevant solutions and discover or create new skills that are up for the new project or task.
3. A growth mindset, also works for business, informing the client that you are willing to work with them to create their dream project.
Do you have a vision for your home or office? Call or email to set up an appointment; I will be happy to work with you.
To see angels we have to go beyond physical appearance:
I was under the azure African sky and the sun baked down on my sweaty brow as I played in the garden of a friend. We were called to bring a drink of water to the gardener. “Not that glass, this is the one he drinks from…”. He was Black and we were Brown; in 1974 South Africa even a glass was relegated to race.
The impression on my young mind was that he was different and not equal to us; grew up in Apartheid South Africa and racism was the law.
The system of Apartheid has since been vanquished; and these memories haunt me.
I see our world evolving as we work on diversity, equity and inclusion on so many fronts…
My voice is in my art.
In my studio my music bounces off the walls, I am listening to Zulu drums intertwined with the rhythm a waulking song, I keep up the pace with my brush as it swooshes and flicks against the canvas. Intermittently, I sway my hips to the beat of the music and consider color choices on my palette. The paint is thick with a gold leaf background. I scratch lines with my pencil for wings. Highlights here and there mimic folds of a robe. The results are expressionist with minimal touches. These are my Angel paintings.
As you look at my work, you will be surprised, even curious? My angels have no faces!?
Traditionally angels are depicted as outwardly idealistic and beautiful beings.
Culturally being an Angel represents the best of us.