Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#157 "Poppy and Persimmon", 6"x6", oil

One of my studio mates, Faye, is positively coo coo for painting persimmons lately. She brings them in by the bagful. And when they get ripe we eat them. They are delicious and I never knew that before. So how could I resist painting one as well. They are such a wonderful shape and color and those little green leaves are almost turquoise but not quite. I thought the persimmon and the poppy made quite good companions. It's another one hour wonder that took longer. Studio 106 will be open for Art Walk this coming Saturday and we are featuring Small Wonders. I now have 5. Hopefully I'll be able to complete 6 or 7 before the weekend. The Ray for the Day is "Poppy and Persimmon."

Monday, November 26, 2012

#156 "Tete a tete", oil 6"x6"

Much of the fun in painting this little one hour wonder was not only the shapes (all that volume), but the colors were bouncing around like crazy. We've all been able to spend some time in the studio lately so the place is full of stuff for still lifes, and many of them start with the letter p. We have pomegranates, pears, persimmons, poppies, and you will see them all in the next few days. I am really partial to those cherries though. They are so much fun to paint, and it is always a challenge to decide just which way I want their stems to point to lead your eye through the painting. Don't the Pear and the pomegranate look like they are having a private conversation? The Ray for the Day is "Tete a tete".

Saturday, November 17, 2012

#155 "Pumpkin Wonder", 6"x6", oil

Now for a change of pace. Life has been hectic lately (isn't it always?) and I've had very little time in my studio. So I've decided a little time is better than no time at all. I've come up with the idea of One Hour Wonders. The idea is to complete a 6" x 6" oil painting in one hour. Of course they end up taking more than one hour, but somehow it works to get me to the studio when I don't have much time. Today, however, I got to spend the whole day at Studio 106 with both of my partners, Faye and Barb. The music was playing, the place was a creative mess and we were all happily painting away. My favorite kind of day. We ended the day going out for pizza and wine. I felt I was somehow back into my "real life". This is one of two One Hour Wonders I completed today. The Ray for the Day is "Pumpkin Wonder".

Friday, November 16, 2012

#154 "Entry Courtyard", watercolor and ink

Okay, so here's one more. Not technically an interior sketch. This is the little entry courtyard to Dar Louisa. Many, many  Moroccans use bikes for transportation in the narrow streets and alleyways of the towns. I spent a pleasant time in the courtyard listening to birds sing and sketching these familiar sights. There was just one bike when I began the sketch, but then Abdelilah returned from an errand and added the second. It created an extra challenge to the sketching process, but by no means interrupted the fun. The Ray for the Day is "Entry Courtyard".

Monday, November 12, 2012

#153, "More Morocco", watercolor and ink

This is the last interior sketch I will post from Dar Louisa in Taroudant Morocco. This little area was a covered patio on one end of the pool. Again, I was captivated by the variety of fabrics, colors, and textures. These fabrics and the wall hanging are traditional African textiles. I made this sketch very quickly one day while I was waiting for the rest of the gang to get ready to go on one of our daily excursions. I believe this is the day we went into the Atlas mountains to where saffron is harvested. We also went to a rug shop. I was determined not to buy a Moroccan rug......but I did, and I love it. We went to many rug shops while in Morocco, and were usually engaged with mint tea, conversation, displays of many rugs, "just hold it madame, no obligation". Where I bought my rug the shop simply had many beautiful rugs for very good prices and no pressure. I plain and simply fell in love. I walk on that rug many times a day and it never fails to bring a smile and a quick memory of a beautiful day in Morocco. My life is all the richer for it. The Ray for the Day is "More Morocco".

Sunday, November 11, 2012

#152 "More of Dar Louisa", watercolor and ink

Sketching in Morocco. It's beginning to seem like a dream, but what a dream! This sitting room was just outside Dar Louisa's private hammam (steam bath bathing room). On this day Abdelilah and Fatima spent the day feeding the fire underneath the room adjacent to this one. The hammam was heating up and building up steam that came from basins of water that were set in the floor. Fatima bathed the 4 of us women 2 at a time. She lathered us with special soaps and muds and oils and scrubbing mitts, alternating with rinses of bowls of warm water splashed over our bodies. The room was dim and steam filled and everything was dreamy and soft and delicious and very, very pleasurable. We emerged all pink and shiny with brand new skin all over. Looking at this sketch puts me back in that room with Barb and Fatima and the memory of the unexpected pleasure of being bathed by another person. We were told that most Moroccans are bathed this way once a week either in the public hammams or private ones like this one. The fabrics on this sofa and pillows were either woven by the girls at the local orphanage, or are old African fabrics. The red painting on the right was done by Abelilah of his sister. The Ray for the Day is "More of Dar Louisa".

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

#151 "Courtyard at Dar Louisa", watercolor and ink

As I have said again and again, sketching on location is so much better than photos for me. This sketch takes me right back to Dar Louisa. It was a peaceful, hot afternoon. Everyone was in their rooms having personal time, and I was alone in the courtyard. Dinner was being prepared in the kitchen to the right of the pool. Soon everyone will come down for appetizers and wine by the pool. But for this moment it all belonged to me. I can think of nothing so relaxing as sketching. I just get lost in what I am seeing and hoping my hand will follow my eyes. In this sketch I was blown away that the water looks like water. What fun! All sketches stay in my sketch books. I don't sell them. Occasionally I will make a copy for someone and give it to them. It's a personal and private practice that has no pressure or expectation attached to it. If a sketch turns out badly I just turn the page, but the not so good sketch remains in the book and usually has a mark or two that brings back a moment for me. The Ray for the Day is "Courtyard at Dar Louisa".

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

#150 "Dar Louisa, View from my Bed", watercolor and ink

One of the very delicious parts of this journey is that I had plenty of time to sketch and to write. Both of the homes we stayed in in Morocco came with staff to feed us and guide us and clean for us. The two people who took care of us at Dar Louisa were Abdelilah and Fatima. These two young people shopped and cooked and cleaned and made it seem easy and as though it was a pleasure for them. We enjoyed their company immensly and felt free to ask them questions about the area, the culture, women, cooking, traditions, religion, and felt very enlightened by their answers. This is a view of the terrace just outside my bedroom. This terrace is overlooking the pool and the inner courtyard of this most beautiful home situated in the 900 year old walled city of Taroudant. When I look at this sketch I can feel the warmth of the day, hear the birds in the trees, the burble of the fountain, and smell wonderful fragrances coming from the kitchen.I made many sketches of the interiors of this house. They will follow in the next few days. The Ray for the Day is "Dar Louisa, View from my Bed"

Monday, November 5, 2012

#149 "Fouzia in Marrakesh", watercolor and ink


While staying at Dar Alliamoun in Marrakesh we had a cook and housekeeper named Fouzia. We were greeted each morning with freshly squeezed orange juice, yogurt, freshly baked bread, fruit, and often crepes and other Moroccan delights. Fouzia was also very happy to make other meals for us as well. We had her make two dinners for us and they were aromatic and delicious. One memorable meal was chicken with lemons and vegetables made in the ever present tagine. Fouzia was very interested in our sketches and one day asked shyly if we would sketch her. I don't consider myself to be a portrait artist, but I was delighted to sketch our sweet Fouzia and glad to give this sketch to her as a small thank you for her kind attention. I think I captured her essence, if not exactly her likeness, quite well. The Ray for the Day is "Fouzia in Marrakesh".

Friday, November 2, 2012

#148 "Morocco Sketches #5 and #6", watercolor and ink


This particular day in Marrakesh Barb and I looked a long time for just the right place to sit down out of the crowds of people where we could see the square. Finally we settled on a sidewalk cafe. I wish I could describe to you how fast things were moving, how many people were in the square, and horses and donkeys and motorcycles. Lots of people trying to sell us things. All were whizzing by. I did not capture that activity.......it was just going too fast. On a page I'm not publishing I tried to capture some acrobats, a guy pushing a cart, 3 or 4 people on a motorcycle at a time. I could not. There were fresh orange juice stands everywhere and it was so delicious. I think a big glass of orange juice was about 40 cents. At night this square became multitudes of little restaurants. The food was delicious and dinner cost about $3.00. It was crowded and colorful and hot and fun and the waiters in every food stall tried to convince us to eat with them. In case you haven't figured it out by now I really loved Morocco. The Ray's for today are "Morocco Sketches 5 and 6".

Thursday, November 1, 2012

#147 "Morocco Sketches #3 and #4", watercolor and ink


My art blog seems to be turning into a travel blog. But. Then. There's an art to travel too, yeah? Anyway these are scenes from the inner-open-to-the-sky courtyard at Dar Alliamoun in Marrakesh. Everywhere we went we were served mint tea from tea kettles such as the one here, always poured from a great height. The little tagines on the table are very Moroccan. Much of the food is cooked, served, and stored in pottery shaped like these. This courtyard was dripping with jasmine and other plants. Every night the birds made a great racket as they settled into the jasmine after negotiating for their spot. In the early morning they once again made bird music before they flew away for the day to do who knows what. The day I made these sketches may have been the day we went to the public hammam (like Turkish baths) where we were washed, steamed, scrubbed with exfoliating mitts, oiled with Argon oil, washed, rinsed, issued a thick robe and served the ever present mint tea in a big relaxing room with tufted pillows, and satin drapes, and many mirrors and tassels. It was a delicious experience to say the least. This trip's memories feel indelible like memories from childhood. Maybe because it was all so different and every moment was brand new, and maybe it was partly because of the sketching. I always feel that when you sketch something you kind of own it. The Rays for the Day are "Morocco Sketches 3 and 4" or Courtyard at Dar Alliamoun.