MIDDLE PASSAGE BLUES
When folks think of the blues there’s a sense of melancholy, sadness and or loss. Sadness and loss are the emotions that I thought of while creating this work. Melancholy is definitely a factor when you realize how I used the clouds in the background as a metaphor for these emotions. More on that later. One may wonder(I would)about the female figure floating above the sand. She represents “Mother Africa”, a spirit or more so referred to as an Orisha. I’m no Yoruba scholar or expert and I respectfully apologize if I’ve insulted any member of that faith. Funny, all these years I’ve never heard mention “Father Africa”! Anyhow I portrayed her with outstretched arms as to say “Stop!” “No more!” “WHY are you taking my children???” She looks the viewer directly in the eye as you can imagine her saying this. Now imagine yourself either in the place of the captor or the captived looking at her. Now, about the clouds. I wanted the storm cloud at the bottom right to be an allegory for the problems brought on by the institution of slavery such as the civil war, horrific abuses, slave revolts and perhaps a multitude of issues too numerous to mention. As you the viewer witness this you see the ship sailing into it. I loosely painted a couple of faces in the clouds. The dark clouds to her right evoke mysticism to evoke feelings of loss, anger,sadness, fear, loss of identity, loss of home and family and the feelings of betrayal by other Africans. I included a light glow in the ocean near the shore to represent the spirits of those Africans who committed suicide rather than suffer at the hands of the slavers. Imagine yourself on this beach. You feel a cool ominous breeze blowing along with the dank smell of the ocean and there’s a part of you that feels a shiver that goes to your core when you realize that one of those folks at the bottom of that ship survived the passage so you could be here today. Food for thought. Now argubly I couldn’t have done this piece without one of my favorite peeps Nomvuyo whose face I used for this piece. She’s also a talented photographer. I’d love to use her for more future work with her permission of course. Man oh man I wish I could clone some of those folks I’ve used in the past for paintings and drawings. It definitely would make my life easier. Now that it’s near completion I hope I can find it a good home.
Well I can actually say doing this commission for a client is a real pleasure. I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who since 1972. The 3 Doctors I’m working on are my three favorites also. David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston and the “gold” standard himself, Tom Baker(my favorite) I’m starting off with a preparatory drawing in charcoal to be transferred to the canvas board, masonite or illustration board. I really haven’t made up my mind. My concern right now is shipping it overseas without breaking the bank. I’m hoping this tablet’s battery holds out for a few hours. It’s one of my main tools for portraiture when I don’t need a model’s distraction.
Home stretch for this prep drawing.
Hope to start work next week.
Prep drawing for 3 Doctors