Friday, April 11, 2014

A Moroccan Adventure: Ouarzazate and around.


People in the street, oil on card, 14 x 15 cm   SOLD

I spent a week in Ouarzazate, a serene place, with clear light, known for film studios, and as a gateway to the Atlas Mountains.

There seems to be no advertising at all, and few cars, which made me feel as if I were in an old Eastern European city in Communist times. The shops do not have elaborate signs or names either. This helps lend the place its peculiarly calm feeling. Here and there people sell things in the street: shoes, tools, magazines, but the streets are wide and clean, and calm. The buildings usually open flush onto to street, without gardens or porches, and are particularly boxy. Almost everything is peach coloured, including the pavements, some of which are painted thus.

Clouds, oil on card, 15 x 15.5 cm   SOLD

 Near the mosque, oil on card, 12.5 x 15.5 cm  SOLD

 A shop selling bric-a-brac, oil on card, 13.5 x 16.5  SOLD

A boy with a scooter, oil on card, 17 x 17.5 cm

This above, and the piece opening this posting were both painted from my hotel window and seem very de Chirico-an to me.

Mosque on a plain, oil on card, 13.4 x 16.4  SOLD

View of the mountains, oil on card, 12.5 x 15.5 cm   SOLD

I hired a little car (very cheap!) and drove into a mountain valley, entering through Ait Benhaddou and returning via Telhouet. This region is very dry, having suffered from droughts, and where vegetation appears it is almost surreally bright.

A distant ksar, valley near Ouarzazate, oil on card, 14 x 16 cm

Boys playing football, village near Ouarzazate, oil on card, 16.5 x 17.5 cm  SOLD

I can become sentimental at the sight of children playing football in empty patches of earth all over the world, from Brazil to North Africa: an international game, spontaneously and freely organised by children themselves, happily, without supervision, at minimal cost and one in which disputes  are usually amicably resolved. This can be taken as a rebuke against the regimented world of the British child.

A gorge, oil on card 16 x 16 cm

Valley, oil on card, 18 x 15 cm

The mountains are big, the pictures are not, and I began to sense the limits of the small scale I use, which is better at intimacy than grandeur, better at the small and enclosed world of towns than vast spaces. On the other hand, this may be simply a question of personality: after All Turner succeeded with describing the epic in tiny watercolours, and it could be then that my nature is simply unsuited to grand themes.

A ksar, oil on card, 16 x 14 cm   


These paintings are available through this art dealer, based in central London:

82 Great Portland Street London W1W 7NW 

T 0207 602 7700. T 0207 323 1710



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