Haitian Girl [ 1804 ]
Haitian Girl - 32"x40" oil pastels on board created in 1996. I wanted to use vivid primary colors on a black surface and I think it worked out. It's one of my favorites and so many people wanted to purchase it, but I could not part with it. I liked it so much that most of my work use this 32" x 40" black graphic board as a surface to apply oil pastels. I do struggle to find the funds to create my art, I found using these graphic design boards as a good alternative to using stretched canvas.
Now in 2002, I've edited and added "Haitian Girl" to the top right corner of a 12 panel piece titled
"1804" to balance and enhance the composition and theme of the piece.
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I've been working on 1804 for the past 3 years, It is a mixed media collage on board. This will be my largest piece to date at 8' feet high by 16' feet wide. I started with 6 panels and soon lost track of it and it just became larger as the years went by and having the panels on the floor of my apartment in Bridgeport, Connecticut. sometimes late at night I would look at the composition and feel I should add more to it and I would work on it till the next morning. Now I'm running out of space on my floor and I hope to finish it by the end of this year. I will write more about "1804" for now visit my work in progress mac.com pages to view updated photos of it.
Kings Once is another oil pastel piece created when I was really feeling the "Egypt and Nubian Theme" I think I did about 6 or 7 pieces using the this theme during 1996-1997. I think my best one was "Queen's Bath" I regret never taking a good picture of that one before a good friend of mines took it. I will have to chase that piece down to add it to my portfolio here.
Using chains in my work was also prevalent during that time because I was nearly homeless and sleeping on the floor of a run-down rooming house on Park Avenue near the University of Bridgeport. I was dealing with very chronic health issues due to Sickle Cell Anemia at the time, so I used my oil pastels at night drawing on the floor in my room to cope and just escape while I did my art. The chains represent my feelings of despair and feelings of being repressed and held back from my dreams and desire to change my life.
I later took all the works I created in that little room to the Art Department of the University of Bridgeport to get into the school. I had to start over again as a Freshmen which I hated because I could not transfer any credits from the 2 years I completed with honors at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. One of my art teachers could not even draw at U.B. so out of frustration I used a 24 hour pass to the Unix lab to get on the net where I learned to use HTML and created a home page (using a free web page provider) for persons with Sickle Cell Disease.
The Sickle Cell Patient's Page, became very successful and I would spend all night at the lab working on it and hardly going to my morning art classes. I was in the hospital very often at that time and Sickle Cell advocacy was first on my list of priorities. I credit the University of Bridgeport for my love of web design.
Lacaye 1 - Oil Pastel on paper created in 1997.
I enjoyed the colors of paint used on houses and doors in Haiti. These colors give me a feeling of being home and belonging. I also did Lacaye 2 at the same time as this piece.
Lacaye 1 was given as a gift to a dear friend who really dislikes me now. Sometime when very depressed I do stupid things and I have gained many ex-friends who hate me because of my mistakes and poor choices...
Sometimes I think hey life is dull without the drama. Most artist have strange moods... yet, I don't think an artist needs to be depressed to better his creations. I have had too much pain in my life I want strive to find joy... until then my art and those colors I use is my lacaye, my home...
I may try to recreated this piece since I love the black shadow effects against the red, I would remove the window to the right, the composition feels off to me.
Lacaye 2 Oil Pastel on paper. I plan to do more with the house fronts in Haiti theme. I have not been back to Haiti since 1986, I hope to go back someday and take photos of homes for my "Lacaye Series".
Why do I paint?
Painting is my meditation, it bring a calm the pain in my life. As a person living with Sickle Cell I learned many ways to cope and overcome my pain. While growing up in Haiti, the colors of the tropical climate always made me smile, a bright day always made my pain feel a bit better.
I moved away from my tropical birthplace at a young age. The colors changed and my pain grew stronger as I got older, sure everyone loves a sunny day, but its not always sunny. Painting gave me a way to create that sunny day, despite the rain of despair and clouds of pain.
Knowing the sun will always rise gives me comfort, but creating that sunrise on canvas is a joy that brings me my greatest hope for a better day tomorrow.