A few years ago we visited Morocco as I had read about Churchill and other artists extolling the virtues of the special light that makes painting in Essaouira, right on the Atlantic, very special. I had researched this walled city and decided I wanted to paint the fishermen, “Landing the Catch” !
We flew from Vancouver, Canada to London, England then caught a connection to Marrakesh via Casablanca – such romantic names! The Marrakesh hotel where we stayed was in the middle of a number of mosques and so it was a very early awakening for us as we heard the first call to prayer of the day.
We visited the market and a bit of Marrakesh, but it was so easy to get lost in the narrow winding alleys that we did not stray far from our accommodation. Then a very old Mercedes taxi arrived to take us and our big suitcases on a 4 hour journey across the desert to the sea side walled city of Essaouira – right on the Atlantic coast quite a bit south of Casablanca.
The drive across the dry and barren desert was quite monotonous, until we came to argan trees with goats in them! Yes – right at the top of these 10-15 foot high trees! – they eat the fruit.
Essaouira is beautiful with a wall built right on the water’s edge to protect it. It is an old historic city and at one point in time was called Mogador. The inner harbour is filled with vivid blue small fishing dorries which disappeared at night and returned each morning. I could not stay away from it and started sketching as soon as I got there, attracting a lot of attention from the fishermen.
Men adorned in “djellaba” (long loose robe with a pointed hood) were everywhere and we were definitely in a male dominated society. Even though it was very safe Mary was careful to only walk alone during daylight hours. The colours in the souks (markets) were vibrant and delicious.
This painting is of a large fishing boat hauled up on the landing of the harbour with the wall of the city in behind. You see the fishermen and their small boats off loading the catch, and the buyers surrounding them. The boats match the incredible colour of the water. It was a scene that I had to paint.
We really enjoyed ourselves and stayed for a week in our hotel which was located right in the wall of the city overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The first couple of nights I awoke as the tide rose and splashed on the wall under our bedroom window. No, we were not running aground – thankfully!
Enjoy the image of the painting – or better still call me and purchase it.