art & I
I was born in the Kingdom of Swaziland, the first child in a family of seven children. My father, a good man, bless him, was an intellect oriented man, determined to have his six daughters and one son make something of themselves. It is noteworthy, however, that the word “Determined” in my father’s case, may well be somewhat of an understatement.
My interest in art began in primary school, around about the ages of six/seven, when I would watch with keen interest, one of my classmates at the desk next to mine, doodle away in pens, pencils and colour pencils. A habit I quickly picked up, making little notes and cards “dirtying your exercise books” my father would always chastise, though he seemed slightly amused by my artistic disposition.
I had the privilege of designing my high school concert posters. A task I was given when I became a senior and one I very much loved. This is something I remember with a sincere fondness.
I quickly decided that after high school I would pursue the Fine Arts. Unfortunately, back in those days long ago, and yet not as long as you would want to think. Where I come from, art was nothing but a hobby, if anyone even understood what “Fine Art” really was. “This certainly is not a major worth wasting money studying,” as my father so delicately yet sternly put it. So, I was eventually coerced into choosing something sensible instead, Architectural Draughting. Following a short personal break after high school, Architectural Draughting is what I went into while I also worked at the Swaziland Building Design Group at the same time.
“Dear math’s, solve your own problems” – unknown
I do not like maths. Mathematics has the ability to make my brain literally shut down, maybe it’s because it remindsme of the long days and of many nights ofstudying and working out fractions and solving problems with the help of my father. NOT a pretty sight. My sister and I now laugh about the nightmares we endured over the years at the hand of fractions, why x and y are useful coordinates and wondering how maths can be the only place in the world where someone buys 73 watermelons and nobody wonders why.
Architectural Draughting was mainly mathematics and very little spontaneous drawing, I seriously and passionately hated this restrictive part of it, but it had to be done. Halfway through though, I gave up the misery of trying, so secretly, I cashed out my tuition and paid for my first art classes with Helen Moir instead. This is where I spent my next tuition as well, on art and art equipment, safely hidden in my bedroom. That is what my life became for as long as I wasn’t caught, until of course I got caught, and again NOT pretty. And so my life went on.
So, I got myself a qualification in Teaching English As a Foreign Language and became a self-employed English teacher, which I have been doing up until 2016, with many cultural shock challenges along the way, but that is a story for another day.
I continued dabbling in arts and painting of all genres whenever I could, like participating in some inspiring workshops. One in particular was hosted by Art Home Deco, back in the winter of 2014. After which, I discovered the art of refurbishing and painting of the most glamorous home furniture equipment with chalk paint creator Annie Sloan.
At the end of 2016 and the very beginning of 2017, I once again came out of a dark place and needed an escape again. So, I seriously picked up my long lost friend, art, who takes me to my emotional Eldorado every time, without fail.
The beginning of colilesart
After joining the social network society, I discovered and also fell in love with a new kind of art, Calligraphy. I quickly took a class with the lovely Melissa Esplin just to test the waters. From her shared knowledge, I knew that this, was going to be my new journey and now I’m determined to walk it. Melissa made a suggestion on her website of many useful books, but I settled for one in particular by Eleanor Winters “mastering copperplate calligraphy” I immediately bought the book and went through it swiftly and with avid determination.
In time, I joined some amazing humans and some of the best women calligraphers online in the Modern Calligraphy Summit. I took classes ranging from copperplate calligraphy, brush pen lettering, lettering on anything, but paper, styling, presentation, photography and digitizing my designs. This is where I made acquaintance with the ever-so lovely Younghae Chung who specializes in Classic Copperplate Calligraphy. I have been hooked ever since.
I’m currently an ongoing student of Younghae, who continues to inspire me every day, with her outstanding talent. She has an amazing way of teaching, so captivating, soft spoken and a true master in her craft.
I am still learning. We are forever learning and for me that literally means I am forever escaping to my good place, my perfect place, my Eldorado. Where I can actively pretend I am ignorant of the things that render me catatonic, and for the most part, life is really good.
This website will be showing a collection of my moments of escape that I feel are worth sharing. A collection of mediums that have collaborated in putting my ability into great use. In one medium, I’m sharing my learning journey, letting you learn with me, creating beautiful things and then sharing them with you. In another, I’m bringing your favourite art directly to you, in yet another I’m sharing instant moments of my life that involves my art, my friend’s art and my inspirations.
Please call me Colile, a typical Swazi name loosely translated “have forgiven,” the pronunciation is very tricky for my European friends who can never master that special African “click” so I gave up correcting them two years into my stay in France. Therefore, the European version sounds more like how you would pronounce the first syllables of these three words:( Consider, Lily, Left). If you want to hear the original African click, watch my introduction video, where it would also be an absolute pleasure for me to make your aquaintance, right HERE.