Black Heart Woman

Queen of Hearts Project

Black Heart Man‘ by Bunny Wailer was a song that played quite alot when I lived with my mom. I never really listened to the words but hummed along as it filled the living room and she danced away to it. It seems quite ironic to dance to it now that I am older and have seen the lyrics of the song. It’s quite dark, warning children to be wary of ‘Stranger Danger’ but also saying that anyone can become ‘Stranger Danger’, given the right environment. Stranger Danger in the sense that there is a villian in each and every one of us.

Too dark? Sorry, not trying to pull you there. But see how easy it was to fall into that black hole as memories of nasty experiences spring up in your head. A neighbour was mean to you as a kid, a cousin accused you of something you didn’t do and all those horror stories that you keep locked away at the deepest part of your soul because if you don’t, you mirror your demons.

But…

You don’t become them. You turn that blackness into soil, ready to take in every seed and make them bloom into creatures of beauty. I know. I have lived it because I knew that my life could have been better. However, the past is the past and if I wallow in the mud instead of turning it into my garden bed, they win, right?

So my heart is a garden. Lilies and roses blossom side by side, sunflowers follow the light of my soul, daisies and violets dance along with the wind of hope.

Yours can bloom too.

Sand in the Cracks of My Heart

Queen of Hearts Project

The weather has been dreadful. The sun has been shy lately, hiding like a child, eagerly waiting to be found but still wants to win their game of hide and seek. And while listening to Ruby Gyang’d new song, Oya Dance, I must say that I miss warmth.

Growing up in a tropical country, Nigeria, Canada makes me miss extremely hot days and warm swimming pools. I remember days as kids when extended family members all gathered in Lagos and we go to the beach. My dad would always caution us to stay to away from the waves but my uncle, my dad’s younger brother, was more of the risky one. He would splash and carry us in while keeping an eye out for my dad. Those are fun memories.

But my most recent memory of the beach are of the summers I got to spend in Italy. I fell in love with the clear blue water, the hot sand and the whiffs of baberqued meat as we travelled along the coast of  the Ionian sea. I amsure you now understand why my heart yearns for summer heat.

Well, as I cannot be there physically, I made a version of a happier me by the sea.

This was made from tissue paper, a cereal box cut out of a heart. After giving the cut out 2 layers of paper, I glued up tissue paper to make the waves. I painted really tiny versions of myself and my husband, basking under the sun like lazy lizards. I finally painted my beach, added some glitter to make it shine under a light and also painted up my sea with foamy waves.

This is a cute heart and right now, I envy tiny me as she is captured in that tranquil moment forever.

 

 

Saved By The Brush

Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

I love abstract paintings. The way colors seem to clash but yet work together to draw your eyes to certain areas and the varying emotions that come up for everyone that sees them. I also believe that the act of painting abstract for most artists is a liberating, explosive feeling. For me though, it was the scariest thing.

Staring at a blank canvas is a BP rising thing. It’s like the point of no return once you throw anything on it and all you can do is go forward from there.

I think conquering that is a great thing though. It allows one to let go and set free. Though I am self taught, I tend to be rigid in my paintings as I can be a borderline perfectionist. I need to have the perfect stroke, the perfect lines, the perfect blends that are in my head and I have to do it quickly so I get constricted…which is why I started watching other artists paint.

One artist I love is Amira Rahim. Her blend of color and bold strokes shows a freedom and flow in her work. I got the chance to sign up for one of her online live classes and It was a good investment for me. I started the class with this painting as she asked that we work on an older piece.

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Some progress done…

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some more progress done…

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and the final piece.

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I am so proud of this piece. This is a representation of me letting go. I am now so excited about making more abstract art. I would love to combine it with paper and other things or material that would give different textures. That would be fun to work on. But in the meantime, I shall bask in the colors of letting go.

 

 

 

Home Is Where The Heart Is…

Queen of Hearts Project

After alot of travelling for the holidays, from London, Ontario to Boston, Massachusetts then Minneapolis, Minnesota and back to Canada, I can definitely say that I was physically exhausted. But my heart was full. This was the first time I got to have a lot of family members around me and I cherished every moment of it.

However, every story has an end and my very own Hallmark version of a great holiday shuttled back to reality as I found myself in many greyhound buses in the cold winter.

Even though I miss those moments, they definitely made my heart bigger. The winter didn’t seem as harsh and I felt like home wasn’t as far anymore. I have people at this part of the world that have known me for forever. And that is what this heart is.

I enjoyed making this because it has a mix of different elements. I used party tissue paper and made 2 layers by gluing two sheets together. I wanted it to have a see through feel that would seem delicate but strong enough to not bend over under the weight of the added elements.  After the sheets dried, I cut out 2 hearts and also cut out a tiny window almost at the middle of each of  them. I made two tiny paintings (I think I should consider making tiny paintings. So Kawaii.) and placed them at the windows, located where the heart would be on a person’s body.

   

One painting represents the people that are dear to me tug my heart strings. The other is a depiction of the location I call home with a little touch of politcal humor in it.

The last touch is the fringe I made with white yarn. After I glued down the miniature paintings to one layer, I added strings of yarn all round the edge then placed the second layer of tissue on top then left it under a heavy book to make sure it dries well.

I used watercolor to give it a splash of color andthen combed out the strings to make it fluffy. I had to give a layer of white acrylic paint on it to cover my mistakes with the watercolor so the see through was over shadowed. But it stll looks good. Just what I wanted it to look like.

A nice represantation of my loved ones.

‘The Heart of Man Is Very Much Like The Sea…’

Queen of Hearts Project

When I started making hearts for 2018, my aim was to make it like a journal. Everyday, I draw out what the day felt like to me and if I can, create it. And it was a grand plan and I started off strong, drawing out my feelings, feeling like the most accomplished artist that has ever lived as I imagined what shall become of my hearts at the end of the year. And yes, it didn’t take long before it hit me that I counted and groomed all my eggs before they hatched. But let’s not focus on that right now. Instead, allow me to take you through some of the hearts I already have.

Van Gogh once said

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too.’

These words rang true as I designed this specific heart.

Something dissapointing happened. I cried my eyes out but at the same time, the urge to throw so much emotion at the situation came rushing in as well. There I was, anger, pain and love clashing and storming in me and yet, I had to take control over them as I acknowledged my life experiences. How different choices could have led my life down a different path. This heart’ represents that moment for me. The grey is for the storm, with red rhinestones that remind me of precious moments and the chains of beads are my tears (This was a really literal piece).

I love this piece alot as it remnds me that life is a mix of such days and even those are precious too.

 

 

Happy Valentine

Queen of Hearts Project

It feels like kismet, you know. The very first post about my year long project is on Valentine’s day.

For a long time, it seemed like I had a love hate relationship with val’s day. I only really started enjoying val’s day when I stopped hoping and wishing for this fairytale love story to happen to me. It was the year I accepted that I may never have that experience and that that is actually ok that val’s day became a fun day(I was part of the organising team for a val’s party and we painted the school red…literally).

Since then, it has become a day that I mark with friends, loved ones and now, in my studio, making hearts. In my bid to challenge myself in 2018, I decided to make a heart every day. Yes. 365 hearts should be my end result by december 31st, 2018.

I won’t lie. It has been hard keeping up with it as I have other projects I am working on, building both my portfolio and my business as an artist. But this is mine, you know. The more I work on it, the more ideas come and there are 365 ways to make a heart. This is just one of them.

There are more hearts to show you, I promise to do that in the coming days. I am still not sure what to call my project though. I am kinda between ‘Queen of Hearts’ or ‘My Heart Project’. Hmmm, maybe something else. What do you think?

The Journey Begins

Uncategorized

I fell off blogging sometime back. Not because I lacked content…though that happens once in a while, it was because I wasn’t sure if my voice was being heard. But I realised that it wasn’t about being heard, it was about if that was my voice was true to me.  We know how complicated living is and finding what you are truly about takes courage, vulnerability and a strong liver.

I want to live a life that is absolutely me. With all the good, the bad, the ugly. This is what living is all about and I go through this everytime I make something. There is always an ugly side that tends to be part of the process which helps me appreciate the result more in the end.

So, as I start the journey of writing again, about my work and work process, I would like to ask you to be a part of it as well.

Hello, I am Amsa Yaro and this is my studio.