I visited an art show in the hotel where I was staying, when I was in Saudi for a week, almost confined to my hotel, gowned in an abaya and restricted.  I  fixated my time on the mark making exercises, walking in the hotel gardens taking photos and then I found the exhibition of Arabic Artists fundraising for medical care.  One artist that had two paintings on show was Faiza Maghni, an Algerian artist living in Paris, and working on Arabic women in relation to image and reality.  The women’s expressions and the long necks held in, imprisoned by firm, strong jeweled covers, the use of fabrics to swirl and soften, really appealed to me. I feel she captures some of the beauty and the repression, the strength and vulnerablity of some women here, and I love her use of colour and fabric painting to give an idea of richness and cultural heritage. I could find little information about her on the internet, but the painting haunted me. So, I decided this would be my first attempt at taking an image and unpicking its texture.  This as always was a big learning curve. I have not painted since I was a child, so I decided I needed to work on watercolours to practice several skills at once.  It is ok. I am aware that the richness and vibrancy of colour doesn’t come out with this type of paint.  i also realised that I was focussing on trying to match colour, and not the texture. So for a first attempt it is not to be proud of.  The second I used oil pastels on foam sheet. I found I could track the colours better and see the differences in textures that the artist had been showing. However, I reflected that again I was looking at colour, not texture.  My third attempt I reverted back to pencil marking on white paper and there I found I could see the pattern and shapes in the extract. It was reassuring to pick out the textures in this way.  I would have liked to go back and do another study, using the breakdown of textures from the pencil drawing, and try different papers, printing techniques, but I made myself stop as I am not pacing myself enough through the exercises!. I needed to move to another image


Second image is from the waves on Zallaq Beach, the Persian Sea. Sounds exotic, and it truly is beautiful to explore the colours and textures of the waves onto the shore. I take lots of photos and I think I will use a lot of them in following this course, as I love the light and movement.  Here I focused on one wave and highlighted one particular point to expand the photo.  I tried to capture this texture in two ways. 1. I used wax crayons and a wash of watercolours to try the techniques of wax resist. First attempt was poor in colours, but enough to get me to try again. 2. I read Gwen Hedley’s book Drawn to Stitch and was inspired to re-think my base papers. I painted with gouache, 3 layers of tracing paper with different shades of green/blue. I used one as a base and then wove strips of the other two to layer on top. I then tried white oil pastel on a pale aqua shade to layer on top, with strips cut, ie oil resist and texturising paper. This did not look right. So I tried white oil pastel directly on to the woven base, to try to capture the complete white in some of the wave. This looked better once I also added white goache wash and some parts of dark shades spotted with the brush over the darker woven base.  I am quite excited by this as again I can see how I could improve by looking at more textured paper weaving, with more solid and more fragile mix of papers, and then into fabrics.  This will be revisited. I also would like to try again with printing techniques on top of weaving and I think this could be useful. However, I will move on to the next exercise and come back to this later