It’s a brilliant morning. It’s a new day, a new beginning. I savour the intensity of the blue blue skies, the crisp air and the calming energy of nature. I have the space, time and solitude to clear my mind, regain focus and face the day with renewed enthusiasm. I’m at peace. On this open road, my world seems filled with adventure and endless possibilities.
Nothing beats an open road to clear the head and put things in perspective. They say when the world is spinning you in all directions the best way to clear out all distractions and re-center is to get out and commune with nature. The open road, in this case, refers to a thoroughfare, outside an urban area, in a natural setting where progress is unimpeded. Back in 1979, a study on the benefits of meditation highlighted the soundness of the open road theory when it found that while nature scenes enhanced positive emotions and reduced fear, urban scenes increased sadness. The study further confirmed that such exposure to nature can facilitate recovery from stress and fatigue. Over the years, people who choose this form of therapy talk about how the open road gives them a feeling of freedom and opportunity.
For us city dwellers, such natural settings are often beyond our immediate reach. But fortunately, the healing power of nature can be tapped, not only by spending time in nature, but also, by looking at scenes of nature according to the much welcomed Attention Restoration Theory in the 1980s. This was not exactly a novel concept as in the early 19th century, many artists, driven in part by their dissatisfaction with modernization and the desire to regain the golden age of harmony and order, strove to portray a world of timeless beauty and perfect order in their paintings. They created idealized landscapes of picturesque natural scenes—scenes that were meant to convey both the awesome, mysterious grandeur of nature and the infinite potential of man. This propelled pure landscapes to a more popular and prestigious position in 19th century art.
I step back from this enchanting world made of paint and I marvel at Maxwell Boadi’s keen sense of light, texture and composition that made me feel as though I’d been standing right in The Good Morning. The blend of rich colours and thick expressive brushstrokes work to convey a sense of motion, and the result is a dynamic natural world. As with the open road, The Good Morning leaves the viewer with a strong impression of freedom.
It’s not surprising to hear that this Ghanaian artist, who graduated from Ghana’ premier art institute, Ghanatta College of Arts and Designs in 2004 with a first class, sold his first work at the age of 11 to a passerby who had taken an interest in his rendition of a movie poster. In 2012, Boadi was selected Ghana young upcoming artist of the year. Now in his 30s, he is a full-time painter in Accra, Ghana and has participated in several exhibitions and competitions within and outside Africa.
As I walk out of my friend’s gallery feeling invigorated from my open road therapy and ready to take on the world, I wonder if The Good Morning could possibly still be here when I come back.