Learning to paint

One of the best things about staying put in one place is finding all the cool opportunities you miss when just passing through. Today we had a lesson in how to paint in the Tinga Tinga and Maasai styles.

The local art market near our hostel consists of a series of shacks with dirt floors where artists produce and sell their work. The prices are much better than shops in town, which cater to tourists passing through to climb Kilimanjaro.

A fellow hostel-mate inquired about art lessons at one of the stalls, and the local artist was very excited. He offered to teach as many of us who wanted to learn for 10,000 TSH (or $5 USD) per person.

There were so many people interested that we split into two groups. I went with the girls, while Al opted for the hardware store to buy materials to fix school desks (go figure). I was sure I would return with a few colourful blobs that I could laugh about later.

Sophie working on her Tinga Tinga inspired painting

Sophie working on her Tinga Tinga inspired painting

Three artists met the group, Matt, Ziggy and Abel. They had us prepare our canvasses by nailing them over wood frames and covering them with three coats of white paint. While we waited for the canvasses to dry, we decided which pieces we would use as inspiration for our own work.

Sophie chose a sunset scene with giraffes, and Claire decided on elephants making a night walk. I decided to try something more abstract (again thinking at least the blobs would be colourful) and started work on three Maasai villagers, using a knife to apply paint.

The artists were so helpful. They taught us to work from the centre and move outward. When we were stuck on next steps, they demonstrated strokes or had us sketch out our ideas.

The resulting works of art were much better than I had ever thought! I’m so proud of the girls, but I think I need to work on my signature…

Our finished creations

Our finished creations. Can’t wait to frame them!

10 Comments on “Learning to paint

  1. Oh my goodness! Now I see where the girls get their artistic talent from! Beautiful, beautiful paintings Hastie-Benvin ladies!!!

  2. These are absolutely wonderful Heather. You three have a lot of talent. Looked like a lot of fun too.

  3. Wow, that’s amazing! The giraffe painting would go super in our living room (color wise). The other two Are great as well!!!

    • All of you did very well! What special keepsakes when you arrive back home.

  4. Fabulous Girls! Sophie – We love your giraffes and what an amazing sky. Heather -What a fantastic painting Did you scratch into the paint to get the patterns. Claire we love your Mum and baby elephant How clever you are to use the white for grass and mist and highlights. Laughed that Al choose to go to the home reno store.Those practical Benvin lads . Mikes putting new shelves in the pantry this afternoon. Lachlan sends his love and talks about Claire and Sophie all the time. Take care Triona

    • Thanks, Triona! I told the girls you would be proud of them! You would love all the art here. It’s really interesting. The artists were quite young and very keen to help us learn. It was a fun day!

      – Heather

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