Morocco bound

I’ve returned from my 11 day painting holiday to Morocco. Organised by Janet at Brambles Art Retreat, we travelled to Marrakech and Essaouria with the aim of painting, sightseeing, eating out and relaxing. The party was made of of 8 people, including two teachers, which was a good number for travelling and turning up at restaurants unannounced.

From a painting aspect the trip had mixed success. Marrakech was a real culture shock and I found it difficult to settle into long projects there. So I mainly used my small sketchbook, drawing at the cafes and restaurants during the morning and evening and then colouring them during the hot afternoons. In Essaouria there was more opportunities to sit and paint and we spent more time there. The city Medina is fascinating, relatively safe and you don’t get so hounded by the traders. The city is old, with a great history (I’ve still to find out more) but it’s currently a very active fishing port.  We mainly painted around this port and there was rich sources of inspiration all around.

My work …….

I’ll be creating 3 posts on my trip to Morocco. This one will concentrate on the early part of the holiday, getting used to the country and Marrakech. I did get frustrated in Marrakech from a painting point of view. It was always so busy and hot. We did find some cafes to sit in but I wasn’t comfortable using the larger sketchbook. When I did bring it out I was very unhappy with the result. We were sitting in a lively cafe opposite some stall holders, mainly selling hats of all different types and colours. There were three fully veiled ladies, some wearing straw hats with Marrakech on them, under colourful but rather tired umbrellas. Rising above was the minaret of a local mosque.


Marrakech stall holders

We visited a beautiful Photographic Museum with stunning pictures of old Moroccan cities, people and streets. On the roof was a wonderful terrace with the best view of Marrakech. I instantly started to sketch in my small book but should have used my larger one but I didn’t know how long we were going to stay there. Sketching high up, overlooking the city and with a glass of coke by my side was great.


Marrakech skyline

Our search for a place to paint and spend time on a subject took us to the Menara gardens but these were hugely disappointing and once again I used my small sketchbook as I was not that inspired and didn’t really want to invest a lot of time there. The result was disappointing.


Menara Gardens

We were staying at the rather magnificent Riad des Princesses. As I waited for our party to get organised, waited for a taxi or sat in a restaurant I sketched in my small book and wrote about the day.


Riad des Prinesses


Orange Juice Sellers

Under the stars

Marrakech restaurant

My next post will be on our arrival in Essaouria and how I felt more relaxed to start spending more time on longer painting projects.



  1. Really found your description of Morocco interesting and I like what you have done so far especially of Marrakech, it brought back memories of my brief visit. I like your painting of Menara Gardens you have captured a mood of the heat of the day. Dont be too critical of youself they are good. I am looking forward to your next post

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s