Wednesday, February 18, 2009
African watercolor sketches
Early in 1971 my wife and I roamed Africa, a place of incredible contrasts. It was actually a long vacation and we visited Ghana, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. I shot this cover photo in my own backyard using a sketch that I did in the Makola Market in Accra, Ghana. The Coke bottle was from Addis Ababa with the Coca Cola logo in Amharic.
Makola Market is one of the largest in Africa. The women vendors were highly superstitious, when I began photographing the various stalls, they rapidly covered up all of the food. When I began doing sketches they reluctantly posed.
The market is dominated by women who seem to do all of the buying and selling, elegant women with fantastic postures from carrying heavy bundles upon their heads.
We stayed at a handsome government lodge at Ngulia Hills in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya. There was a water hole nearby and we saw many wild animals there at all hours of the day and night. While I sketched these elephants, 22 more ambled over the hill.
This sketch was done in Khartoum, the capital of the Sudan. The British built a large pumping station when they were here and even though this is a desert city, there are many trees growing everywhere. It's a strange city, very exotic, unfamiliar.
Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia, a charming, sophisticated city. The scene sketched here is only part of the remarkable panorama we could see from our balcony. It's located so near the equator that you'd expect it to be miserably hot. Instead, because of its 8,000 foot elevation, it's always cool in the shade.