Spending a month plus in Morocco for the first time is a fullfillment for my husband and me. Our visit has been timed to Ramadan bringing thoughts of the mystic poets, Hafiz and Rumi, with call to prayer several times a day.
During our stay here in Morocco, we had the pleasurable company of artist, Josie and her husband, geomorphologist, Colin Pain. Josie and Colin recommended the artists’ town of Essaouira as our first introduction to Morocco. Every evening we met for tea and espresso in a people watching cafe and talked about our day’s work of painting and writing (for Colin).
Josie is fascinated by the traditional walnut ink found here in Morocco. Early on in our Essaouira stay, Josie and Colin took us to a small shop in the medina that sold walnut crystals. Josie showed us how she uses the walnut ink by mixing small amounts of water with the crystals. I watched as each crystal dissolved in the water and became a saturated ink with the addition of more ink or water.
In the next visit to the Medina, we four went to another hole in the wall shop to visit a Moroccan artist who painted with walnut ink on stretched goat skins. The goat skin appears very much like canvas once stretched. I experimented a little with painting on a goat skin. The goat skins are also used for traditional musical instruments.
The quality I appreciate most about Josie’s work is the line that morphs into form and shape so effortlessly. There is a fluid grace to her art that leaves me wanting to see more. She is currently working on paper but plans to expand to larger images with acrylic on canvas. The breadth of Josie’s work is inclusive of clay, small sculpture, inks, watercolors and acrylics. She doesn’t dabble in each media but has a thorough repertoire. Notice the intensity and precision of her line work on her porcelain necklaces below. She also makes her own porcelain tiles.
While here is Essaouira, she created walnut ink on paper tiles that will later be mounted on foam core for a head board.
Her ideas are prolific. Josie’s painting has a narrative quality to it. Not limited to narratives, Josie’s abstraction of line into color lends itself to expressions of varied emotions. Josie and Colin currently live in Andalucia, Spain. They moved to Spain in 2012 from Australia. Josie was born in the Philippines and Colin in New Zealand. To see more of Josie’s art work visit: