Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Coppersmith

Merchants in the inner markets of Fes, Morocco get their supplies by donkey, not by truck or motorcycle. The donkeys jostled against me, nearly knocking me over. The smell of the spice and perfume filled the air. Veiled women shyly hid their faces.


After an hour of walking through the labryrinth I came to Seffarine Square. Tiny shopfronts crowded the small opening. A coppersmith named Hamid Aziz hammered a pot.



I sat in the middle of the square on an orange crate and began a watercolor. But I forgot to bring water! Hamid poured some for me into a chipped glass from a silver teapot that he kept beside him.



A few bewildered tourists stopped to watch, but most of the commentary behind me was in Arabic. When I finished the sketch, I showed it to Hamid and his friends.

8 comments:

Pat said...

It looked like you were in a totally different world!

My favorite parts of the sketch has got to be the dark background and the foreground steps.

Erik Bongers said...

I'm surprised to see Fes still so authentic.
Let's hope it doesn't get 'Venicianized' in a fake Vegas touristic way.

dt said...

I just received a few Caran d'Ache watercolor pencils for a new year's gift in the colors you suggested (plus blue) in an earlier post. It should be just the thing for on-the-go color sketches. Thanks for the inspiration. Best regards in '09.

jeff f said...

Nice sketch.
It's amazing how this part of the world has changed little over the centuries in so many ways, but the copper smith probably had a satellite dish at home to watch TV.

I was in Morocco many many years ago. I went to Rabat and Kenitra which was an American Navy base which was inside of the Moroccan base. It was a "unofficial" navy base. No one wore uniforms.

I remember being invited to a petty officers house and it was very bizarre as the navy built these little suburban cul-de-sacs with paved roads and lawns. It was as if they beamed down a piece of suburban California into the middle of the Moroccan desert.

To get to this place we had to walk over dirt track roads and then all of a sudden you notice your walking on asphalt with street lamps, lawns, and driveways with kids toys on them. It was like something out of the twilight zone.

Beautiful county, but I do remember having culture shock as this was the first time I had ever left the USA.

Sheila said...

This is exactly the reason why you are my favorite Artist's blog. Such an intimate over the shoulder view into your discovery, inspiration and creation. Thank you!

marybullock2 said...

I am so envious!! Great idea to include a short video of the area - it really helps to show the atmosphere you are trying to catch in your sketch. Love it!!

Mary
The Figurative Realm of Mary Bullock

Michael said...

Wonderous stuff! Looks like the Orientalists' visions weren't that far off of modern day middle east customs and culture.

Richard said...

I would love to hear your comments about what equipment you found the most useful or what you would recommend to someone who doesn't have a particular project to do and wants to do some watercolors and some pencil or pen sketches.