Summertime, and the livin' is easy: Carla Kranendonk and Ella Fitzgerald

Carla Kranendonk

Aby, 2021

hand embroidery, beadwork, acrylic and collage on canvas

195 x 125 cm (77 x 49 in)


And the livin' is easy

Fish are jumpin'

And the cotton is high

Oh, your daddy's rich

And your ma' is good lookin'

So hush

Little baby

Don't you cry

Carla Kranendonk's bold portraits never cease to amaze. With their brilliant hues, intricate patterns, and rich textures, Kranendonk's portraits illustrate the summertime that Ella Fitzgerald sings so sweetly of.

Carla Kranendonk was born in the Netherlands and grew up frequenting the jazz clubs in the back streets of Amsterdam. This is where she met her future husband, Guno, a jazz musician from Suriname.

Carla Kranendonk

Couple in balance, 2012

hand embroidery, beadwork, acrylic and collage on canvas

190 x 150 cm (75 x 59 in)

The subjects of Kranendonk's large-scale portraits are often inspired by her family members and friends. Heavily influenced by the artistic traditions of West Africa, her stylised, flattened figures are enlivened through vivid detail and multi-textural surfaces.

Kranendonk draws her magnificent figures out of her compositions with the addition of beadwork, collage, and canvas stitching, giving her life-size subjects a vital presence.

Carla Kranendonk

Mariama, 2021

Hand embroidery, beadwork, acrylic and collage on canvas

150 x 160 cm (59 x 63 in)

The joy of Carla Kranendonk's paintings is communicated through her careful detail and brilliant colours. Closely observed batik motifs and her considered use of three-dimensional accessories make her paintings an exuberant homage to the textiles of West Africa and the Caribbean.

The riches of Ella Fitzgerald's jazz lullaby are vibrantly brought to life in Kranendonk's creations. Summertime is well and truly here!

Click to view more of Carla Kranendonk's work

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