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Anne Blankson-Hemans

Ghanaian born Anne moved to the UK in the 1980s, after completing her degree in fine art. She’s had many jobs - from strawberry picking to working in IT. She has two loves in her life, her paintings and her family. Art is her absolute passion, saying “If you’ve ever read a book that was so captivating you can't put it down, you’ll probably come close to understanding why I love to paint so much. At four years old I saw a drawing of an English school boy wearing a bright red blazer in my big brother's drawing book and I knew that art was going to be my passion. I wanted to draw and paint with bright colours that make me happy.” Anne’s strengths are working with oils and even though she can work with other media she isn't a fan of pastels, finding them too delicate, and easily smudged. Her paintings are vibrant and full of colour, something she attributes to her Ghanaian upbringing. Before the series, Anne painted solely to please herself and has no time for harsh criticism, which could prove interesting with the judges’ weekly critiques.


What first inspired you to get into painting?

At aged 4, I saw my big brother's drawing of a school boy wearing a red blazer and I that was it. Luckily my parents (both doctors) encouraged me to paint which was unusual growing up in Ghana. I also won a number of art prizes at school. I am happiest when I paint.

What piece of your own artwork are you most proud of?

I have several favourites in my collection though (sadly), nearly all of them are no longer with me. I've been trying to explode the myth of starving artists (smile).

Have you had any artistic disasters?

Ha ha... yes I have and guess what? It's right there for all to see on national television! I had some moments that still make me cringe. Yes I learned some big lessons… Sometimes you can try too hard. Secondly if it's not working - take a break and start again. Though on a TV challenge this is easier said than done!

What was it like being critiqued by Lachlan and Daphne – what did you learn most from their weekly feedback?

It was 'interesting' to say the least. Lachlan adds humour and made me laugh whilst Daphne is a straight-talking no-nonsense woman. Both are extremely observant and really helped me see things in a different way. I really had to relearn how to 'observe' my subject and how to exaggerate slightly for emphasis. The one thing I have done since the series is to sketch more and do more 'plein air' painting. I take my sketch bag everywhere with me now.

Which artist(s) has inspired you the most?

Gustav Klimt for his use of colour and creative design. Ato Delaquis (my art tutor and mentor), for his compositions and subject matter. Norman Rockwell for his humour.

What is your favourite thing to paint or draw?

I love to observe people doing things like working or resting or just sitting in deep thought. I also enjoy landscapes, cityscapes... everything I guess.

Quick questions…

Landscape or portraiture? Definitely landscapes.

Acrylic, oil or watercolour for painting? Oil.

Pencil or ink for sketching? Ink and wash.

Still life or life drawing? Still life.

Lachlan or Daphne? I plead the 5th.