Show and Tell

IWS Holland Masters of Watercolor International Exhibition

Though it’s still a few months away, I’m happy to invite you to visit the upcoming Masters of Watercolor exhibit in Leiden if you happen to live in the Netherlands or are visiting. Details below. In addition to senior members of IWS Holland, international masters of watercolor have been invited to show their work, so it should be a high quality exhibit with a lot of variety. There will be demo’s and workshops in conjunction with the exhibition.

I have to admit, the last few years I haven’t been totally happy with my contribution to the annual IWS Holland members’ show. This time, I wanted to submit a piece I was proud of, and also one that reflects my new direction in art.

I painted Persian Pattern (featured image, top) specifically for this exhibit, and I’m quite happy with how it turned out. For a work of this sort, a half sheet of watercolor paper is quite large and takes some patience to complete, but that’s more than worth the effort to me.

The painting is based on a beautiful 14th century pattern from the Jameh Mosque in Yazd, Iran, using organic forms within an isometric grid. A few shots of the work in progress and in its frame below. (Pattern analysis and instruction by Adam Williamson of Art of Islamic Pattern).

In the Studio

In addition to Persian Patterns, I’d like to share with you a little of what I’ve completed recently.

This pattern from the Khudabad Mosque in Pakistan was taught by Samira Mian via Zoom to her Patreon subscribers in the month of February. Samira is an excellent teacher who knows her stuff and is also a really nice person. I’ve learned a lot from her already.

This Southeast Asian rosette is another organic design based on a geometric pattern. You can see the pattern repeating around the circle. Another analysis by Adam Williamson, who is also a great teacher of Islamic art. I decided to go for a blue and white color scheme for this one, inspired by the colors of Iznik (Turkey) and Delft (Holland) ceramics.

And here’s another blue and white rosette, this one based on a 14th century design from the mosque-madrasa of Sultan Hassan in Cairo, Egypt, also analysed and taught by Adam Williamson.

Sultan Hassan Stone Rosette

Finally, Samira Mian’s March Patreon pattern is a twelvefold star pattern with historical sources in Turkey, Morocco, and Syria.

Current Projects

One thing I am working on at the moment is a set of four panels featuring a pattern from the I’timad ud daulah (Agra, India). Once finished, these will be mounted between two shelves in my kitchen, so that I can enjoy them every day. I did several pattern and palette try-outs to find which pattern and color scheme I would most like to see on a daily basis.

I learned to construct and paint another pattern from the I’timad ud daulah in one of my online courses last year, which prompted me to learn a little about this gem of a mausoleum, which is sometimes referred to as Baby Taj. It’s both earlier and smaller than the famous Taj Mahal, but to me its proportions and exquisite decoration are at least as beautiful as its iconic big brother’s. I found myself wishing I could admire and study it in person one day… I’ll share an image once the project is completed.

Dr. Esra Alhamal hosts the annual Golden Flower Challenge every March. I found out about it too late last year to participate, so this year I was excited to be part of the event live. The objective is to practice your painting skills and to have a bit of fun with it. Participants share their results on Instagram. This year’s floral motifs come from a 19th century Koran known as the Ghubari script, a 30 page concertina album. Here’s one of my efforts:

A little more about this soon, when the series is complete.
I’ll leave it at this for now – this is more than long enough…

As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding my work or Islamic geometric/biomorphic art in general, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

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