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SOLD! – Erykah Badu Painting

Ladies and gentlemen, the Erykah Badu painting is officially off the market.

Some friends of mine have had their eyes on this painting since I first showed it. My putting it up for sale gave them the chance to buy it and now it’s in their home.

Now is a great time to pick up that painting you have been eyeing. Come to the website, and place your order.

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Focusing on Women Behaving Badly – 50% off Sale on Synesthesia

I have recently come to a decision about my business. I wish to concentrate on my series Women Behaving Badly. I have spent the last year working on various projects for clients, and while it has been rewarding, I fear it has taken me away from my true passion.

The Women Behaving Badly series has brought me to new levels with my art. The series has brought more meaning to my life than anything I’ve done so far. It has made me see how my art can touch people and inspire them to be and do better.

I realized that it has been almost a year since I’ve painted one of these amazing women. That realization did not feel good. So, I am getting back into it, doing more extensive research and experimenting with new techniques that will push the envelope of storytelling and visual appeal.

The challenge to my being able to do this is funding. I need to pay studio fees, buy supplies, and pay for prints of the paintings when I’m done. I know that not everyone can afford originals, so I provide posters and other reproductions so that anyone may enjoy and learn from my work. I have a Patreon account (kind of an ongoing Kickstarter) which I will flesh out with perks that pertain only to this series. However, what will help me most will be to sell some paintings.

If you have been with me these last few years, you will remember my series of famous musicians: Synesthesia. That series did a lot to build my audience, and honestly, my business. I took music I loved and artists I admire and painted them with all the joy their work has brought me. I honed my watercolor skills with those paintings, got comfortable painting in public, stepped up my marketing game…. Those paintings brought a lot to my life as an artist and as a businesswoman. Now it is time for me to let them go so that I am free to devote time and energy to Women Behaving Badly. My loss is your gain.

SALE

I will cut the price of my Synesthesia paintings by 50% to fund my new series. By buying one, you are allowing me to:

  1. Study and paint women who have been left out of the history books
  2. Create zines and compilation books telling their stories
  3. Reach out to schools with this series as a curriculum
  4. Print posters, postcards and other materials
  5. Make videos of my process and of me telling each woman’s story.

I feel as though I started something huge and now I have to give it time to grow. I love my clients and am grateful for the work we did together, but this series has been calling me and I have to go to it now. If you believe in it as much as I do, help me make it an ongoing reality. Buy one of my old paintings (you know which one you’ve had your eye on) or contribute via Patreon.

Thank you for being with me on this journey. Let’s do something amazing!

First Friday Open House

Join us on First Friday for Helikon Gallery and Studio’s open house. The artist studios will be open to the public, so you can see where the magic happens.

Here’s a sampling of what you will find.

Women Behaving Badly at First Baptist Church of Denver

Women Behaving Badly is moving to the First Baptist Church of Denver! This series by Denver artist Adri Norris celebrates women who were leaders, activists, and innovators in a variety of fields. From  worker’s rights to Bluetooth technology, Title 9 to the Nobel Peace Prize, these women and their work profoundly shaped our modern world. This series strives to tell their stories of bravery, determination, and relentless rule breaking. After all, well behaved women seldom make history.
The collection will be hung in the hallway and on display every day from 7:30am to 6pm. This showing also includes two opportunities to meet the artist: Wednesday March 15th at 6:30pm and Sunday March 19th at 12pm. Whether you’ve been following the series from day one or are encountering the work for the first time, you don’t want to miss this!

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Battling Unconscious Biases with Art

I may have mentioned this before but I love listening to podcasts. My list seems to grow every month as more, interesting series come to my attention. I stared listening to Radio Lab a few years ago and it was like my gateway drug. Podcasts allow me to insert information into my brain while I am working and inspire me to apply new concepts to my art.

It was through podcasts that I learned of some of the women I painted or my Women Behaving Badly series. I heard their stories, learned of their deeds and asked myself, why have I never heard of these women before? So, I set myself to the task of using my art to teach others. I felt as though I had finally found my purpose.

Listening to Hidden Brian today, I heard an episode which added to my motivation. The topic of the episode was unconscious bias as it relates to women, particularly women in leadership roles. Women who have the “masculine” traits necessary to be seen as good leaders are often considered overbearing and unlikable. When women display the expected “feminine” traits of being caring and compassionate, they are assumed to be weak and incompetent. The podcast calls this the “double bind”. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

The end of the podcast suggests that if we are to get women out of this double bind situation, we need to change society’s perception of women. I have chosen to showcase women in history as my way of changing that perception. I highlight women leaders, inventors and healers of nations. Not only do they inspire me, our society needs to see them as contributors to who we are. We need to let go of our unconscious biases and see value in the feminine.

Check out this episode of Hidden Brain to learn more. And go to my Women Behaving Badly blog to learn more about the series.

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Teaching at Girls Inc.

New Year

Happy new year everybody! I know, it’s already been a month since the year started. I just been so busy working on projects, I’m only now finding time to gather my thoughts. I would love to show you what I’ve been working on but I want to make sure I respect the privacy of my clients.

Teaching at Girls Inc.

What I can share with you is something I’ve been waiting months to do. I have moved my Women Behaving Badly paintings to Girls Inc. of Denver, where they will hang until March 3rd. When I started this series I wanted to inspire young girls with the deeds of the women who have helped to shape our society. I wish I’d had these women as role models when I was young. Now the students of Girls Inc. can see these paintings every day and read about the lives of these amazing women.

Classes

In addition to showing my work in their halls, I’m also teaching three classes a week at Girls Inc. These classes are combination of history lesson and art lesson. I begin by walking through the halls with the girls, looking at the paintings and telling each woman story as I know it. Then we had back to the classroom to review and I find out which woman inspires each girl and why. I ask if there’s anyone else they find inspirational and take note of their responses.

The younger girls are given handouts of women they can research for their own paintings. The older girls get to do independent study of woman of their choosing . I asked him to tell me a story. By day 3, we take a break from academics to do art class. The first day is all about collage where I teach about technique as well as ways to think about color, shape and subject matter. The next day we do some acrylic painting with the same ideas in mind. These will be the key elements of their final project.

The last two classes are where we put it all together. Each girl is given an 18″ x 24″ wooden board to work on and is given the task of telling the story of the woman she is selected through image, word and color. I want them to work on wood so that they see it as a final piece, not just another throwaway school project. I wanted to feel special.

The Final Product

Over the course of eight weeks, I will have worked with second grade through fifth grade. The third-grade class is already finished and the fifth-graders are halfway through. At the end, we will hold an exhibition showing off the girls work to family and friends.

I am loving this opportunity to work with young girls and to hear from them what traits they admire most in the women they’re learning about. I love their openness, their enthusiasm and their spirit of exploration. I can’t wait to see what the next five weeks will bring.

Third grade collages
Third grade collages
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The Last Painting of the Year

Happy New Year everybody! That’s it, 2016 is over and it’s time to ring in 2017. It has been a wild ride, full of ups and downs, pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow. As we move into this new year, it helps to reflect, but let’s not forget to look forward.

This is the time of year to set goals. January is when we change the things we don’t like about ourselves and improve upon those things we love about ourselves. I have never been good about making and sticking to resolutions. I find that plans have a way of changing or falling through if there is no accountability.

The thing that works for me is setting a theme for the year. Last year’s theme was “Growth”. I worked to grow my business and grow the relationships most important to me. I think this year’s them will be “Learning”. There is so much information that I put into my head on a regular basis, but to be honest, it doesn’t all stick. This year, I want to be more intentional with my learning so that I actually retain the information I take in.

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for the Realistic Portraits course with Jason Seiler on schoolism.com. Just doing the first couple of lessons has showed me where I have become complacent with my art. Doing the assignments will (hopefully) make me more deliberate with my artwork and help me improve my skills. With any luck, that deliberateness will leak into other aspects of my life, making me a better person as well as a better artist.

What is your theme for the new year? I’d love to hear what motivates you!

Harriet Tubman watercolor study.
Eye watercolor study – my last painting of the year
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International Holiday Market

The Cause

This Thursday the Spring Cafe is hosting it’s first annual International Holiday Market. The mission of the Spring Cafe is to support immigrants and train refugees to work among us. Many people come to this country and work in factories because of language barriers. They work among other individuals who also don’t speak English which makes it almost impossible to learn.

Spring Cafe recognizes this and employs refugees for six week training courses. They learn about customer service in the US, get to practice their English and learn other job skills that add to their resumes. Spring Cafe gets these folks out of the factories and into the American workforce.

How Afro Triangle fits in

Some of you may not know this about me, but I am actually an immigrant. I was born in Barbados and was naturalized as a citizen in 1999. I came over with my mom and we had the help of my grandmother and aunts as we got used to living in the US.  The folks at the Spring Cafe were kind enough to include me in their holiday market. I get to join the ranks of those whose journey to this country was far more difficult than my own.

In addition to the market, there will be a live auction, a silent auction, and food and drinks available by donation. The proceeds will go toward helping the Spring Cafe continue their mission. I will be donating one of my paintings to the cause.

Dicitonary.com’s word of the year is xenophobia, the fear of the foreigner. Don’t let that be this year’s legacy. Come, participate, donate. Show our new friends that this country was built on inclusion. Come and support them as they learn how to contribute to our country and our economy.

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I will be donating this piece to the auction at the Spring Cafe this Thursday. If you want it, come get it.

Boulder Creative Collective’s Holiday Jubilee

If you live in the Boulder area and you are looking for some unique gifts for your loved ones:

Come check out the BOULDER CREATIVE COLLECTIVE‘s Holiday Jubilee!  Experience some freakin’ rad local artists, apparel brands + more in their awesome warehouse space in East Boulder!  Coffee + cocktails will be available for purchase.

RSVP on FB

Afro Triangle will be selling original drawings and paintings, fine art prints, portrait commissions and more. I’ll see you on Saturday!

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Working with Clients – Portrait Commissions

I haven’t done a process post in a while, so here goes. This piece is for a client of mine who has commissioned a few paintings over the years. She always sends me high quality photos, which I appreciate. Blurry or low resolution photos always make my job more difficult.

tinas-grandkids-mock-upIn any case, I started with this photo here. I took it into Photoshop for a little pre-treatment. The first order of business was to crop the photo to the size of the final painting, making sure I was pleased with the placement of the boys within the frame. I then blurred out the background so that they really stood out.

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Once I completed this mock up and got approval from my client, I sketched in the figures. Next, I went to work on the background. In order to simulate the blur effect in Photoshop, I utilized the wet on wet technique. With a brush loaded with clean water, I soaked the whole background area. Then I got some pigment on the brush and started dropping in color. Because the paper was already wet, the colors began to run into one another, causing them to blend smoothly.

After I was satisfied with the background, I moved to the foreground. You may have noticed this ugly greenish-grey on the boys’ shirts and hat. That is masking fluid, used to preserve the white of the paper. It also allows me to freely paint large areas of color without having to paint around small details. I built up the folds of the shirts to my satisfaction before removing the fluid.

Although white, there are still some shadows in the numbers and logos on their shirts, so I added these with some bluish-grey. I have also done some significant work on the older boy’s face.

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When I got close to done, I sent a photo of the painting to my client. She felt that the legs in the background were distracting, so I got rid of them. I darkened the background while I was at it, using the darkness to cut out the younger boy’s hair. I sent a photo to the client again and she pointed out that I had aged the older boy too much with heavy shadowing on his nose and around his mouth.img_20161122_153522

Back in Photoshop, I applied a black and white filter to the original photo. This helped me to examine the shapes more closely and discover where I had gone awry. I changed the nose and adjusted the mouth while I was at it and sent it off to the client. This time she loved it.

This is how I work with all my clients. I take pains to make sure they end up with the painting they want. The process is fastest when the reference is clear. If you would like to commission a portrait for the holidays, place your order by December 13th. If you live outside of Denver, allow time for shipping. Click here to order.

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SOLD!

Good morning all! I thought I’d share with you some pieces I no longer have because I sold them last night. If your favorite is not on this list, come see me at Mini Comic Con at the Sam Gary Branch Library. I will be there today from 10am to 4pm.