The Basket Maker Laughed

I think I’ve mentioned that I paint primarily from reference photos that I’ve taken. This portrait is no exception. Photos allow me greater opportunity to focus on the bits I find intriguing, capturing impressions and inspiration, and leaving composition for the studio.   


It was a hot afternoon a few years ago, when my wife and I thought we'd invest a few hours strolling up and down main street in Park City to check out the annual Art Festival. Remember outdoor art festivals?


Well, on the day in question we had strolled through many a booth and had our cold drinks in hand, and we were feeling a little worn as we happened upon the basket makers booth. This lady in traditional garb, an immigrant from Ghana, had a large booth where she was selling colorful Ghanian woven baskets and beautiful batiks.




As we spoke, she filled us with energy and lifted our spirits with her charm and grace.


We bought a basket or two, and I had to ask if I could take her picture for a portrait. I like to ask that favor of strangers. I had already taken several photos of her booth for future reference. She said she was glad to let me, and started to ask how to pose. I told her "Don't pose, just think a happy thought." She was a little embarrassed, and a little self conscious.