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Sparkling white topped with golden minarets, Muscat lay nestled in the middle of a maze of brown pleated mountains, plunging down to the sea. For four hundred years, this royal city of Oman, from where Sindbad started his journeys, have been watched over by the two forts of Mirani and Jalali, tightly knit around the Sultan's palace. Like a precious jewel, this city which have entertained the passage of fables, remaining largely untouched by western interference. Its waterfront avenues and narrow streets were alive with various souks (markets) supplying a wide variety of products.
The tar road in the middle of the painting is the original roadway into the city from the south and the long road through the desert to Yemen. Like many of the other days painting here, this was another extremely hot day (+47C) that in hindsight would seem unfit for painting out of doors. I took a local taxi to this spot above the city and my driver was a bit surprised to find his fare ending up among the scrags of the top of a ridge - melting in the hot early morning sun. During such temperatures, viscosity of oil paint is very high, making it very liquid and easy to work with.The harsh nature of conditions here seems to be appropriately illustrated with this work which resonates with the heat. (Private collection)
November 22nd, 2008
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