Copyright © Richard Harpum
Essaouira (pronounced 'essa-weera', or 'es-Sweera' in Arabic) is Morocco’s main fishing port located on the Atlantic coast. In 2014 I visited Morocco, using Marrakech as my base. During my stay, I rented a car for 3 days and used it to visit the High Atlas Mountains and also Essaouira, where I had a most enjoyable day exploring the old city. The city dates back to pre-historic times and the current fortified port dates back to the 18th Century and contains numerous narrow alleyways and an extensive souk.
When I visited, the harbour had numerous docked fishing boats of varying sizes and a bustling fish market selling a wide variety for seafood from numerous small outdoor market stalls. There was also a boat yard with several boats undergoing repairs. When I arrived a large blue fishing boat was being hauled out of the water. Once it was secured on the ramp, a team of workers dressing in waterproofs swarmed around the boat scraping barnacles and dirt off the hull. It looked like hot and dirty work. I immediately knew that I wanted to paint this scene and took numerous reference photographs that formed the basis of this painting.
I also noticed that my favourite dog, Oscar had found his way in the boat yard and was intently watching the activity.
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** A Studio Proof canvas print is a giclée print on canvas that is hand-embellished by the artist using the same medium as the original painting (usually acrylic), signed, numbered and then coated in 3 layers of UV-resistant varnish. It is then mounted on stretchers ready for framing.
*** Giclée printing is an advanced form of ink jet printing that applies a wide range of coloured inks that are designed to be light-fast for at least 75 years.