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.
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…