Every Cloud has a Silver Lining (sometimes even two)


I have been doing a lot of sitting down this week – and no, it’s not because I’m lazy, but for two reasons; because firstly I sprained my ankle and can’t walk and secondly I have been working on three paintings to enter for a competition.
What I have learned from this week is that when competing in the school sports day mum’s race, remember to wear sensible shoes and try not to set off thinking you are 14 and not 44. I set off like a bullet from a gun (ok, maybe not that fast, but as fast as a 44 year-old slightly overweight rather unfit woman, wearing a floral dress, could go) after about 60 metres I went arse-over-tit, rolled and sprang back up to standing, ready to go again, but then as my foot felt like it had turned to rubber and gave way underneath me completely, I realised I had properly sprained my ankle, and I collapsed on the floor in a heap.
I recall, that when the sports day compere was calling the mums up to race, she had said: “Make your children proud of you and join in the race”. So, when I asked my three children, who are all attend the school, if they were embarrassed that their mum had fallen over in front of all their friends and teachers, Leon, my son, said ‘No’. He said: “At first everyone said ‘hey your mum’s fast’ then another kid said ‘she even did two somersaults’!” My seven- year old daughter Frida then added: “Don’t worry mum, at least you’re good at art”, and Lottie, my eldest daughter, said rather thoughtfully: “Whatever you do, I’ll always be proud of you.” Although she later admitted laughing when I fell.
So I guess, I should be really pleased at how my children responded and I guess my husband and I have instilled compassion and empathy in our children. So, every cloud has a silver lining.
I had a deadline looming and wasn’t sure how I would finish my paintings on time, but now that I could do little else but sit, meant I could continue with my artwork. And although I am in a great deal of pain, I guess this is the second reason why this week, I had to admit that every cloud has a silver lining.
The paintings are three market scenes painted in acrylic, all on 40cm x 60cm canvas and all trying to capture the bright and colourful life of East Africa. Two of the three I have already painted before, but in smaller scale and different media.
I thought as I was taking a step-by-step approach to my week, due to my ankle, I would include a step-by-step guide to how I build up my paintings and share this on my blog, via the following slide show.

My paintings step-by-step

My finished paintings

Dadas at Kivokoni Fish Market in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Dadas at Kivokoni Fish Market

Market scene in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Market scene in Dar Es Salaam

Selling Bananas in Kisii, Kenya
Selling Bananas in Kisii


50 Comments Add yours

  1. Adnama72Blog says:

    Beautiful words and artwork.

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thank you so much 🙂

  2. Your art is beautiful and your story was charming. Made me smile as I had a similar experience once! Thx for sharing!

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thank you – it was one of those moments you had to smile about 🙂

  3. Esther says:

    Beautiful paintings and wonderful story

  4. Your paintings are so nice and I love the colors! I like how you showed us before and after!

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by my blog and thanks for the positive response 🙂

    2. Ali Dunnell says:

      The colours here in East Africa really are so bright and vibrant. Thank you for your positive feedback. Ali 🙂

  5. Take care!! The paintings are a beauty!!!

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thank you so much and thanks for the positive response. Ali 🙂

  6. I love your paintings. You’re right – every cloud has a silver lining – the beauty is being able to see it.

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Indeed it is, sometimes you can miss what is right under your nose 🙂

  7. Swapping pain for the paint brush is a good idea Ali! Get well soon.

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thank you Jimmy – hopefully in the road to recovery now 🙂

  8. Beautiful ❤️

  9. Leya says:

    You live in a colourful place – and you are brilliant at catching it. Loved the story as well!

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thanks Leya – it is so beautifully colourful here in East Africa nearly everyday 🙂

  10. nerithenomad says:

    I love the happy colors in your paintings. 🙂 Thanks for posting them!

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      And thank you for stopping by my blog and giving some positive feedback 🙂

  11. Travelquartz says:

    Lovely painting and the description, the colors are vibrant and charming.

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting too 🙂

  12. Taryn says:

    Totally cool. Love your inspiration and wish you good luck in the competition as well as a speedy recovery!

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thanks Taryn 🙂

  13. Medha says:

    I’m not much into art but your paintings are beautiful ! I especially love how colourful they are. I tried learning how to paint as a child but it just wasn’t something I could do. You’ve done magic with colours, great job !

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thanks Medha – the colours here in East Africa are so bright and bold and they transcend well to canvas. Thanks for your positive feedback 🙂

  14. Wow! Your paintings are just beautiful! I love the colors and details. It’s wonderful! Sure wish I could paint… Good luck on the competition!

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thanks for your positive feedback Marilyn. I love bright colours too.

  15. emma says:

    You are a really talented artist. I absolutely love these. You really should consider selling them.

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thank you Emma, I an in the process of doing this… so I suppose I should say watch this space!

  16. Alexander Popkov says:

    Your paintings are absolutely lovely! I display my work in photography. I always look on paintings to get inspiration and to train my eye for good color palettes. I really loved your work.

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thank you so much – in fact I just commented on your ghost photos piece… I really like your work too. And also really like the work by photographer Alexey Titarenko – definitely an artist I need to research 🙂

  17. Dan says:

    Love your paintings. I’ve always wanted to learn how to paint with acrylics!!!!

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      It’s really easy, then I guess we all say that when we can do something. My advice is to buy some paints and just have a go… if it goes a bit wrong, you can always call it abstract!

  18. Monica says:

    Oh Ali so sorry to hear you sprained your ankle, but loved your story and your optimism.

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thanks Monica… the ankle is STILL bad, but the positivity is still there too 🙂

  19. Mind The Travel says:

    I think my favorite painting is the one with banana ladies 🙂 wishing you a speedy recovery!

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thanks for stopping by my blog

  20. Jim says:

    These paintings are amazing! It’s great to see that you remain optimistic and in good spirits. Hope your ankle heals quickly <3

  21. theupbeatpath says:

    Absolutely love the detail and colors in these paintings! I’m glad to see that besides all of the nonsense going on with your ankle, that you were able to stay optimistic and get the work done. Hope you heal quickly <3

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thank you – still hobbling around, but am managing to get on with lots of art and craft and blogging 🙂

  22. apackedlife says:

    Wow! Your sense of colour is perfect: such complementary tones and full of the vibrancy of Africa. And you have motion and movement in the lines – I’m deeply in awe. I hope your ankle heals fast, although I have to confess that your account of your tumbling skills did make me smile.

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Don’t worry about laughing… I did too, even though it hurt like mad! Thanks for the positive feedback on my art, it is really appreciated 🙂

  23. Jas says:

    Wow! You really have an amazing talent!!!!! Love how you shared the before and after too. It’s always fascinating to see the process of a painting.

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thanks Jas for your positive feedback 🙂

  24. Wow, these are beautiful candid art pieces, I’d like to to know more about your works. Can I feauture them in my ig account. You have a great talent, you should be thinking of selling your works.

    1. Ali Dunnell says:

      Thank you so much – I have sold work in the past but an now in the process of doing it a bit more seriously. You can see my most up today stuff here on my blog – and as I become more established I will add more to my shop section 🙂

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