Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Moroccan Adventure: Sidi Ifni; conclusions


Sidi Ifni is an old Spanish town, notable for its collection of white and blue Art deco(-ish) buildings, and good state of preservation, and its fine location on a ridge overlooking the sea.

I did a good deal of my work there from the hotel, which had excellent views across the town and beyond.

Headland, oil on card, 14 x 16 cm

Fort, oil on card, 12 x 15 cm

A view from the hotel roof, oil on card, 12.5 x 14.5 cm

This, above, has some affinities with C. R. Mackintosh's French watercolours.

Roofs, oil on card, 12.2 x 15.5 cm  SOLD

People in the street, oil on card, 12.5 x 12.5 cm

And this, above, is quite related to the Ourzazate street pictures. I am attempting a more fluent, almost cartoonish, method of brush handling, which I have been attempting to import from Chinese painting.

 A caravan park, oil on card, 17.5 x 17 cm

 There are a couple from my wanderings around the town too:

A man working in a smallholding, oil on card, 13.5 x 15 cm  SOLD

A terrace, oil on card, 12.3 x 15 cm  SOLD

Sidi Ifni, oil on card, 12.5 x 15 cm


That brings to a close my offerings from Morocco.

There are a few weaker pieces, but that is always to be expected given my methods: I work plein air, and  do not make sketches beforehand. I am not a studio painter: I enjoy the element of risk that comes from working directly from motifs outside, and I enjoy being directly exposed to places.  And I tend to philosophise that without failures there would be no triumphs anyway.

It is always hard to make a fair assessment of ones own work, especially when little time has passed since their execution, but I feel the percentage of duds is low, and of good ones high, and that compared to previous North African trips to Tunisia and Egypt, this set is larger and more assured. The colours are more confidently handled and the pictures are bigger.

Partly this success is simply due to knowing which subjects to avoid- those which don`t suit the format, or motifs which, for whatever subjective reasons, don`t quite suit me. In addition, Morocco is a relatively easy place to visit and work in: more relaxed and, I sensed, more at ease with itself and with Europeans than either Egypt or Tunisia.

With such reflections I am considering a second Moroccan Adventure next year, but this time going to Fez, Tangier, Meknes and the cypress forests just south of there.


To see or buy paintings please visit this gallery:

82 Great Portland Street London W1W 7NW 
T 0207 602 7700. T 0207 323 1710


I must thank: parents, kind strangers, the amusing Dutch, German and British tourists who kept me company in various hotels, and of course Rose Issa for her encouragement.

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