Sunday, 13 February 2011


 Essaouira   Acrylic & Oil On Canvas  43x153cm      Tom Cullen

                                       Essaouira,the north Moroccan fishing village is renowned for it's narrow streets, multi-colour doors and tall stucco-coloured houses.Situated on the Atlantic coast,the water is cold,the waves vibrant and yes,it can be quite windy.The light however, is fantastic and it is not surprising that it is a popular place among artists.Many of them now live and have galleries there. From the mid 60's  it became a haunt for musicians like Jimi Hendrix and later Bob Marley to chill out and find inspiration. Nowadays,the annual Gnaoua (African Sufi) music festival is just part of the special magic of Essaouira.
                                       I visited  Morocco in 2007 and painted "Essaouira" shortly afterwards.I wanted to avoid any linear convention or symmetry in this painting,allowing the colour to take charge of the balance. I used acrylic to create the flat pale grey-blue background and I took advantage of the vibrancy of the oil paint to convey a sense of light and dazzle.Pushing everything back to basics,hopefully we are left with something that evokes some of the spirit of Essaouira - this bright, beautiful,colourful,and creative place in Morocco, North Africa.