Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Girl Power

 To purchase this painting

I have just added this painting to the site. I call it "Girl Power".  It is so much more than a colorful scene of a little girl walking down a dirt road. She is charged up, empowered, she just got off the bus from school! I know, because I was on the bus with her that day. Going to school is a big deal where she lives in one of those little shacks in the distance. I love the confidence in her walk.

She is one of the fortunate kids who is going to Future Leaders Underprivileged Children's Center, near Accra, Ghana in West Africa where children from needy families can learn for free.

This 8 x 10 original oil painting is available for $350. Limited edition prints are $95. If you purchase this painting or any painting on my site you will be helping to build a school for this little girl and others like her. Proceeds from each sale are donated to Future Leaders UCC.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Recycle you old computer to help children in need

I just heard from Billa in Ghana that the local public school near his underprivileged children's center does not even have a computer. We would like to find computers to give them too. The tiny computer lab we started last year, in an old shipping container, is not only helping the children learn but has been an asset to the community. I know so many people upgrade computers every couple of years and the old ones are just taking up space on a shelf somewhere. Please consider donating your old lab top or small desk top to help these needy children learn. 

Send me an email if you have one to give.  AdrienneArtist@gmail.com
This is the computer lab when it started in May of 2013.

The computer lab today is still humble but now has chairs and more computers. I get such a kick out of seeing my donations in use.

I have been boxing up donations in my garage for the shipment that will leave in August. There is still time to contribute. I always post pictures of the donations once they reach their new home.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Shipping to Ghana in August

Word has spread and I now have a minion of angels out collecting donations for the needy families in Ghana. Someone stops by at least once a day to drop something off and I love the company of  like minded people. We all hate to see the excesses here in America go to waste when there are people who really need them. 

What started out as just a pile has now filled my garage. Good thing it is summer and the cars can go outside.

Marge Buzzelli, is a former school teacher and has been going to various schools like Wolf Trap Elementary and Oak Hill Elementary to collect material from the teachers as they clean out their classrooms for the summer.

Anne Marquis works at The Closet, a resale shop in Herndon, VA and has been buying books and sewing machines for Future Leaders. Yup, she has been shopping her store, plus garage sales and church flea markets. One Saturday,  my son ran into her at a garage sale when they were both reaching for the same books. When she mentioned she was shopping for kids in Ghana. He said, "Oh those are for my mom", and they became shopping buddies and were able to carry more books together.   Here is Anne dropping off a sewing machine with my husband Ken.

I discovered a great way to get clothes for the kids. The school lost and founds! Here is a picture of the big bag of sweatshirts I am washing to get them nice and clean for the kids. 


There is so much more to say, but so little time. There is big news about the land for the school and so much to do to get ready for the next shipment. I will try to blog more on a regular basis now that so much is going on.

Oh and Today I am selling this print to help raise funds to ship the donations. To learn more go to my store

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More paintings of Motherly Love (or grandmotherly)

This painting has been good luck to those who own it. I'll explain. 

Version 2 of Maternal Kiss was larger at 12 x 16.

 Liane, loved this painting but the original was already sold.
The first version on Maternal Kiss is 8 x 10.
So, she asked me to paint another version in a different size that would fit in just the right spot in her living room. The colors and composition are a bit different from the original painting "Maternal Kiss" but the essence and emotion are the same. When Liane came to pick up the finished painting she said that it was even more special because she just found out that she was going to be a grandmother for the first time. She was thrilled and so was I.
   The next day, I got a call from the woman who purchase the original version. "Can you keep a secret?" she said. "I just have to tell someone,  I just found out that I am going to be a grandmother".
    Isn't that an amazing coincidence?  Two different women from different parts of the country purchased this painting and both learned they were going to become grandmothers.
     In honor of those future grandmothers I am posting some of my more popular African mother and child paintings. I can't guarantee you will get good news too but I can promise you that you will be helping a child in need if you purchase a print. (Proceeds from each print sale go to Future Leaders Underprivileged Children's Center in Ghana, which strives to provide a free education to children who otherwise could not go to school.)

To see what else is available to to www.shop.paintingbrighterfutures.com

Monday, February 3, 2014

Project Update

You never can tell who is going to be touched by this project or inspired to help. Last week, one of my dear friends from college, Rhonda Childs Amoroso, offered to start collecting donations from the her community. Then yesterday, I got a call from my neighbor Lynda's friend Marge. I ran into Marge at a dinner party last weekend where we talked about my project. She was so moved by the needs of the children in Ghana that she took the initiative to call contacts she had at her local elementary school and they agreed to donate teaching materials. So, I decided to do this blog entry to summarize the progress of the project so far so that anyone Rhonda or Marge directs this way can easily learn about the project.

Shipment of Books and School Supplies Delivered

Last week Billa, (director of Future Leaders in Ghana) posted pictures of the children with the donations that I sent late last year. It was difficult to find a way to get them there. I literally struck up a conversation with anyone I saw who I thought might be from Africa to listen for a Ghanaian accent and asked them if they knew of a way to send boxes of books to Ghana.  It is funny but I am normally shy when it comes talking to strangers but when it comes to helping my kids I am very determined. Now, I have an avenue to ship large boxes of donations to Ghana twice a year in a shipping container with local Ghanaians.  
It was so wonderful to see the kids with the books. The UCC is getting better all the time and more people around the world are stepping up to help this wonderful cause. Thank you Waples Mill Elementary, Manassas City Public Schools and Eagle Scout Paul Burke for your generous donations.

Someone asked what the classrooms look like so I included this picture. 

Website and Online Store is Up and Working


I have been working hard and learning a lot while customizing and updating my online store, blog and web sites. I have chosen to use this stripe of Kente fabric to unify everything. The prints and paintings are selling well, with the mother child scenes being the most popular.   I have started doing custom orders. So, if you see a painting or subject that you like but would like it in a different size or color scheme, feel free to ask. 

Best Behaved Child Awards Given Out Weekly

When I first brought suitcases full of donations we realized that even though I had  brought a lot, there still would not be enough for every child to have something new. So, Billa thought it would be good incentive to let the best behaved children from each class choose something from the donation pile at the end of the week. The pile included used shoes, clothes, back packs and school supplies. Imagine telling our kids that if they were the best behaved child in their class they could have a used pair of shoes or a notebook with some other child's name blacked out. The poverty these children are living in is hard to fathom. They are thrilled to have something new, anything. They are not required to go to school. Many of their parents don't care whether or not they go, so anything that can be done to reward them for taking the initiate to learn and improve their situation in life is helpful.

The New Computer Lab is Helping the kids Learn Faster

I was able to send another lap top computer in the container and several more Leapsters. Billa says that the Leapsters have been very helpful when the kids have one on one sessions with volunteers. I remember the first time I was in Ghana. I sat with a little boy using a chalk tablet. What an improvement. 
But, this is a big help for kids to learn English and Reading independently since there are so few teachers for so many kids. 

This is a picture of the computer lab in an old shipping container.

The Land Fund is Growing

My number one goal has been to raise funds for Billa to buy the land for his own center and not have to pay rent anymore. The fund is growing but slower than I would like. So, this weekend when we had our annual Super Bowl party I decided to set up a little display about the project on my dining room table.
I am happy to say that all of the football pool winners chose to donate their winnings to the land fund. Thanks everyone! I also hung the paintings of Africa all over my house so my friends could see them. I have so many framed and ready to exhibit. I know it is time to get out of my comfort zone (painting in my studio) and get out there and start marketing for an exhibition or fundraiser. This is hard for me because it goes against my basic personality. Wish me luck and guts.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My kids are Awesome!

There are so many reasons why this goofy picture of my son at the Medina Market in Accra, Ghana, makes my smile. I can just imagine my daughter Alexandra saying "Hey Stephen, go stand over there so I can take a picture of that scene for Mom".  How did I  know that?  Because I have asked them to do that for me time and time again, photographing people over their shoulders, so that my subject remained unaware and natural.

Last year my daughter gave me a wonderful gift, all the photos she took during the six months she lived in Africa. She is an amazing photographer. I often go through her photos looking for inspiration. Yesterday, I was looking for one particular photo I had seen of a little girl at the market when I saw this photo of my son. Before I ever went to Ghana or even thought I would, we sent our 16 year old son Stephen to visit his 19 year old sister. Stephen and Alex had some real adventures together. As a mother who worries, I am glad they told me about them after they had returned safely back to their host family's home. 

I never thought I would ever go to Africa so I asked Alexandra to take some very specific photos for me to use in my paintings. This was no easy task. But, it ends up that many of the best pictures were taken on the day she went to the market with her little brother. I could see how well they worked as a team. He served as a distraction so she could take photos without causing a scene or getting anyone upset, which had happened to her before. 

Here is the finished painting. I had forgotten that Stephen was in the original photo that inspired this painting. Now, I know what the woman in the background is looking at my daughter taking her brother's picture. To purchase this painting or a print, go to www.shop.paintingbrighterfutures.com

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pictures of the books and supplies in Africa

Here are a few pictures of the books and school supplies with the children at Future Leaders UCC.  Enjoy.

This is the first time that there was a text book for every student in a class. With phonics books for every level the kids can now advance at their own pace.

Children in Ghana with their new supplies.

Children at  Waples Mill Elementary School with the donations they collected.

The new reading  library in Ghana. Many of the parents in this area can not read and write themselves. Their options for employment are very, very limited. Now that their children are learning to read and write the family has a much greater chance for a better life. 

The kids holding up samples of the donations. If you give me a donation I will make sure that it ends up in the hands of a child in need. It will not go to waste sitting in a warehouse somewhere.

Even if they had the money to buy these books, which would be an enormous amount to them,  there is no where around to buy them.

In this picture  the teacher in the back holds up a teacher's manual. Teachers are very hard to find, money to pay teachers is very hard to raise . Imagine the help it will be for a teacher with very little or no training a to have a book with prepared lessons for every day of the year.

The learning games have been especially helpful with the one on one sessions with volunteers.

The little structure to the right is a typical classroom. Without this special place where poor children can learn for free and get a meal each day,  they would most likely go hungry and be out on the street.

I am going to continue to collect for Future Leaders. With 170 children at the center and many more on the waiting list the need is still great. I am looking for learning games, lap top computers, books, clothes, shoes, school supplies, sewing machines and soccer balls. Please email me if you have anything to donate. adrienneartist@gmail.com.