Many landscape painters love working on tranquil village scenes where time seems to stand still and locals engage in conversation. Here I am deviating from the traditional village composition to add a strong ingredient of atmosphere, drama and the sublime, for this village stands high on the very edge of a vast canyon in the mountains of Oman.
In this watercolour the morning mist cloaks the background mountains and subdues detail in the further parts of the village, in places aided by strong light bleaching out features so that they are only half-seen. Two figures stand near the centre, drawing the eye – you don’t need to make your figures large in order to emphasise the human aspect, but note how there is no detail behind them. This really makes them stand out. They stand at the edge of a sheer drop, thus dramatically creating a sensation of the sublime, a feeling of possible danger. While this latter sensation is rarely found in a British village you can still enhance such paintings with carefully considered atmosphere and even a little drama with the right lighting.
This painting is featured in my new book, Arabian Light, published this month by Search Press, and packed with paintings and sketches of my travels in the Middle East. Details of the book are on my website. The book will be launched at my exhibition in the Osborne Studio Gallery, at 2 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8JU Telephone +44(0)20 7235 9667 The exhibition runs from 18th to 27th May and I will be in the gallery for much of 18th if you would like to pop in for a chat