Tuesday, 26 February 2013

toubkhal and the atlas mountains ....

On Saturday a large group of us from the conference headed to the Atlas Mountains near Imlil, overlooking Toubkhal which is the second highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro. We all had such an amazing day but more so the deeper we travelled into the mountains and away from Berber hawkers who just do not leave you alone.

You will see in the photos a few of our visit to a local market and how different their lives are from ours. Certainly their lives are harsh and I hope some of these photos don't offend you. I found their meat market far less overwhelming than those in Libya where shops were set around the slaughter square, or butcher shops were denoted but a pole stuck outside with a cows headstock on it ..... The smell is never wonderful. Neither were they pleasant when we found ourselves in the tanneries at the back of Marrakech. Interesting nevertheless.

You will see a photograph amidst these which is one of my favourites - a Berber on mule back, waiting patiently chatting away on his mobile phone. A collision of cliches here in the mountain foothills. No doubt we will see much more when we journey further into the desert for our Sahara trip. Can't wait for that actually. Only eight of us are going on this two day trip, sleeping in Berber tents and eating under the stars. I am sure it will be worth posting about.

Really this is such an easy way to keep my children and other family and friends abreast of my doings whilst away and it is wonderful to share with my 'tribe' too - really enjoy having your comments though I won't often get to respond Individually.

Monday, 25 February 2013

jardin majorelle .....

Who would have thought I could be so entranced by a cactus garden ....

This one however really captured my attention on our first day looking around Marrakech and we returned there this morning to have a longer look.

The garden was built by a French artist Jacques Majorelle who came to Marrakech in 1919, bought the land in 1924 and began planting. More recently it was bought by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, restored, and then bequeathed to their Foundation to ensure its continuing existence.

On the first visit I took some more general photographs and on the return this morning, more details. I found the details more intriguing the closer I looked ....

The last photo shows the colours that are used on buildings and pots around this intriguing garden.

We decided to walk back to our Villa from the garden and became hopelessly lost - well, not quite hopelessly but probably walked two or three times further than we needed. Having begun our day in the gym, this was needless exercise. It made lunch by the pool seem justified though.

Yesterday went on a day trip to the Atlas Mountains which was glorious and I will post on that tomorrow. We are heading down into the souks again later this evening, passed the snake charmers and monkeys. I must say I am not really keen on the continual hassling to buy - not my idea of shopping.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

a change in culture .....

We are in Marrakech and it has brought back many of the sounds, smells and tastes I remember from my couple of years in Libya. The town is nothing like I remember from Libya though .... everything is red or shades thereof. Very ordered and green and at present, full of oranges trees abundant with fruit. Our riad Villa des Oranges is true to its name, sporting a selection of ornamental oranges and the pool surrounded by grasses and olives. Rose bushes are pruned right back and yet all the rooms and tables are festooned with roses - vases of them or long stems of them arranged in the fountains in each courtyard. The riad is a fine example of exquisite local craftsmanship - beautifully carved plaster work and every attention to detail. Quite a treat to stay here.

I will include a few photos taken around the riad and some of my favourites of our wander around the city and the souks. It is not so easy to label photos or specify what is what using this iPad method of blogging but at least you will see a few of the things I am seeing. If it is not too late for us to check in, we are heading up to the Atlas mountains tomorrow. They are a great surprise here in Marrakech which lies on the plain - every now and then you round a corner and see these snow clad mountains rising up out of the desert! Very striking.

Friday, 15 February 2013

starry starry night complete .....

Ah - collaboration is so sweet.  Many of you who comment upon this collaboration between Fiona and me say how lucky we are to be able to work with someone else in this way.  I am constantly reminded of this as we tackle each new collaborative idea. Each time we have worked on a joint project, new challenges have been brought to light, and even though we are far more relaxed about working together these challenges keep appearing, and ultimately resolve.  These are never concerns about working with each other - that is a continual delight and seamless experience, the concern is always about working into the others' book.  Bending it, nudging it ..... sometimes even dragging it in a new direction.

For me, Fiona's part in this book was far more gentle but in her unique way she was able to tighten my work, add depth and specificity to my imagery and generally add that little bit of magic that her work always brings.

My book is large - about 380mm square on the covers.  Inside however, the pages are not all the same in height or width.  I have left my book very soft - no hard covers and in fact these photographs have been taken before the book has been sewn together.  I know once our books meet next week there will be no time for me to post, so I am sneaking in the draft now.

I began with paper I had manipulated with rust and as such there was imagery of a sort all over my pages - both fronts and back.  I have actually extended my images right across both open pages in an attempt to show the immensity of our skies.  Being such a dark book, it is rather difficult to photograph and I found that by 'reading' it under lamplight, the images reflect the starlight as I intended.  Hence this is a book to read under light or it is rather dull ....

the cover

first page - immense skies above mountains
constellation Cetus (courtesy Fiona)

detail - mountain range drawn in graphite across all pages
back of page one - leads into this second page below

second page - Perseus

detail of page one and two

back of page two and the transparent page three

page four has transparent pages either side of it

detail of page three and four

constellation Pavo - courtesy Fiona

here you can see many of Fiona's details on my pages
this is page five - Eridanus - written and drawn by Fiona on my transparent page
the marks on the right Are Fiona's and they are reiterated on other pages
I love that you can see page six below.

page six - Crux
our Southern Cross - little metal parts added by Fiona on my image

This image of mine spreads across two full pages -
 the lefthand side much larger than the right.
Fiona wasn't going to touch this image but has added Pices.

this image with pages spread is to show the warmth the lamp brings to the pages (on the right) when read under light.

I must add here that Fiona did her research and printed out copies of the night sky from the Sydney Observatory Sky Map in January 2013 - thus the positioning of the constellations on each image is specific to when this book commenced.

This 'art blog' of mine will change direction a little over the next few weeks into a 'travel blog'.  I will keep in touch with all you are working on while I travel about soaking up new visual information and experience and will come home inspired.  Again.  This time though I will make certain I make time to explore some of the ideas I bring home in my visual bag

Take care till then .....

And because I have now completed the book here are a few images of it complete.

I have tried to remove a few of these images but everything then disappears - don't have time to sit and work out why!