Normandy Alden took many beautiful pictures while in Niger, and when she came back, she gave a presentation about her visit at the College.  I was then a student, and I loved the pictures of kids, so I asked if I could have some of the photos to draw from.

This is the first one I did, in 2005:

Little Nigerien Girl

It was my first time playing around with sanded paper – the strokes are tentative, and like a lot of my earlier work – which was all on Mi-Teintes paper – you can see the grey paper showing through the pastel on face and arm.  With regular, toothed paper, pastel has to be gentle and careful, or you’ll get rid of the tooth, and then the pastel, which is just dusty pigment, will fall off.  Sanded paper holds the strokes much better, and will last much longer.  Now it’s all I use.

Here is my second one, roughly 2006.  You can see barely any of the white (sanded) paper beneath, except that which I left intentionally on the goat:

Girl with Goat

From a photo taken in Niger by Normandy Alden.

I’d intended, once I put down the wide array of vibrant colours, to mute them and blend them and even them out.  But I liked the joyfulness of the strokes so much, that I decided to leave it as it was.  I’d lose a lot of her squinting smile if I evened it out.  Now only the background sand is blended.

This next one my Mom really liked, so I gave it to her for Mother’s Day or her birthday while it was still unfinished.  But here it is–done!   Now it’s one of my favourites.

The Sower

Copyright 2010-2011 Ayisha Synnestvedt.  All rights reserved.  Artwork images at this site may not be duplicated or redistributed in any form without express permission.  If you would like to use  images from this site, please contact the artist for permission.