Part-time painter puts Christuskirche on canvas

04 Jan 2017 18:10pm
By Anna Salkeus and Tina Haulyondjamba
WINDHOEK, 04 JAN (NAMPA) – Driving past the Christ Church and around the traffic circle it is situated on is not unusual, but driving past a man with a huge canvas on the pavement of the church is a surprise.
Leonard Abrahams decided to dedicate his 2016 festive season to putting one of Windhoek’s tourist attractions and landmarks on canvas, but his methodology is what entices the curiosity.
Most artists prefer to paint in the privacy of their homes or studios where no audience can disturb or judge their creativity until the product is completed.
“I prefer to work from the sites because some things are better seen with the eyes in real life,” says Abrahams.
The ambitious 57-year-old artist is working on an exhibition he intends to showcase early this year.
Dabbing his brush into the pallet of browns, reds and greys, Abrahams explains that because of his preference to work on site, the weather determines how long it takes for him to complete an oil painting.
“I have been working on this painting for a week now and might be working on it for another week before it is completed, depending on the weather.”
He is a perfectionist and at times may take long to complete paintings, he says while looking at the detailed lines and strokes on the half-finished artwork.
He uses oil pant as well as pen and pencil with no measuring instrument; using only his eyes to measure objects he plans to paint.
“I mostly do wildlife, political and social satire, mixed architecture (historic and commercial) and portraits.”
Asked about the painting of the 107-year-old Christuskirche situated in the middle of Robert Mugabe Avenue, a witty Abrahams says the blue sky above all and dry lawn below the Independence Memorial Museum in the background might not be included in the final product.
He says his talent was identified during high school when he started drawing.
But being able to draw and paint is not easily identified as a bread-winning career. Abrahams says he is not able to paint all the time because of family commitments as a husband and father.
A permanent job as a truck driver at the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) is what pays the bills and sustains his hobby that has also produced a painting of the corporation’s building, but not exactly as it appears.
“The painting of the Meatco building was painted in a futuristic kind of way. Painting is not just about what you actually see but what one can imagine as well.”
Abrahams says he painted the Meatco building because the company has helped him in many ways over his 11 years of employment there.
He also plans to work on a painting of the Namibia Breweries building.