Still raining up in the Tif Mountains so no painting on day 3, but things did clear on day 4 and I got one off in the alleyway outside my rental during a break in the weather. Early morning because the street is only wide enough for the tiny lorries that drive through and nothing was going on at that time. Ever so, I had to pick up the easel and step into a doorway several times while I was working to let a donkey through.
Here is the painting:
My traveling companions want me to call it “Chefchaouen’s Bridge of Sighs”, after the one in Venice they kissed under last year. We all kissed each other under this one later today before we went our separate ways. (My wife and I are staying in Chaouen a few more days while our companions go on to Fez to ride camels out into the desert, and sleep in a bedouin tent, before flying home out of Casablanca.) I plan to re paint this scene this winter and insert figures in it so please think of this sketch more as a field study.
Some of the local boys who were very curious about what I was doing. The Koran has an edict about making images of Allah’s creation and I was worried about that but I encountered no criticism. These boys were nice and respectful and helped me pack up after I was done. Mustaffa, Mohammad, Marto, and one other boy I couldnt. remember.
The walls really are that blue because of the intense color the villagers paint them. They white wash the entire town in blue powder. Here is the powder for sale in the street.
While having some strong afternoon Moroccan mint tea under a dripping canopy in the town square I asked our proprietor what was a good time of year to visit Chefchaouen. He smiled immediately and said, “Oh now is the best time. It is raining and we need the rain. The rain is very beautiful.” I guess it all depends upon one’s point of view, eh?
This is a tight muslim community, and while seemingly fairly moderate in its religious expression, there is a muezzin call to prayer every 4 or 5 hours from multiple minarets all over the town. There is no question who runs this place.
A native drinking a glass of what I was told was “Bedouin Whiskey”, meaning Moroccan mint tea. There is so much sugar in this stuff it might as well contain alcohol. We kept skipping lunch until we figured it out: we’d been drink one or two glasses at breakfast and the sugar took us to dinner. Sheesh!
The main mosque starts up and the others follow immediately after. I never did get the schedule down but you can’t miss it since there is always a minaret near you. Here is one call to prayer starting at 4:30 am. I filmed it from my roof top because I couldn’t sleep. Once a call starts you see muslims running into the mosques. However, you can’t see it happening in this clip because it is so dark.
Back to Spain next. To the white hill town of Ronda, where Hemingway set his novel, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. I will be painting the bridge the Spanish insurgents were thrown off of during WWII. A sad tale, but hopefully one which will remain firmly in the past.
– Posted on the road with my iPad