Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 33, 34 & 35


Around the Royal Theatre Before The Rain, Acrylic on Board, 40cm x 20cm, 2009

The painting won the Plein Air Plus prize at The Bath Prize in 2009

Now, if there's been any single painting that has opened up so many opportunities for me during my career so far, it is this little one! It was the year 2009 and things were starting to go from bad to worse. I kept on wondering how I'll be able to pick up the magic that the year started with, but everything seemed bleak. I remember walking into Borders Bookshop on Charing Cross Road and I didn't even have enough money to buy an art magazine, I decided to sit there and read it through. While checking through this art magazine, I saw an advert on The 2009 Bath Prize. There were a couple of Prizes at stake and one of them was The Plein Air Prize worth £1,000 cash for the best plein air painting that depicts life in Bath. I thought to myself, " I think I can do this!" We were to travel down to Bath and get a random location picked for us. I was allocated a place called The Theatre Royal. It was my first time in Bath and I didn't even know how to get there. I asked directions from the gallery people who were organizing the competition and they gave me directions and I finally got there. But unfortunately it started get all dull and grey and I almost regretted going. But I had to encourage myself to just paint it as it was. I was using acrylics to do my plein air paintings at the time and because I had to avoid the rain, I pitched under a shelter and painted with all my heart, an unpretentious view of The Theatre Royal just before the rain.

I submitted the work with 2 other paintings I did from pictures. But when the competition results came out it was this little painting that won the prize! I won £1,000 cash! It meant the world to me! Not only that-A lady walked up to me during the exhibition and asked me to explain my painting process of the scene. I did that with the most vivid illustrations and enthusiasm. At the end she decided she was going to buy the painting for £750! Now that was it! I also sold one of the other paintings I put in for £1,375 ! It all happened so fast that I had to keep pace with the sudden breakthrough. This led me to sell many more paintings in Bath. It helped me get so much publicity in the papers and the local magazines! I ended up being a judge for the next competition and I had a solo exhibition with 212, 6" x 8" plein paintings all of Bath-and most recently selling my works in an auction in Bath! It's been an incredible love affair and ever since going to Bath in 2009, I always long to get there again and do more paintings of the glorious world heritage city! The story won't be complete without mentioning Mr Mike Porter, a man who simply believed in me and encouraged me to keep at it! I haven't looked back since then and it has been a wonderful experience all because of an opportunity that opened up and the willingness to take it at the time it opened. I am saying this because many artists are out there working so hard but never seem get recognition. It can be that way sometimes, but the key is never to give up or stop practicing because one day that preparation and hard work is going to meet an opportunity that has been waiting for the right moment and that will only happen to those who have keep going and keep believing!!!


Rush Hour VIII, Oil on Canvas,24" x 20", 2011

This is one of my Rush Hour paintings. It's not so crowded but it shows the movement, depression and utter frustration of being in these situations. I snapped this scene with my camera on one of the days I was on the escalator on the Jubilee line at London Bridge. I decided to paint it as part of my group exhibition last year with Enid Lawson Gallery on London Paintings. I was so happy when a lady who introduced herself as Margaret Thacthers Nurse bought it and said it captured everything she felt about these situations in London! She took the painting off with her to South Africa! I 'm always thrilled by these people who can strongly relate to what I had in mind while doing the piece.

I really love crowded scenes, I tend to treat each figure like a still life object. It's always nice to see how they come out in the end, as I used a shape by shape technique to complete it. The process of this painting can be seen HERE


On The Way To Bath Rugby Home Game, Oil on Canvas, 36" x 24", 2011

The story about this painting can be seen by clicking HERE. It was posted in March and in order not repeat everything I have said so recently I have decided to have the link HERE.

I said I wouldn't write about it but I can't ....It's a painting I did when on a visit to Bath I saw all these Bath Rugby supporters on their way to an afternoon home game, I must have taken about 50 pictures that afternoon but settled for this one because of the balance in the composition. It 's also a painting I did with only 4 colours to keep the harmony alive. The colours used were Terra Rosa, Yellow Orche, Prussian Blue and Titanium White.

I was exhibited at the Bath Prize in 2011, it didn't sell at the auction but a week after on a day when Bath Rugby were playing it was put in the shop front and inquiries started flooding in and a couple showed interest and now have this painting with them included in the crowd! I ended up going to their home to include them in the painting.

Preparation does not mean mastery of the facts. It does not mean knowing all the answers. It does not necessarily mean achieving the consensus. (Former British minister Margaret Thactcher remarked that " consensus is the negation of leadership.")It means putting yourself in a better position to succeed."-John C. Maxwell from his Book "Talent is Never Enough"


Azra said...

How inspirational!! I love all three paintings but especially the Royal theatre,you've captured a great atmosphere!

adebanji said...

Thanks Azra!!

Unknown said...

You're so talented! I love all of your work.

adebanji said...

Thanks Paula!

Balaji Venugopal said...

This entire series is wonderful but I find the story behind the first painting in this post particularly heartwarming.

adebanji said...

Thanks Balaji, even as I was writing about it, it felt so heart- warming and emotional too. Just looking back makes me glad and full of thanks to God!

Unknown said...

You are such a fantastic talent and inspiration Adebanji! Following you over the last few years to see your career grow and grow has been such a thrill. Dare I repeat myself: LOVE your art :D

adebanji said...

Thanks so much Sheona!!!!!!