Acrylic paintings: The Andalusia Arches Hope and Rewards

A poet once wrote about Andalusia:

“A sun dwells in this place and even its shadow is blessed.
In this palace a multitude of pleasures capture the eye and suspend the intellect.
Here a crystal world teaches marvels.
Everywhere Beauty is carved, opulence is manifest.”

In Spain, the Andalusian or Islamic architecture is elaborate; it is highly decorative and ornate with intricate designs. Materials that were once favoured include stone, stucco, and plaster for coating exterior walls. Later on, the stone was replaced with brick – a great example of this is the fortress palace of Alhambra constructed in the 14th century in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. The word “Alhambra” literally translates as “the red one”, referring to the red bricks used to make this incredible palace.

The  palace of Alhambra has dazzled viewers and inspired artists from all over the world, with its breathtaking architecture, gorgeous gardens and intricate design work on the walls and arches of the palace.

Notable artists inspired by this “pearl set in emeralds” include M.C. Escher; indeed, the Alhambra provided him with the very foundation for his work and signature style. First visiting in 1963, Escher was drawn to and inspired specifically by the tile patterns of the palace: the repetitions of geometrical shapes and floral patterns would be famously represented and experimented with in his work.

And, as s the opening quotation from a poet shows us, authors were also inspired by this incredible place. Washington Irving resided at the Alhambra for some time, and from this stay produced Tales of the Alhambra.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alhambra, created in the Andalusian or Islamic tradition, continues to amaze and inspire – a testament to the power of art.  I myself, as an artist, am incredibly influenced by and drawn to the artwork of this palace and the Andalusian period – the patterns and designs are so beautiful that I can’t help but want to represent them. However, I am drawn in and attracted to this era not just due to the visual beauty of these patterns but also because of just how rich an era the Andalusian period was.

During this period, the progress and creation didn’t stop with the erection of incredible monuments such as the Alhambra – indeed, the era witnessed a commitment to the building and growth of community.  Education boomed: math, architecture, literature, discussion … in doing so, discourse and relations between different sects  and religions was encouraged. There was a laying down of difference in the interest of peaceful coexistence, in the interest of culture, community and creation.  To me,  community governed by peace, and art, is the epitome of beauty, and it is revealed in the intricate designs and art work at Alhambra and other architecture in the Andalusian style.

My paintings, Andalusia Arches, have all of this within them – I was striving to not just represent the physical beauty of this architecture, but to recall and infuse the paintings with the spirit of peace and community of the era.  To me, the architecture of this time period,  like these arches, is a physical representation of what can be created when there is community.  These arches represent both the hope that the human race can have when all live together without fear of persecution and the reward that we receive after hard work as a community.  Gazing at artwork such as these arches provides us with a sense of calm and happiness; I hope that when you look at these pieces of mine, you can imagine relaxing in a place of great beauty, under the hot Spanish sun.

Geometrics Acrylic Paintings – East vs West

When I was a child growing up in Lebanon,  I was entranced by the beauty that surrounded me.  It was an intoxicating whirlwind of both natural and manmade wonders, from the forests to the architecture and artwork of my town.  In my paintings, I often refer to scenes, images and memories from this rich and evocative childhood home, as evident in my 5-piece Geometric Series.

I can remember  going to church and being mesmerized by the colourful patterns adorning the walls and windows – I was drawn in by the  intricacy of the artwork, and the bright colours that lit up the space. When I walked into rooms or buildings decorated in the traditional Arabic style, I was  struck with similar sensations: the patterns and shapes were like those I saw in church, but still with a style all their own, laden with their own unique mystery and power.  The realization that these shapes and images were used within both cultures, Christian and Muslim,  moved me profoundly – in art, there was a unity, there was cohesion, there was, just as the intricate patterns suggested, a harmony that could be found.

These encounters had a lasting impression on me; they  shaped me as an artist and as a person.  When I came to Canada,  I called these memories up from the depths of my being, and began to paint. What came from this is my Geometric Series. In many ways, what I have attempted to produce in this series are pieces that reflect a merge of the two cultures I experienced. I have engaged with iconography of both cultures, such as the cross and the octagon. While these paintings can be hung separately,  they were designed as a series to reflect a unification of two cultures within the artistic realm.

The shapes that I have engaged with are further shaded by memories of the natural beauty that was my playground, my backyard! In the Middle-East, there is a popular flower  that  I knew as a marguerite – in the English speaking world, you would know it as a daisy. These yellow daisies grew very high –as a child, they were almost taller than me!  Around Easter, we used to gather up these flowers and cook our eggs with them; the daisies turned the eggs a bright, yellow hue, and infused them with a unique and delicious flavour. My nod to this experience can be seen in both the use of the bright yellow colour and of the petal shapes within this series.

For me, art and the process of creation come from a very genuine place within me;  always behind my paintings is the desire to share a story. The pieces in my Geometric Series came from recalling scenes from my childhood; they are an attempt to evoke some of the same feelings of wonder and joy I had when surrounded by such powerful images and scenery.


Related Paintings :

The Big Red Two Months in the Making

The Big Read Two Months in the Making

The Big Red Two Months in the Making

Medieval Stars and Crosses

Medieval  Stars and Crosses

Medieval Stars and Crosses

Octagon The Stars of the Desert

octagone Stars of desert

octagon the star of desert


Green Flower of the Cross

Green Flower Of the Cross

Green Flower Of the Cross

Geometrics Arabic Stars

Arabic Stars Dancing

Arabic Stars Dancing