Month: January 2015

Dry Dock

Having been bored by my recent painting I have turned to looking at other artists and noting how they add life and movement to their pictures.

Some keep plenty of white and contrast with dark shadows, other introduce splashes, flicks and drips, some  keep the focus very tight, others go impressionistic or even contemporary.  There are many more ways I’m sure.

So I’ve painted a before and after. Using the very busy scene of  the Dry Dock in Essaouria, I’ve changed the sky, added paint spray, changed the walls and added seagulls.



Dry dock, Essaouria

After adding more interest to the painting

Essaouria, Morocco

Dry dock 2, with movement



Towards the Souk

Another painting of Essouria for the collection. I’m getting a little predictable and this one is very boring.

OK there is a passing resemblance to the photo but the sketch i did standing up in the shade from this spot has far more character.  This is sooo safe and boring. Now to experiment….


Walking towards the Medina in Essaouria

Essaourian fabric seller

I’ve just returned from a spell in hospital and was looking for a picture to get me back to painting. The paintings I’ve been working on from Morocco have been working well and I have really enjoyed the colours, subjects and light from the trip. I’m working from photos of the trip taken my myself and Janet (Brambles) and some of them are really glorious.

This time I’m working from a photo on the Medina at Essaouria, taken by Janet. The colours of the fabric, the position of the arch and the movement of the people all attract me. I’m still confused over BUMFROPP and how to apply these to the painting but there are a couple of clear uses on the painting.

I looked at and drew various compositions but in the end drew most of the picture with the expectation of cropping when I get to frame it. How would you crop?

Essaouria, Morocco

Fabric Seller

It’s certainly different, and I think has an atmosphere. I enjoyed painting the fabric and people but still not sure if the painting works as a whole.

Seagulls of Essaouria

As I gave my recent painting of Essaouria to a friend I wanted to return to the scene and paint it again. I found looking through my photos of the trip a more misty version with the tide at a higher point. I felt I had not worked on the city’s coastline properly and this photo was showing more of the sea’s edge  but it also included a rougher sea and the gulls.

I’ve used larger paper this time and this offers me more scope on close ups and wider skys and seas. As I mentioned in my previous post I’m looking at composition and this subject is confusing me.  I’ve created an acronym which I can remember, however, I sometimes forget all the meanings.

BUMFROPP. Its a good word to remember. Balance, Unity, Movement, Focus, Rhythm, O(contrast Or tone), Pattern and Proportion.

Now to apply this to my painting – well I can’t… or I should say I can and I can’t.  I end up post-rationalising and forcing the composition to fit the points. Did I start out with Bumfropp? Sort of, but not completely. I already knew the scene as it had worked before. There was very little drawing as I did most of detail at the painting stage. So it emerged quite quickly with only the initial washes and gulls taking time. I hope you like it.


Seagulls of Essaouria




Essaouria Medina

I was looking to cheer myself up from the cold January weather and toothache, so I went through my photos of Morocco. I found a picture of an archway in the Essaouria Medina. It has lovely warm colours, depth, and interest in the traders on each side. The shops are busy and I wasn’t sure how detailed I should go.

I’m focusing on composition at the moment and I find this really difficult. I made several sketches and looked at options using the computer screen and decided on a portrait shape with the focus on the archway.

I’ve kept the colours soft with the main shadow under the arch. There is more detail for those who look a little more deeply as I wanted rewards for the viewer and not give everything away immediately.

For those who went to Morocco I hope it captures the essence of the place.

Essouria Morocco Medina

Essaourian Archway

I’ve noticed this picture was not looking very warm so I’ve taken the photo again to match the painting


I think there is quite a difference!