S&M 7,8,9 – Sorry Officer I didn’t mean to!

Written By: AnneBH - May• 15•12

Of course you did said the traffic officer when he pulled me over last Sunday morning. You see I hd become a little impatient with this silver Volvo driving in front of me in Malvern last Sunday and as I overtook the car in a fit of uncharacteristic impatience I swore for the umpteenth time at the number of Sunday drivers out this fine Sunday morning. Only this chap was not amused and no sooner had I over taken him than on came the blues and twos. “Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asked in a rather high pitched voice that Lorraine says almost shattered the windows on our car. Why do they have to ask that? I wondered. Of cours I know why but I have to appear contrite and penitent so I did. “I am really sorry, I didnt mean to…”

He is right, I thought but it’s best not to argue so I got off with a telling off and drove off at 5mph behind every car on front of me for the rest of the afternoon.
What a weekend! After extolling the virtues of my #2 son George on his 18th birthday and what a wonderful kid he is and all that, he only goes and gets involved in a fight in a night club and ends up in a police cell. This time being his 18th birthday, I don’t get a phone call and he learns at this very early stage in his life what it’s really like to spend a night in a police cell or ‘counterback’ as we call it in Ghana. How important it is to keep declaring God’s protection, grace and positivity over our children. Sometimes it is so much better to walk away but try telling that to a testosterone loaded freshly baked 18 year old who has just ceremoniously burned his fake ID and is ready or so he thinks to step into the world of real grown ups. What a wake up call?

Well ok so much for that… The funding drive for the October show is well underway and we have already hit 2% of our target. It is encouring but we need more so if you are reading this got to http://www.sponsume.com/project/sunshine-music and give us your money!!! as Bob Geldoff once said (notice I left the expletives out?) When you have finished giving us your money, phone, email, FB, twitter your friends and get them to do the same.
Right enough of my shameless begging. My late brother Gabriel had a wonderful saying, ‘A friend in need is a friend to be avoided!!’ If I don’t hear from you, I’ll know you are avoiding me.

On a very serious note though, we have some wonderful inducements, you are not giving your money away, just see it as you acquiring one of our paintings for a seriously knock down price. Check out the rewards on http://www.sponsume.com/project/sunshine-music and you will know what I mean.

S&M6 Double chocolate chip cookie with ice cream on top!!!

Written By: AnneBH - May• 12•12

Can you tell I am really pleased with myself today? There is much tail wagging in camp  Anne today with a double celebration to launch the new video and the start of the campaign to raise £5000 for the exhibition in October.  It’s not Steven Speilberg so don’t expect too much and as home videos go… well it’s not bad even if I say so myself.  I stutter and I falter and I am not great behind the camera and I did all the editing myself and it fades in and out prematurely but you know what? I did it and yes I am proud of it.

So it’s on the Sponsume website and it’s on my facebook and Lorraine has sent it to all her ex and serving army buddies and I am so pleased they are all behind me. We managed to raise 1% yes a mighty great whopping 1% of our total today. Do you have any idea how I feel about that? Elated! YES ABSOLUTELY ELATED!!!!

Tomorrow, more campaigns and more fund raising but at least this exhibition is very nearly a reality (by 1%) and right now that is good enough for me. Thank you thank you thank you.


Right my second celebration is for George my middle son who turned 18 today!!! I haven’t seen much of him. He has been out and about celebrating with his mates since last night and has been in and out today. Somewhere in the midst of all that he had to go to work (bless him) but his friends were round this evening to take him out and give him a really good time.

I am a happy bunny this evening as I sit and reflect on the past 18 years and to the moment early that morning of 12th May 1994 when he made his debut into this wonderful world of ours. I was able to go home from the hospital that same day and as I turned the telly on at about mid day, labour leader John Smith had passed on into the world of light following a massive heart attack. That was the news that was.

Well many Happy Returns my dear George. You have grown up into a fine young lad and your mum is really proud of you.


S&M5 Look I’m frazzled ok?

Written By: AnneBH - May• 11•12

I am feeling like a petulant child right now; arms folded, lips pouting and telling my teenage kids how very unfair life is. You can tell how bad things are for me when I start trying to reason with teenagers. In Ghana there is an old African saying, which only makes sense if I give it to you literally… when you are taking a bath and a mad man comes to steal your towel are you going to run naked after him? Don’t try and figure out what mad men might be doing in your plush bathroom, don’t forget we are in Africa in the days of yore when plush bathrooms were not yet invented, when you did your ablutions in the back of your yard and went away quite contented. Anyway the moral of the story if I were to remain on track… don’t stoop to the level mad men and teenagers or better still mad teenagers.

Having been totally bent out of shape by my foolishness I am now back in the world of video editing. Who would have thunk a 3 minute video would take me 3 days? What kind of productivity is that? I am not a perfectionist and not nearly an expert but I do want to get this right, what with laying sound tracks and audio mixes and all that.

I am well into day 5 of this project. By day 70 my paypal account should be ringing with the sound of shiny new coins in excess of five thousand pounds.

I MUST finish this video this evening. Tomorrow my #2 son George will be 18 and much as I would like to be stuck in my office fund raising and editing videos I have committed to spending some time with him.

18 years eh? wow!!


(c) Anne Blankson-Hemans


S&M4 C’mon, c’mon, c’mon

Written By: AnneBH - May• 10•12

This isn’t going well at all. I recorded the video yesterday. That was ok, Lorraine fired questions at me and I answered them. I felt really good cos all I had to do was pretend I was Rolf Harris being interviewed by Piers Morgan. Then Lorraine and I fell out because she was I upset I was going to edit her questions out of the video. Look girlie I told you, it’s not about you…

Anyway that’s done and now I have to edit it and add slides and titles and all that plus a heap of background music. I know  in my head what I want to do but somehow cant seem to translate it out of my brain and into the computer software I am using. I know you are probably thinking why don’t you get someone else who knows what they are doing to edit it for you? Or maybe you are not asking the question because you know me well enough; why do it the easy way when you can suffer instead? Yes I am a glutton for punishment!

Well, there is no gain without pain right? I am going to lock, yes lock myself in my office today and I not coming out til it’s done. if I haven’t emerged by midnight tonight, you might have to send a search party out to come and find me.


Sunshine & Music Take 50 (c) Anne Blankson-Hemans



S&M3 The Making of the Video

Written By: AnneBH - May• 09•12

Day 3!! Did I say I’d blog  on a daily basis? hmmm whoever said procrastination is the thief of time knew exactly what they were talking about. I have been trying make the video for this project and have been racking my mind about how best to do it. To be totally honest with you I am not great in front of the camera, I mean I am perfectly fine in an interview situation and can talk until they pull me off camera by my dreadz but tell me to make a video blog and I am all at sea.

So having discussed it with my best (and clearly my only) friend Seiwa, we’ve decided perhaps we ought to make it sound like an interview situation. So this afternoon, I will set up the video camera in my kitchen, sorry studio and we will begin. Lorraine will interview me and I will respond like a true pro. I need to get that video online so the site can go live and I can’t put it off any longer.

Meanwhile,  I have posted details of our plans on my facebook site and have noticed (I will try to remain in denial), how very few likes I have received already. This is not meant to be a painful project and every little amount donated will be gratefully received.

Checkers Delight (c) Larry Otoo


Sunshine & Music {day 1}

Written By: AnneBH - May• 09•12

My friend Larry and I have decided to hold a two man  (or should I be pc and say two person?) exhibition. Neither of us have ever organised one of these before as most of our shows have been organised by the galleries and expos who have shown our work but we live in a brave new world of social media so why not?

Larry is a well known Ghanaian artist and has his works in collections all over the world. He has recently completed  a residency in Spain and so you can imagine how excited I was when he suggested we hold an exhbition together in London.

I do love a challenge and straight away decided to take it on; we need to find a gallery, get a theme, raise some funds, find buyers, collectors, galleries and really it should be a load of fun I told him.

(c) Larry Otoo - www.larryotoo.com

In the spirit of all the things I do I am dedicating today as day 1 of our project. We have decided the exhibition will be in October in London and already I have a list of galleries and costs. The exhibition will run for 1 week. This is probably the easiest bit.

The next task is to do some fund raising: exhibitions cost money, you have to rent the gallery space, create and print catalogues, make flyers and posters, do some marketing and publicity and then invite people to come along and have a load of fun but above all buy your paintings and add them to their collections.

I have found a great site for the fundraising, it is a crowd funding site called Sponsume. It really is fantastic, you list your project, describe what its all about, create an accompanying short video and then invite people to come along and sponsor you. In order to make them do this, there has to be some inducement, some incentive and Larry and I  have come up with what we feel is a generous list which bottom line allows sponsors to own some of our paintings for a much better price than they would normally buy it for.

Red Lobster (c) Larry Otoo

So this is day one. The site has been set up and the video is is progress. I hope to get that finished soon. I hope to raise our target amount of £5000 in just over 70 days.  Meanwhile here are a couple of pictures from our portfolio.

Please keep checking back soon. We would love to share the journey will you. Or better still join my mailing list or click on the ‘follow’ link below so you get updates as and when they come out.

Wish us luck.


Reflection (c) Anne Blankson-Hemans

Springtime and Harvest

Written By: AnneBH - Apr• 25•12

Blogging isn’t as easy as I expected it to be but thinking about it I am not really sure what I expected. Like everything else it is a discipline and I need to get into some kind of routine with it. It is not as though I have nothing to say, so much goes on in my life but like everything else there is no real routine. Blogging experts do exhort us to blog on a regular basis so this is one discipline I will strive to perfect.

Having said all this, let me fill you in with what has been happening. My secret missions to London have now come to an end and I am waiting for the time when I will be able to tell you more about it. It should not be too long now so watch this space or subscribe to my blog.

You all will know I made the decision late last year to become a full time artist. This hasnt been plain sailing I will have you know and the reality of starving artist is more er… well reality than myth. The emerging artists life is not an easy one I can tell you. But I have been sowing seeds; my application to be on the BBC2 series Show Me The Monet was exciting and eye opening, a couple of applications to exhibit with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Lynn Painter Stainers exhibition, BP Portrait Awards and a few others which did not yield the expected results has taught me I need to take the rough with the smooth.

One very exciting highlight has been my exhibition  at the Malvern Theatres in Worcestershire. I was invited by my online gallery aptly called ArtGallery to join two other artists in hanging an exhibition from April 1st to 13th May. 6 whole weeks of showing off my paintings to a theatre with a footfall of 7000 people a week!. The exhibition is up and as we were hanging I was delighted to hear some of the comments by theatre visitors as the observed us whilst we measured and gauged and pulled and tugged to get the paintings hanging just right.


Exhib at Malvern Theatres, Worcs Apr 1 - May 13 2012


So my seeds have been sown and the spring is here. I am waiting patiently for the harvest which I am hoping will be bountiful.

As always, my prayer is one of thanksgiving for the gift of being able to paint to the delight of others as well as myself and also one of intercession on behalf of those considering a purchase; let the decision be swift, positive and er…  mutually beneficial. Have a blessed day!


Busy As A Bee

Written By: AnneBH - Mar• 05•12

Well after a good beginning to the year with top secret missions to Birmingham and London, I am now in full output mode for the month of March painting away as though my life depends on it. I guess my life does depend on painting in a manner of speaking because I intend for this to be a good source of income. I have to say as a believer though, God is my source and on Him I depend.

Nevertheless I am required to do my bit with the good Lord having established the works of my hands, said hands are furiously busy, making stretchers, sanding, priming, painting and more of the same.

This month I hope to take part in ArtExpo New York. This is arguably the largest art exhbition in New York and even though it is targeted mostly at galleries, they have a section for solo artists. Seiwa and I have stepped out in faith and are believing that the funding will come through at the right moment for us to get on that plane along with about 10 paintings a-piece for the show. I have had success at ArtExpo in 2008 managing to sell 5 of the 8 paintings I took with me. Even though sales were good, my first time experience meant I could only break even after totting up my travel, hotel and shipping expenses. Nevertheless it was a good experience and one that stands me in good stead for this month’s show.

My booth at ArtExpo NY 2008 (c) Anne Blankson-Hemans

So what else? Well I am producing works for a number of exhibitions and competitions. Secretly (between you and me) I would love to win some of these competitions as the prizes are worth the letter home but acceptance into the exhibition must come first. So as my portrait of George dries in one corner for the BP Portrait Award and another waits patiently for hopeful acceptance of a shortlist to the Liverpool John Moore’s painting  prize, 3 other portraits of Seiwa, Lorraine and the African Woman have gained pre-selection to the Royal Portrait Society‘s annual exhibition. Whilst I await the handing in dates for those, I must now focus on a couple of shows in April and May. You got to be in it to win it right?

My online gallery have kindly invited me to take part in a 3 man (or should I say 3 person?) exhibition at the Malvern Theatres early April and I am busy preparing for this. Next month, I must put 4 paintings forward for the Society of Women Artists annual exhibition and in May my local art society are holding a themed exhibition at Delapre Abbey to raise funds for the Friends of Delapre Abbey. I have some great (yeah yeah) paintings for this show after walking nearly 10 miles in the snow earlier this year. Let us hope the work of my legs (as well as my hands) is greatly established in some well deserved sales.

So here we are, Monday morning the 5th of March; our lovely postie has just delivered my daily supply of  junk mail and thankfully there are no bills or letters to worry about at least for today and concerning these matters, I must take each day as it comes. I must plod on. I will give you a sneak preview into my studio (aka my kitchen) by video as soon as I have time to make one.

So toodle doo! Have a fab week and God bless us and continue to prosper us all.

The Master’s Hand

Written By: AnneBH - Feb• 17•12

I have been sworn to secrecy and so cannot say much more about my trip to Birmingham last week. I went up on the train with Lorraine and we were met at Birmingham New Street by one of her ex-army buddies; a fine woman called Babs who was immensely proud (and I would be) of her Warwickshire roots.

After my secret meeting, Babs offered to show us around the city and after giving us a potted history of the Custard Factory; did you know Alfred Bird’s was the first custard to be developed without eggs? Well I didn’t know either having never made custard before with or without eggs but apparently it is quite a feat.

So after lunch in some massive food court in some shopping mall we made our way on foot towards the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery but not before stopping at the fountain outside the City Council offices in Victoria Square to admire the statue in Mistry’s fountain ‘The River’ fondly referred to as ‘The floozie in the jacuzzi’.

None of this is a digression, as the afternoon wore on, I began to appreciate more and more the beauty of nature and the beauty of invention and not for the first time my heart went out in great appreciation of the gifts that people have to create the wonderful things we see around us and so often take for granted.

At the Birmingham Museum and Art gallery I was overwhelmed by what is apparently the largest collection of pre-raphaelite paintings in the world. Wow and double wow!! Try as I might, I could not scrutinize enough the detail of the paintings and imagine at the same time what it would have been like to be a fly on the wall in the studio of the artists as these paintings were being created and to be that same fly several hundred years later.

If looking at the pre-raphaelite paintings was the icing on my Brummie cake, the cherry on top was yet to come because in one of the smaller galleries was a display of 10 drawings by the master himself – Leonardo da Vinci!  Joy of joys, I could barely contain my excitement. Before my eyes were images I had only ever seen in my art history books. The drawings were exquisite and much smaller than I’d ever imagined them to be but the detail… I was amazed at how fresh the drawings were considering they were several hundred years old.  Some of the drawings had also been illustrated with notes in very tiny handwriting and it was all back to front; the original da vinci code.  I can only describe how I felt in a single word; awesome! The master’s hand preserved for posterity.

Exhibition of 10 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci at Birmingham Museum of Art


The Case of the Missing Photo

Written By: AnneBH - Jan• 28•12

Right I think my feet are firmly back on terra firma after buzzing around these last couple of days like a bee on Prozac. It’s been really exciting and not that I wish myself ill but my lofty 51 year old body can only take so much buzz before it starts to show signs of physical strain.                   

(c) Anne Blankson-Hemans, inspiration for the Elmina paintings

So now that I am back down to earth, I am ready to deal with the practicalities of what’s required for my face to face meeting with the production team in Birmingham on Thursday. They need me to bring my passport so I can identify myself and prove that I am UK resident; that’s all ok but they also require me to prove I am the author of the aforementioned painting which although understandable is proving slightly more challenging. I don’t think at any time in my studio whilst painting I’d be required to prove authorship of my work and so haven’t really kept an audit trail of me sketching, drawing painting etc. I mean how was I supposed to know I might nearly become famous one day?

However, it’s a reasonable request. I have a very imaginative mind and one of my imaginations albeit fleetingly (these thoughts are not allowed to dwell for too long) was of someone turning up with an exquisite forgery formed in China claiming also to be the author of my work.

So when my feet finally hit the ground last night, I was hit by the sobering thought that I really ought to try and prove my authorship and started to search frantically through a number of computers (yes I do have more computers here than PC World -long story) and portable hard disk drives for any photographs I had taken during my trip to Ghana over the the Christmas break of 2005/2006.

Through a cruel twist of fate none of this material was readily available. Here is how it happened: Lorraine had come along with us to Ghana for that memorable trip. (us being me and the kids). She had brought her camera with which the pictures were taken and her laptop onto which the pictures were stored. With me so far? When we returned to England as a further precautionary backup I transferred the images both to my own laptop and a personal data stick. You can’t back up more than that can you? Now listen to what happened and see if any judge would believe it easily.  Both my  laptop and Lorraine’s laptop failed within days of each other. Not to worry, the data stick was still available so I took it into work and asked Alix (an employee at the time) to transfer the images onto one of the computers in the office which he happily agreed to do. So he plugged the stick into the USB port and at that moment his mobile phone went off. So (listen to this carefully and visualise it in slow motion if you can), he stood up instinctively, pushed his chair back and then nightmare of all nightmares, the datastick flew out of the USB port with such a force the protective case snapped right open and out flew the little green motherboard. The ribbon on the stick had tangled itself round his chair and there it was, my data stick in pieces!

So there we are m’lud, the case of the missing evidential data.

This tale has a happy ending. During my frantic search I came across yet another external drive labelled January 2008 and with pounding heart I plugged it in. My obssession with backing up data (albeit in a haphazzard way) had finally paid off! There in a folder named ‘Pics’ were my beloved photos, and amongst them the photo of the scene at the harbour at Elmina that had inspired Harbour Markets Elmina I and II.



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