Portrait of a Bedouin: Behind A Commission

Hi!!

Hope you’re well. These last few weeks have been somewhat of a storm for me, but I’m embracing the rain. April showers bring May flowers right? I’ve had some amazing opportunities come up and I’m scrambling to get it all done. More details on that in a future post. But for now, I wanted to share with you something I’ve been doing on the side as well.

A lovely client contacted me in March right before my vacation with a desire to commission an original painting from me. She liked my style of work and we agreed to meet in person to discuss her vision. Many commissions begin with a photograph or an idea. This client had come across an old photograph of a Bedouin lady as shown below.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 1.02.45 PM

The photograph really spoke to her. It just so turns out that I, too, have been collecting vintage photographs of the “Old UAE”, particularly of the women. The photos are usually black and white, the women’s faces are always covered in a traditional burka mask revealing only their eyes. It amazes me how emotional I get when I look at these images. To many foreigners, these photos show the mysterious, elusive nature of the Islamic world with veiled women being the main subject. But for me, these photos seem to take me back in time to a people that worked very hard and in the harshest conditions.

Women carrying water jugs on their heads, men fishing and diving for pearls, camels being transported and cared for, bedouin merchants in the city souks. These pictures are nothing short of a “Night at the Museum” movie for me without all of the animation.

smiling eyes bedouin_amira rahim_2

Anyway, it is my task and artist to take these black and white photos and reinvent them with color and modern elements. To breathe life into a time that now ceases to exist. It is magical.

smiling eyes bedouin_amira rahim_1

 

This is
This is the gold leaf I attached to this piece. I purchased it in the US while on vacation. The leafing was very delicate and inter

For this commission, I worked on a fairly large canvas 24×36″. I worked primarily with acrylics, but I knew I was going to work in some gold leafing as well. This mixed media component adds texture and a reflective quality that could not be achieved with paint alone. The title “Smiling Eyes” comes from my client herself and I think it’s very fitting.

Here is my rendition of the portrait. I emailed progress photos as the painting progressed so I could make any adjustments to the work. Thankfully, after a few emails of updates and feedback,  I’m happy to say my client is pleased and told me “it’s perfect!”. This painting will be set for pick up this week.

 

smiling eyes bedouin_amira rahim_4
“Smiling Eyes” 24×36″ acrylics and gold leaf on canvas

smiling eyes bedouin_amira rahim_5

 

Thank you for reading. I am currently still open for commissions (both abstracts and figurative) for June. Feel free to contact me at amira.rahim@gmail if you’d like to set up a consultation.

Best,
Amira

www.amirarahim.com

 

Sand, Safari and Bedouins

Hey you! It’s been a sandy weekend. Abu Dhabi has seen one of the most intense sandstorms ever and left much of us indoors for the past few days. We almost cancelled our safari booking, but decided to just bear the brunt of the storm and hope for the best.  Fortunately, I was able take advantage of one of my last few days in Abu Dhabi before vacation and enjoy a traditional desert safari. In a few more weeks it will be too hot to bear!

The camels, dunes, and blanket of stars at night made for an unforgettable experience. Here are some of the photos from yesterday.

 

The timing couldn’t have been better. I am diving deeper and deeper into my collection of figurative abstract women and I managed to complete a set of Bedu women on canvas.

"Bedu 1" 20x30" acrylic and gesso on canvas, SOLD
“Bedu 1″ 20×30” acrylic and gesso on canvas, SOLD
"Bedu 2" 20x30" acrylic and gesso on canvas, SOLD
“Bedu 2″ 20×30” acrylic and gesso on canvas, SOLD

I am happy to say they have already gone to a swift and trusty collector of mine (thank you, if you’re reading!). I will be doing more with this motif in the future. I love the monochrome scheme for this theme, and I think it lends to the nostalgic quality of these figures that move me so much. I may also explore them in red.

If you have any feedback or more ideas, feel free to share in the comments below!

30 in 30: Day 21 Hand-painted iPad Cover

Hand painted iPad Cover, not for sale
Hand painted iPad Cover, not for sale

Hey hey! Back. It’s January 21st right? haha, I’m so behind. I’ve been painting around the clock, but I’m learning that with the Daily Painting series, more jobs come up. You get commissions. You get busy. And so, I am just going to pretend it’s the 21st because I am trying really hard to keep up!

This weekend, I got to visit some of my first sold paintings here at a collector’s home in Abu Dhabi. She was kind enough to invite me over and see all of the art in her home. I’m pleased to say, she has well over 10 pieces of my work, ranging from watercolors, camels, and landscapes. One of the perks of selling/buying local is that you can keep in touch!

Well, in between my other work, I decided to just paint my iPad cover. I use it so much in the studio and I hate to admit, it was getting pretty “artsy” with paint accidentally being placed on the cover. The cover itself was on a nice, textured material and was teal colored. I applied my acrylics directly over it and just had fun with it. I inadvertently painted something very similar to my original “Dancing in the Rain” painting, which coincidentally sold the same day!

After I painted it, I signed it and sealed it with a sprayed varnish to keep it protected from the elements. Now I can take a piece of my art with me wherever I go!

Fun and functional. 🙂

P.S. My initial photo is blurry, so here’s a little more from my iPhone.

The cover, with its matching painting :)
The cover, with its matching painting 🙂

amira rahim_ipad cover painting

Things to Do During the Day When You’re Alone

What an ambiguously strange title that is? But, that’s all I could come up with that made sense for this.

These last few weeks have been a colossal ball of business, art business that is. Thanks to so many orders coming through in the last few weeks (thanks ya’ll!), I’ve been out of the studio most of the time driving around the city getting prints made, works framed, and then seeing them off to their forever homes. But like every high, there is an equal low.

I’ve been spending much of my time completely alone, as the mister is off working and many of my friends here only socialize on the weekends due to their own jobs. As a self-employed creative, artrepreneur, many of you can relate, most of the time is spent doing things completely alone. Usually it doesn’t bother me, and it is a necessary part of my profession, painter. But with commissions to finish and orders to fulfill, my creative time has been limited. Maybe it’s the time of year, I always get nostalgic around fall and just want to be close to home. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t seen my mom and siblings for 10 months. Boo frickity hoo. I don’t want to throw myself a pity party, so today I thought of several fun things to do when completely alone in the day:

 

sketch

Sketching is a great way to work on creative ideas that I can’t put to the canvas just yet. Lately I’ve been exploring figures and looking forward to incorporating them into my abstract work.

Read. The other day, I was determined to sit by the Corniche beach, get some fresh air, and catch up on some good reads. Lately, I’ve been reading Gone Girl (the movie was so good, I needed more), A Place of Yes (Bethenny Frankel is the real deal), and now recently Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon. Would love to get some more recommendations, so what are you guys reading?

Listen to TED Talks. Ever notice how the time goes by when you’re listening to good TED talks in procession? And then there’s that added bonus of feeling like you’re actually back in college and your brain is still capable of soaking up new information. Feels good. The last really good TED talk I heard was by “Pico Iyer: The art of stillness.” Give it a go.

Visit unfamiliar places. I’ve been meaning to go to the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. It’s the closest thing to a museum in the capital, and I love to learn about the ways and cultures from the past. So, looking forward to this.

Pamper yourself. Baths are great. And no one says baths can only be at night. I also like to light some essential oil blends in a diffuser and keep my apartment smelling fresh. And sometimes, you just need a trip to the mall and buy those things you’ve been meaning to get. Pampering is especially nice alone, so take advantage of the free time if you can!

Get your shit together. This may not be that fun, but sometimes it’s nice to get some organizing done around the house. In addition to laundry and things, there are other ways I’d like to get organized. Mainly, organizing my photos and files on my Mac. Since I got this laptop in March, it’s been great, almost too great. Because the moment I save or upload something here, it’s off into the mysterious cloud or neverland, and I can’t figure out how to see all of it at once and purge the unnecessary.

 

I really like this quote, and it’s something I’ve deliberately adopted this year. When you treat each day like you mean to wake up, then you have a lot more control over your mood. We’re all human right? We will have those days. Hoping to stay present and enjoy this moment while I can.

Peace and Blessings,

Amira

New Paintings from the Studio

Hey guys,

Here are three of my latest paintings from the studio. They were all about loosening up and remembering the joy of painting. Painting for paint’s sake!

 

"Deep Blue" 16x20" canvas
“Deep Blue”
16×20″ canvas
"Heart of the Matter" 20x30" canvas
“Heart of the Matter”
20×30″ canvas
"Lily Pond" 7x9.5" canvas panel
“Lily Pond”
7×9.5″ canvas panel

I have them listed on both Etsy and my website. If you click the painting, it will take you directly to the link in my stores.

Have a colorful day! xx