Blue Moon in Morocco

Blue Moon
Etching
58x48cm

I love to see how the moon appears to change colour, size and character as it moves through the sky on its nightly arc. For me, the moon is a thing of ever changing beauty, mystery and inspiration.

But where I am now it’s a cold, drizzly November night and unfortunately there’s no moon to see at all as yet, though she is up there in all her glory. So here’s one I made earlier. Inspired by a moonlit night in Marrakech 8 years ago.

I remember being mesmerised watching it rise slowly and lazily above the flat-roofed souks of the Djemaa El Fna in Marrakech. It was a clear late-November night, but the town’s main square was as busy and colourful as I’d heard it always is. Above the seething masses of lost-looking tourists, locals on the make, donkeys and carts, charmers and snakes, children begging, children fighting, shopkeepers bartering and the constant barrage of mopeds and bicycles, horses and goats, the moon’s bright glow cast a beguiling spell over my first Moroccan night. The warm breath of camels condensed then wafted up on the chilly breeze that had begun to sweep down from the High Atlas mountains 30 miles away. Pungent aromas steamed from cauldrons filled to the brim with earthy-tasting snails for curious tourists to try. Spicey flavours sizzled from market stall tagines and exotic vapours oozed out from deep inside the crowded souks. Here I was, only 4 hours after leaving Scotland where the same full moon cast a very different spell across the icy land that would soon be blanketed in deep and heavy snow for over a month.

And a quarter of a million miles above us, indifferent to the bustling world below, the moon appeared frozen in the sky. Familiar features intoned with the cool transparent hues of Prussian Blue, spread thin across a face of brilliant white. And as I looked up, she appeared to look down, watching everyone everywhere that ever was or ever will be. And in turn, each tiny, insignificant character continued to play out their roles, heads down in the darkening night.

    New work to be exhibited at The Quay Gallery, Aberdour

    4 Paintings for Quay Gallery
    6 New Paintings for Quay Gallery

    Just finished these 6 new paintings and will be taking to the framer in edinburgh later this week. They’re off to the Quay Gallery in Aberdour, Fife, in a week or 2 and each is a hand-coloured etching painted in a variety of ways.

    The one on the right, The Old Town, Edinburgh, is 65x50cm and was only just finished this morning. It has a watercolour base for the sky and buildings and the hard work was done with my recently aquired Faber & Castell pastel pencils. These were bought on Ebay by accident as I thought I was getting watercolour pencils (I hit the bid button in a bit of a panic to win them). Anyway, I’m glad I did because they are fantastic!

    The Old Town, Edinburgh (2)
    The Old Town, Edinburgh (2)

    The middle painting, the 4th in my Dean Village series, is maianly watercolour over etching with a little copper acrylic for some of the roofs. It’s roughly the same size as Old Town.

    Dean Village, Dusk (copper roofs)
    Dean Village, Dusk (copper roofs)

    The other four paintings are done over 2 etchings of East Neuk scenes. Again, watercolour base with pastel and gouache for the buildings.

    East Neuk Paintings
    East Neuk Paintings

    If you have the time do go to the Quay Gallery in Aberdour. It’s a beautiful gallery and just happens to be in one of the loveliest seaside towns in Scotland. But wait a week or two!!