30 in 30: Day 19 & 20 Abstract Figurative Painting

"The Wedding" 36x24" (twin canvases 18" width each) acrylic on canvas, Available
“The Wedding” 36×24″ (twin canvases 18″ width each) acrylic on canvas, Available

Hey! Back with my two days of painting. I started this set earlier this week and finished it today. In continuing with my veiled figures series, I wanted to explore a more colorful, warm color palette this time. I painted the faces in burnt sienna instead of white, and played around with their veils to end up with a colorful array of garments that remind me of the traditional Sudanese tawb. As such, I decided to call it “The Wedding” or as they say in Sudan “Al ‘Agd”. The bride as it so happens is facing away. I like the mystery of some figures facing toward the viewer and others facing away. It also makes for a more interesting composition.

Once the basic shapes were in place, I played around with translucent colors overlapping the layers and playing around with the different tones I could get. The underpainting is quite textured thanks to a relief substance I applied in the initial stages of the painting. I’m really enjoying painting on this surface and find that the paints just glide on it, much smoother than the basic canvas.

Thanks for viewing!

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30 in 30: Day 15 Abstract Figurative Painting

"Tahajjud" 12x24" acrylic on canvas, Available
“Tahajjud (Night Prayer)” 12×24″ acrylic on canvas, SOLD

This is the companion piece to my previous painting. This was also painted intuitively, no sketching, no references, just imagination. I really struggled to find the faces and people in this one, but slowly it came together. I wanted this one to be a little lighter in the background, and the white motif in the upper right corner gives an illusion of light and space. As the figures began to emerge in the piece, it formed somewhat of a crowd. There appears to be smaller figures on the floor, possibly children, or women resting. And then the three standing figures in the center are facing away.

As I finished this piece, I landed on the perfect title. It reminded me of a scene in a mosque because they appear to be in prayer. “Tahajjud” is the night prayer that is prayed by devout muslims, especially during the month of Ramadan. The ghost like quality of the women is offset by burst of colors to lift the energy.

Here are the pair. I think they really complement each other and could be hung side by side.

"Sisters" and "Tahajjud" 24x24" acrylics on canvas
“Sisters” and “Tahajjud” 24×24″ acrylics on canvas

What do you see?

30 in 30: Day 14 Figurative Abstract Painting

"Sisters" 12x24" acrylic on canvas, Available
“Sisters” 12×24″ acrylic on canvas, SOLD

Back with more paintings for the day. I started this piece a few days ago. I knew I would be making a companion to it as I’m trying to develop my work more in series. These were painted completely intuitively. I mixed the colors on the canvas most of the time, and really wanted to explore a more muted, toned down color palette. This is one of the pair and features three women wearing a veil. It can be interpreted as a painting of Muslim women wearing the “abaya” or religious garb, but it not necessarily.

I knew that I wanted to incorporate figures in my abstract work for some time now. I have to say, it is difficult but also fun. Being in the Emirates has definitely influenced me as an artist, and seeing so many women wearing the abaya has inspired me to capture their graceful, yet mysterious presence.

 

 

jumuah abstract painting by Amira Rahim

30 in 30: Day 9 Abstract Figurative Painting

jumuah abstract painting by Amira Rahim
“Jumuah (Friday Prayer)”
16×16″ acrylic on canvas, SOLD

Hey guys! Hope you had a great weekend. It’s Sunday, which means back to work here in the Gulf. Friday was so much fun for me. I really took a day off which I don’t usually do. I went to Jumuah prayer at a mosque in town, and then afterwards had lunch at Wafi Gourmet. The views of the Corniche and the weather was just magnificent. Afterward, I met with a good friend of mine who was hosting a friend of her own in town.

We did A LOT in a short amount of time, including visiting the Reflected Light exhibition on Manarat Al Saadiyat, drinking 24-karat gold cappuccinos at Emirates Palace, and a Moroccan bath! Have you guys ever tried this before? Anyway, it was a truly relaxing day with lots of firsts. I would love for all my future Fridays to be this breezy! Let’s see if I can keep this up.

About the painting: It is abstract in nature, but you can make out elements of architecture, mosques and city in the foreground. The veiled women in abaya are added as a compositional element and complete the story. Reminiscent of Abu Dhabi life. To purchase, visit here.

Thanks for viewing!

My Abu Dhabi Essentials!

One of the requirements of being an expat in a foreign country, is opening your mind and eyes to new ideas and learning to adjust. It hasn’t always been easy, and I often miss home. But, Abu Dhabi has exposed me to cool things I wouldn’t have normally used. Here are a few things I can’t live without:

1. The Ample Supply of Art Supply Stores in the City

Abu Dhabi is essentially a big shopping center in the desert made up of an infinite supply of shopping malls. These malls house bookstores, and in Abu Dhabi, most bookstores carry art supplies. This means that with any trip to the mall I can quickly pick up a few canvases (or a lot) and paints to keep this artist happy!

Recently, I also discovered Green Branch, which is a fabulous independent art supply store in the city with walls and walls of materials. I do believe it is the best art supply store in the city. Don’t be fooled by its humble accommodations, this place is a gem!

2. A Black Abaya

 

The black abaya has traditionally been worn in the desert for over a thousand years. Fast forward to 2014, the abaya has since evolved into a fashion-forward, sometimes sexy, often expensive garment for the modern Muslim woman. In the UAE, everyone wears them and for almost any occasion.

I love that I can throw one over my pajamas for a quick errand or two. Or I can jazz it up for an upscale event. It’s versatile, elegant, and to be honest, I feel like a princess when I’m wearing it.

3. Burning Bakhoor

I have a feeling bakhoor can be found in every flat and villa in the Emirate. Purfumed wood or “oud” is set on burning charcoals to smoke your home into a decadently smelling abode. It’s faster than burning candles, and with the many shops in the city, you can experiment with countless fragrant combinations including rose, frankincense, french perfumes, and more. Lately I’ve been loving the stronger “Oud” blends which are a favorite amongst the locals. In fact, I have some burning now!

4. Sandals, sandals, and more sandals!

I have to admit, I’ve never been much of a sandal-wearer. But in this sand-pit, you quickly get over any inhibitions at showing your pretty piggies. The weather is often too hot to wear anything else, and with Steve Madden, Aldo, and other shops being just a drive a way, what more can a girl want? I’m currently rocking these beauties from Steve Madden. BADEN in Gold/Cognac. It’s a sexy one.

5. Sunscreen and Sunnies

My absolute favorite sunscreen. I’m pretty much allergic to everything else. This one keeps my face safe from the scorching desert sun. Oh, and yesterday’s temp? 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Yea… cover up!

And last but not least, my beloved Ray Bans. Still the sunglass of choice in the Emirate, and an absolute essential with my black abaya and handbag.

What are some of your expat essentials?

 

Images sourced from Pinterest and Steve Madden