Thursday, December 21, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

Neutral zone

I've spent this week neutralizing the greys, working on heightening the highlights and deepening the dark areas. Interesting process that involves a great deal of squinting which makes bright and dark areas stand out. Still working on really getting that neutral area in the greys.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Limited Vision

I've been working with Michael Newberry for the last few weeks and this is almost the end of my first full piece as a result of his mentorship. I'm trying to sum up my experience of being in a country where women are very much second class citizens, and where, as westerners, we are extremely limited in what we can do and see.

So here is "Limited Vision" (working title).
Charcoal on Rives Paper, full sheet.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Too long

Life has been getting in the way but some events lately have made me rethink my life and that it is time to get back to work artwise.

I did join in and do the portrait swap on WetCanvas this month which was a nice break. I hope my partner, Sonja, likes what I did when she receives her portrait next month (mail willing!)

Started a large piece today in charcoal of the doorway in the last post - starting with a medium ground and erasing back to lights and adding in the darkest darks. Having trouble with the paper which I don't like at all. I hope its just a case of getting used to it as it cost a fortune and I have 24 more sheets of it.

'Pain is temporary, quitting lasts for ever.'
- Lance Armstrong, 5 time Winner of Tour De France

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Daily sketch

'If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.'
- Vincent Van Gogh

"We are what we repeatedly do."
- Aristotle

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A few sketches

"Don't be afraid to take a big step. You can't cross a chasm in 2 small jumps."
- David Lloyd George

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Drawing towards a goal

I signed up with Michael Newberry's mentorship programme and am really excited about the direction this is going to take my artwork. Having to think more about the why in what I am doing I hope will make the art more engaging. I do believe that work that the artist was excited about and was involved in a personal level adds something extra.

The drawings are just sketches that I am going to develop into drawings and later into paintings working through various stages - composition, light, colour and on to the final piece.

In subject matter I am trying to be more symbollic though these symbols maybe entirely personal to me and not recognised by the viewer, bringing in that personal excitement and involvement. I hope that others will get something from the work too.

My art materials arrived at last so I have no excuses anymore to not do any work. Unpacking tubes of paint was like finding old friends.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Desert view

So today I sneaked this photo while I was out on photography assignment for work. Its also pretty much my first view of what lies outside our compound. Maybe this next weekend I will wander out along the wadi and see what there is out there - apart from sand!

Have started working on some sketches - trying to think of the symbolic. Echoes of University and conceptual art - you know its serious when you have to try and think of why and what instead of just doing. Brainstorming and trying to pinpoint what I want to say in my art.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Diamonds in the sky

Morning Shadows

Noon shadows

Afternoon Shadows

Monday, September 25, 2006

Drumming my fingers

I'm still waiting for my stuff to arrive and so am still not painting - I need to focus more and get out and sketch. I've been set a task to photograph some stuff for work so I am going to take the opportunity to photograph a bit more than I am supposed to! Shhh don't tell anyone! Just had some photography books arrive that I ordered that have me learning about apertures, shutter speeds and ISO speeds and the effects you can get. Not that I can photograph anything to put it all into practice. Biggest joke was ordering a book about photographing water - in the desert? hmmmmmm maybe I was hallucinating when I did that - or sunstroke maybe - or maybe planning to photograph mirages! Funnily enough we have a photography competition coming up at work and I am trying to figure out if, and if yes, what to enter - answers on a postcard please! Maybe something from DC.

I was sitting sketching in the corridor the other day - a banana tree - braving the curious stares of my fellow workers - wonderful comments included "Its so nice to have a hobby" and "Could you draw me?" and "You're so talented" on looking at what looked like a squiggle on a scrap of paper! All I could do not to burst out laughing!

Seriously, I can't wait to get back to some serious work. The light here is so beautiful, wonderful blue shadows in the evening and early morning. Wish I thought there was any chance of painting plein aire, either without being imprisoned or without frying in the heat!

"The view is loaded with Light, Light, Light, ever changing and so wonderful in its myriad colors." Candace Faber

I cannot paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning, but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience ............. Georgia O'Keefe

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Someone left and left this door - not sure what they intended to do with it but I am thinking of making it into a dining table. The colours are more obvious than they appear here, ultramarine blue and burnt umber on the raw wood.

My office looks out onto a little patio area with diamond shaped opening to the outside world and the shadows that fall in this area are lovely. I am trying to capture it in sketches with a view to painting but the sun seems to move so fast here that it is taking me days, doing a little each day. Lots of other areas around work that are interesting and I have to see if it would be allowed for me to paint here.

Had an interesting trip out to see the work of a local photographer (portrait work) whose studios were like mini film sets with drapes with lavish tassles and velvets, piles of silk cushions. Very exotic and rather like a bad B movie in taste! Also interesting to see that while women are kept firmly in their place, covered from head to toe, in the photographer's studio anything goes! A lot of exposed skin and seductive poses!

The weather is cooling slightly - temperatures are between 105 and 110 during the day now and down to around 80 at night. Its bearable in western clothes but the abaya in this heat is torture.

The appearance of things change according to the emotions and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.
Kahlil Gilbran

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

One week on

No art as yet though I fully intend to get down to it by the end of this week. Thinking a lot about interiors and also some still lifes. In our new home we have some interior angles that are very interesting and might lend themselves to some Hopperesque work.

I am a little stumped by the no photography rule here though one girl at work says she has taken photographs in the Souk and no-one said anything to her. Not sure if I am that brave though!

Found out that it will be a while before my art stuff appears, maybe even as long as 2 months - which reduces my serious painting time here to 10 months. I am also going to have to be very strict about not attending every party that we are invited to! Or at least not feeling that we have to stay from the start to the finish. Will be a little easier when we have something to do at home other than sleep.

At work there are the most beautiful, large (4ft by 5ft on average)photographs of the countryside here. I hope we will get the opportunity to get out and see some of these sights. I need to find out if this is possible.

"Sunshine all the time makes a desert" - Arabian proverb

Friday, September 01, 2006

Sand, Sand and more Sand!

Endless miles of brown sandy landscape.
City of sandy brown houses.
No photography allowed.
Hot, Very Hot, VERY VERY HOT, dry, Very Dry, VERY VERY DRY.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sculptures and Monuments

Today is our last day in DC - flying out tomorrow night. Next post will be from .............
"One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." Henry Miller

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mt Vernon and Georgetown, DC

Its been a busy week. Judi and Robin from WetCanvas came to DC to meet me and we have spent four days together. Wonderful to meet them both and its been an art extravaganza and even though we all religiously carried our sketchbooks everywhere we went, we didn't do any drawing at all!

Thursday we went to the National Gallery. In the East Wing (Contemporary Art) there was a lovely exhibition of Rousseau paintings and a superb exhibition of Sheelers work - not an artist I knew before. We also managed the lower floor of the West Wing (Classical Art) which included a wonderful exhibition of drawings including da Vinci, Raphael, Picasso, Duhrer and many others. Wonderful bronzes too by Degas (including The Little Dancer and many of horses too) and Rodin.

Friday we went back to the National Gallery to see the Bellini, Titian and Giorgone exhibition. I was particularly taken by the painting of fabrics in those work and Titian in particular impressed me. After a fabulous lunch in the Sculpture garden (photos last post) we went to the National Portrait Gallery which also includes a section of very contemporary art - mostly sculpture and installation work. There were a number of pieces that I liked there (forgot to write down who or what, DOH!). Also two Hoppers - one of my favourite artists. We had a great evening in Adams Morgan with another couple of old friends who joined us and had a great evening that ended in an Ethiopian restaurant.
Yesterday we took the boat trip to Mt Vernon. Early start but worth it. A peaceful and scenic hour and half ride down the Potomac to Mt Vernon which is in an idyllic setting overlooking the river. The architecture is lovely with white washed walls and red shingle rooves set in beautiful countryside.

I fell in love with the garden which even at the end of the growing season is a riot of colour with black-eye susans, sea holly, cannas, marigolds and lots of busy lizzies. Great use of box hedges.

I found this little (about three foot) beach as we waited for the boat back to DC - teeny waves lapped at the river edge and a stack of driftwood, wonderfully worn and textured laying in the sand.

We spent the evening in Georgetown which is a delighful DC suburb, very busy with restaurants and shops. The architecture is very reminiscent of England and I always feel at home here.
all artwork is copyright of Anita Murphy 2006/2007/2008/2009