Now, if it was upto me I would be in two minds, “to go or not to go”- but that wasn’t the question for Junaid! 🙂 He you see, likes his adventures and so like an obedient wife (yeah, right!!?) I gave him the green signal! 😉
I did not take my sketch book or canvas when we started our journey in the desert, the experience was meant to be remembered through the senses; visual, hearing, smell (and taste too after the lovely tagine meal in the middle of nowhere). With a wonderful berber guide singing and our camels trodding along, just the 3 of us with not a soul around, taking each moment with a deep breath. Occasionally we would see a jeep full of tourists passing by! The giant of a jeep leaving its tyre marks on the deep red sand of the desert- so out of place- silly “tourists”(!) wanting to experience the Sahara in a jeep and an air conditioned tent- go home please and watch it on TV instead!
We had set off in the evening and the day came to a close soon. Seeing the sun setting behind the dunes and the stars showing up in a pitch black night, deep in the desert and no more tyre marks to be seen! Was I scared? Initially nervous but later one just forgets it and goes with the flow… Yes, I shrieked when my camel was going down a very steep dune but did not fall over! 😉 (Alas, it could have been a funny anecdote to tell people!) I’m sure Junaid on his camel behind must have had a laugh at my expense!
After losing our way in between because of a sand storm, we did manage to reach our humble tent (after a journey of 3 hours), a tiny ray of light coming near it was a relief to see! I was tired and exhausted and dreamt of home back in London but when I lay down in the open outside the tent, saw the starry night gazing at me, I forgot everything, these were moments to live for- with no worries of the world, a moment so pure!
Since then the whole experience has fascinated me and the memory is embedded in my mind’s eye and the paintings come from there.
‘Caravan’ reminding me of the camel journey (have taken the artistic liberty to make 3 camels even though we had only 2- composition you see!) and the effect of the zig zag sand- scraping off the paint and the layer below seen… ‘Window to the Sahara’ is going in between huge dunes, huge heaps of sand centuries old, a green mass of land turning slowly into what it is today, the texture of the sand emphasized on the mount, a space left in the middle of the painting-a void that can never be filled, only by experiencing it in reality… ‘Caught in a sandstorm’, in our colourful tent that became so engulfed in the storm that the colours couldn’t be seen anymore, with eveything so hazy around and then next morning I got up with the sand on my face and in my mouth! 😉 Seems like a pastel effect in this one but all 3 done in acrylics.
More paintings to come on the Sahara and Maroc… an adventure never to be forgotten!