Monthly Archives: March 2016

An Ethiopian Diary: From Maji to Tum



The view that inspired so much.

Many painting in this Ethiopia series were inspired by that magical moment on the road from Maji to Tum when the sun was setting and the mountains glowed as they rolled on all around us.


24 x 48, acrylic

All of us four painters who were a part of An Ethiopian Odyssey II were glowing, basking in the warmth of a perfect day.  We had trekked to a waterfall, saw the vast dramatic expanse of Nafis Bir and brought the Polaroid out in the town square, with many memorable exchanges.


24 x 8, acrylic

Our truck was bopping along the ever-twisting and turning road and suddenly, this acacia tree was before us, popping out of the landscape like a regal, proud ancestor. It’s given me loads of inspiration, burning the memory even deeper in my mind. This is a joy of painting, to be able to revisit and dig deeper into experience.


36 x 12, oil

The moment this tree, that sky, the mountains, were in sight, I knew I’d be painting it many times several different ways.


24 x 8, acrylic

In some versions of this image, I added the shepherd and his cattle and sheep. This is such a common sight as the sun sets in this region, and we must have passed at least five or six different groups on this night. So much an experience of the visuals of Ethiopia are these shepherds in their flock, of people walking down the road with something balanced on their heads, that these images find their way into many paintings. Magical! Sigh!


20 x 20, oil

An Ethiopian Diary: Mountainous Maji



Maji captured my heart. I know, I know — I’ve been going on and on about the beauty, but it’s all true.

Most people are surprised by landscapes like Maji in Ethiopia. They often say, “I don’t think of Africa as mountainous.” I suspect that this is because most people’s views of Africa involve safaris.

But many parts of Ethiopia actually are mountainous. It is said to be one reason Ethiopia is the only African nation not to be colonized. The mountains made it hard to attack and easier to defend. That’s a big deal.

As my friend and team member Nahosenay recently pointed out, “We don’t have a Independence Day, because we only have Victory Days.” Pretty badass, I think! This creates a rich culture and sense of identity. It makes Ethiopia a peaceful and loving place to visit.