Christopher Johnson | Walk to the Souk
'I had to do this drawing very early on a Sunday before the world of Essaouira woke up. It was the only way I could gain advantage to the street and allow myself the room to work. Nearly all the stalls were battened down, and apart from a few cats, and the isolated passerby, there was only one other person around. A well spoken,hungover Moroccan who engaged me in conversation.
Slowly stall keepers emerged, and I found myself in their way, edging back or more towards the street.The sun shone early and brilliantly down the street towards me, the call from the mosque rang out over the roof tops and the day quietly clicked into action. What I loved about this time of the morning was being able to look at the street where people walked and see the reflection of the sun dance off it against the coloured scarves and garments stall holders were beginning to hang on the outside of their shops.
I liked the way there an apparently benevolent understanding between people and animals alike. Cats and dogs had their routine of waiting for food outside shops and didn't seem to be left disappointed, and people quietly got on with their business. They could walk towards the sun with it's early morning warmth gathering. Soon the bareness of the street was covered with passers by, and even the well spoken beggar was starting to get lost in the mutter of the crowds. Soon it would be this swirl of colour and sun and shadow that I was reaching for in my drawing, but this early morning had been a rare moment to have the sun and the solitude in it's place.
The medium on canvas is an oil/beeswax mixed by Christopher called Maroger which he uses by building and scraping back thick layers of paint. Sculpting this wonderful texture to produce these beautiful paintings which are often worked on for years.'
130 cm h x 110 w.
Click here to read Christopher's biography.
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