The story of an artist who became an award-winning author.

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Photo by dan carlson on Unsplash

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold became a multi-award-winning children’s book. The story of a childhood memory, where she spent a hot summer evening with her family on the tar beach roof of their apartment. The narrative was taken straight from her story quilt painting, with additional illustrations by the artist. Faith Ringgold went on to create 16 children’s books, which is quite an accomplishment for a visual artist.

How did this artist become an award-winning writer? Here are four lessons from the story of Faith Ringgold that helped her achieve her creative goals. They could inspire you too.

Don’t give up.

When Faith Ringgold wanted to publish her autobiography, the publisher said no. In fact, none of the publishers were interested in her story. Ringgold however, was not one to listen to the critics, and she was not one to give up. …


Paintings to inspire hope, courage and freedom.

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Hope, original painting, acrylic on linen, 100 x 100cm (photo by author)

What is the colour of hope?

I created this artwork on a Monday, during a difficult season. I was tired, out of art supplies and discouraged, but I had to paint. I had to find what hope felt like to me.

Hope is not accepting things as they are, but having an adamant belief that things will get better.
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“Anyone can fly, all you have to do is try” — Faith Ringgold

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Tar Beach: The painting that became a quilt; With a story that became a children’s book by Faith Ringgold (photo by writer)

Faith Ringgold’s firm belief in life is that anything is possible. This accomplished painter, sculptor, writer and performance artist knows what it means to push through obstacles and overcome difficulties.

Born in 1930, in Harlem, Faith Ringgold grew up in a time when being a black woman artist was an almost impossible pursuit. Her political paintings drew attention to the race riots and dealt with issues of inequality.

Ringgold’s paintings became quilts, that incorporated narrative and turned into children’s books. The secret to her success is easy — just don’t give up. You need courage, endurance, perseverance and give yourself time.

You have the freedom to fly, reach out and take it.

Froyle Davies
I’ve been a visual artist for over 25 years, and now I tell my stories.
Thanks for reading — click here to receive a free phone wallpaper of my art.


Beautiful paintings with a very short read to encourage your life through colour and inspiration.

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Coming Home, acrylic on linen, original painting (photo by author)

Coming Home

Self-acceptance is the first step to belonging.
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Guitar Tracks & Across The Waters, original paintings (photo by author)

Guitar Tracks

This one is for my dad.
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Across The Waters

The journey of finding my way home.
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Step in, revive your senses and you will find something beautiful.

Froyle Davies
I’ve been a visual artist for over 25 years, and now I tell my stories.
Thanks for reading — click here to receive a free phone wallpaper of my art.


The life and art of Faith Ringgold.

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Photo by Gabriel Tovar on Unsplash

Open your eyes and look around

Faith Ringgold’s firm belief in life is that anything is possible. At 89 years old, this influential artist has overcome poverty, prejudge, and racism, to have her art shown in some of the major art institutions in America. As a painter, sculptor, performance artist and writer, Ringgold has combined artistic mediums to create new forms of art from traditional methods. Through her perseverance and personal strength, she has risen to the top of her profession. She has endured some of the darkest of times in history, to become a truly inspiring artist and person.

Born in 1930, Faith Ringgold grew up in the blocks around her neighbourhood in Harlem. This was not an easy time for people of colour in America, but Faith’s childhood was full of music and art-making from the inspiration of her parents. Her mother, a fashion designer, taught her to sew, and her father was an avid storyteller. Their home was filled with music, and she was encouraged to believe in herself. Ringgold drew her inspiration from the people around her and the experiences from her life. …


To my dear Theo

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Letter to Theo from Vincent, 13 October 1883 (Vincent van Gogh, edited by H. Anna Suh, photo by writer)

The woman, tired and alone, finally reached the landing of the small third-floor apartment. She opened the door slightly to look inside.

She sighed and pushed the door fully open, feeling completely exhausted. The funeral had taken her last remaining strength, and as she looked around the room, she felt concerned. She had no money and few belongings.

Paintings leaned against the walls, and stacks of them were piled on the floor. There must be hundreds, she thought, and all worthless.

Jo finished packing. She emptied the desk, feeling exasperated that her husband had supported his brother for so long. She tugged at the stubborn drawer until finally, it gave loose to reveal a pile of letters. She was holding decades of communication; a life shared between brothers. …


I leant to write, to embrace the moment and to stop.

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

The lockdown happened fast in my country of New Zealand. Although we didn’t have high cases of Coronavirus, the government took the situation seriously. At the time of the announcement, our accommodation facility had 90 tenants and being the manager; I was deeply concerned for the welfare of the students. In the panic of the oncoming quarantine, half the hostel population returned to their families, leaving us with about 45 people to manage. A much easier number of people to care for, but a more intense cleaning regime and the fear of infection was a constant threat.

Although it was a difficult few months, there have been a few lessons I have learnt that have had a significant impact on my life. I learnt to write, to embrace the moment, and I learnt to stop. …


It is all about your story.

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Self Portrait with a Grey Felt Hat, Vincent van Gogh, 1887 (Photo by Ståle Grut on Unsplash)

On 15 May 1990, The Portrait of Doctor Gachet by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh was sold for $82.5 million (U.S.) to Ryoei Saito, (Japan’s second-largest paper manufacturer). This painting holds the record for the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. How can this work of art, that no one wanted during the artist’s lifetime, sell for such an incredible amount of money one hundred years after it was painted? Is it because of Van Gogh’s incredible talent or is it because of the story surrounding the artist’s life?

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Portrait of Doctor Gachet, Vincent van Gogh, 1890, Auvers France (public domain)

Vincent van Gogh is undoubtedly one of the most famous modern artists. His expressive and emotive use of colour and distinct brushwork became hugely popular and influenced Expressionism, Fauvism, and early abstraction. However, during his decade-long career, Van Gogh sold only one painting and struggled all his life with alcohol abuse and mental health issues. He died in poverty, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. …


When we know who we are, we can be who we were created to be.

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Here I Am, acrylic on linen, 61 x 61cm, original painting (photo by author)

We all have the desire to be known and to find where we belong. My journey in finding my way home to New Zealand is not just a tale about discovering family and place of origin, but it is about the discovery of self.

As an adopted person, I had struggled with self-worth all my life. Discovering my true identity has healed within me a sense of rejection and has given me a greater appreciation of self.

The reference to the huia feather is a symbol of value, something precious. In Māori tradition, it was given to prominent or important people. I give this gift to myself, I choose to believe that I am valuable, important. I am here and my life matters. …


Over 50 years later and we are still fighting about the same issues.

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American People Series #20: Die, Faith Ringgold, 1967, (Faith Ringgold: Die, Anne Monahan, photo by writer)

The woman chose her dress carefully and made sure her shoes matched perfectly. After all, she thought, this is an exhibition opening and there would be a lot of fancy people to impress. She inspected her appearance in the mirror, with one final glance, as she left her apartment. She was excited to be heading to the gallery in Manhattan. The elevator ride up to the gallery entrance only served to increase her feelings of expectation. She had heard a new artist was showing her solo exhibition, an event first for both of them.

As she stepped off the elevator she stood in front of the large painting that greeted her. She hadn’t known what to expect, but it defiantly wasn’t this. She could feel the heat flush her cheeks, as the emotions started to overwhelm her, and she couldn’t help but let out a loud screech. Confusion flooded her brain, then the rush of anger, as the surge of adrenaline pulsated through her veins. …

About

Froyle Davies

Art, Creativity, and Inspiration. Stories to encourage you. Visual artist and hostel manager, living in New Zealand. www.froyleart.com

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