I grew up on Montague Street, London next to the British Museum-number 21 to be exact. It had a brass knocker on a black door. Our street was diverse with English, Italians, Greeks, Irish, Jews and one mixed race family- our’s. Everyone got along on Montague. My father was from Accra, Ghana-in those days called The Gold Coast. It sounded magical tome. Mum was a Lancashire lass. Dad was an African Novelty showman calling him Prince Zulamkah, Prince of the Zulus. He would travel all over England with his troupe performing African Shows. I was full of imagination and very dreamy. I loved to dance and listen to music. Russell Square was at the end of Montague Street. You could rent a deck chair for a few pence to see marvelous matinee plays.
I would sit at the kitchen table and design dresses with my colored pencils. I wanted to be a dress designer someday. Being biracial (called half-caste in those days) I had to avoid certain flats (apartments) where kids would call me names. I always felt all people should value their differences and embrace their heritage and humanity. I went to St Martin-in-the-Fields School on Trafalgar Square. I loved school especially the art classes.
Fast forward to today. About 15 years ago I began to draw again. I went to classes at Parsons New School of Design in NYC. I started with watercolors. Now I concentrate on acrylics on canvas and wood. I love the flow of the acrylic medium. I love colors that are vibrant, but also those that are subtle. I have an idea in my mind and play background music that fits the idea. Some of my paintings are lush gardens with highly textured flowers. I want people to feel they could actually pick the flowers.
When someone enters a room with one of my paintings I hope they feel good, even joyful and at peace. Some garden paintings, when they are finished feel very spiritual. When I look at a finished painting, I want to feel it in my soul. Other paintings are complex and abstract. I like to create a design with one overall color theme. The designs flow from my head. I wonder if Africa has something to do with my abstracts. My garden themes seem to flow from England.
With my husband, first assistant and loyal subject, I enjoy being on the road and meeting new friends and patrons. I especially love to see smiling faces in the booth. Also, we enjoy the camaraderie of other artists.
(PS The name “kole” comes from my fathers sister in Ghana, who I never met. He had her photograph on the mantlepiece. I am sure she is with me in spirit)