I knew when I snapped this shot that a) I’d got lucky and b) it was perfect to paint.

Clair eleggett Marrakesh

It needed something better in the front left foreground so I ‘imported’ some of these lovely cushions and lanterns.

Claire Leggett painter

I began with some block collage laid down to paint over – a piece of Arabic writing I picked up whilst in Marrakesh and a chocolate wrapper in the style of some of the tiles I’d seen there.

Claire_leggett_painter_early progress

After washing in some colours I drew in the structure.

Claire_leggett_painter_in progress

And continued to layer it up with paint – making textures, scratching into paint and printing too.


I love how their body language translates this couples kind of nonchalance and conversation as they strolled along.

Claire_leggett_painter_Strolling in the Souk

It’s a challenge to paint so differently to normal but I love all the layers of print and texture showing through and it seems the perfect way to capture Marrakesh.

claire_leggett_marrakesh street 2

They say you should throw away any map when you go to Marrakesh because you will never navigate your way through all the souks (it’s true!)

claire_leggett_marrakesh street 1a

That does mean that wandering and looking around is high on the agenda.

claire_leggett_marrakesh street

It’s also best to look like you know where you are going even if you don’t – the last thing you need to do is attract a ‘helper’.

claire_leggett_marrakesh street ollie

So I came home with a camera card full of alleyway pictures – striped plaster, rusty ironwork, carved wood, shadows and rugs.


I started a piece on a blue painted acrylic background and then added the first layer of gouache paint. But by the end of day one something was nagging me. Turned out to be the composition, which meant that a lot of the painting was given over to a not very interesting wall to look at. That’s when Mike Bernard’s influence kicked in.


I decided to wash it all off, dry it overnight and start afresh in the morning.


The following few days were spent layering up collage materials and layers of paint. I used textured papers which spoke better of the wall’s surface and created a depth and an interest to the big expanse.

Claire_leggett_Moroccan Alleyway

I learnt a lot on this little piece; namely that although the composition leads the eye well, it is actually too triangular and throws up other problems.


Here’s a close-up of my favourite part of this piece.

Venetian Doorway  Mike Bernard

Venetian Doorway Mike Bernard

I have been reading a fabulous book by the artist Mike Bernard.

Village Shop  Mike Bernard

Village Shop Mike Bernard

His work appeals to me for a multitude of reasons – the colour, the approach, the texture, the subject matter, the life in them.

Venetian Doorway  Mike Bernard

Venetian Doorway Mike Bernard

I’m still developing my appreciation and use of  acrylic paints and learning through his work has stretched me.

Fruit and Veg Shop, Orvieto  Mike Bernard

Fruit and Veg Shop, Orvieto Mike Bernard

I have poured over the photographs and read every word of his descriptions on his approach and techniques.

Roofscape, Port Isaac   Mike Bernard

Roofscape, Port Isaac Mike Bernard

I’ll come back in a few days to show you how he has influenced my own work, but I highly recommend the book :)

Riad Kaiss 6

  Back to normality after my exciting day out

Riad Kaiss interior_claire Leggett

I am still immersed in painting Marrakesh despite painting in Birmingham (UK). I have focussed some work on the beautiful building we stayed in when we visited two years ago.

Riad Kaiss 2

Years ago I had kept a cutting from a magazine showing where the chef Yotam Ottolenghi was filming his latest TV programme because it looked so beautiful and so Moroccan.

Riad Kaiss 8

  That wonderful place is Riad Kaiss.

Riad Kaiss pool

Literally every corner is a picture, every piece of furniture is a work of art.

Riad Kaiss 5

Every door, tile or piece of stoneware an exquisite sculpture.

Riad Kaiss 4

Every meal, every flower display and every furnishing, was inspiring the visual senses in some way.

Riad Kaiss fountain

We booked a half day with the chef to learn how to make Moroccan pastries (we haven’t since!) and I was delighted to just get a look at the gorgeous quirky colours of the kitchen and the tiles.

Riad Kaiss kitchen

Another cook-book called Colours of Maroc has since been published, also photographed in Riad Kaiss. Check that link for an almost identical (but better photographed) image of Cornes des Gazelles on those tiles. Great minds…

Riad Kaiss 1

It was a cool, quiet haven to retreat to after a few hours bustling in the souks.

Riad Kaiss _balcony_Claire Leggett

I like this little tin foil painting as it conjures up my memory of its dark, quiet coolness.

Riad Kaiss 3

And if you ever go to Marrakesh then I highly recommend you do stay there.

Riad Kaiss 7

A quick break in my Marrakesh work to share some photos of an amazing day that we had on Tuesday when we were invited to the Queens garden party.

Claire_Leggett_Queens garden party 2015

Many people have asked why and how? Answer is, we’re not absolutely sure but a good reason why it could have been is explained here.

Claire_Leggett_watercolour painitng tea things

And I was still on cloud nine yesterday and out popped a quick little tea time inspired painting.


Had a good, long Bank Holiday weekend? I had an unexciting but satisfying time of purging the kitchen cupboards of clutter! Let me know if you can beat that ;)


I’m sat here now with the rain and wind lashing at the window pane so I thought some Marrakesh colour would be a welcome thing!

Marrakesh Souk Street_claire_leggett

I did a little watercolour painting in my sketchbook and was transported back to the hot souks of Marrakesh – the perfect antidote to a little Spring storm.

Who knew that painting over tinfoil could be such fun!


That’s what sketch book play is all about isn’t it? Those unexpected successes.


I’m really happy with this little piece – I think it captures the feeling of a night in the Djemaa El-Fna (the main square in Marrakesh)

Djemaa El-Fna

It can be a bit of a stressful place with lots of locals out to get your money through one scam or another but it looks nice and twinkly!


Here’s wishing you a happy Bank Holiday weekend :)

4. Marrakesh Rooftops

Before Easter I was lost in a world of inspiration looking at my holiday photos from Marrakesh two years ago.

3. Marrakesh Rooftops

After that I did get enjoyably side-tracked by Spring blooms, holidays and a Spring painting that wanted capturing right here and now but I was also not quite ready to stop my Marrakesh work just yet.


Here’s a little video of another rooftop painting I did because I just can’t get enough of those colours.


oldbankstudios workers

On Friday night I packed up my materials and my travel bag and set off for a mini adventure to Harwich in Essex in order to be ready to teach on Saturday at the Old Bank Studios.

oldbankstudios marion

I was running a one-day mixed media course called All things Bright and Beautiful based on my mixed media bird paintings.

oldbankstudios-bev and liz

oldbankstudios carol,margaret and sonja

We spent the day letting loose with some paint and papers building layers of paint, print and collage onto which we could paint a bird.


With everyone’s creativity flowing, imaginations let loose and we saw an underwater landscape, a couple of coastal scenes, a castle hidden in the trees, a blossom tree as well as floral still lifes and bird scenes come to life.

oldbankstudios Jane and Claire

They were a lovely group of ladies from near and far and we had fun working alongside each other.

oldbankstudios lesley and barbara

In fact, if I lived closer I wouldn’t hesitate to join the Quilting group or a textile course as the studios are a lovely environment to work in, the people are so friendly and I haven’t even mentioned the home cooked lunch yet!

Look at this beautiful room bathed in sunlight.


I’ve not been on a course that can accommodate a delicious sit down lunch like this with beautiful home cooked food like these amazingly clever apple roses made by Bev. It was a lovely way to take a break and to chat to people more.


After lunch a hush fell on the room for about an hour while everyone got serious about finishing off their pieces and then sadly the day was over.

oldbankstudios class 2

lizs work

I’ve been really lucky so far this year to have run some really fun workshops and met some super lovely people; Old Bank Studios is run by Bev and Nigel who are genuinely two of the nicest people I’ve ever met.


And to finish, here we all are with our art.


Just before we went away to Dorset we had been in a garden centre shopping for boring hard-landscaping things we needed, but we also left with some Spring plants that were calling me to take them home.


I didn’t really have clear idea of what I wanted to do with them but some plants just can’t be left behind.


I am a sucker for candelabra anything but particularly these with lollipop flower heads.


And I adore painting Bellis daisies – they are just so cheering.


When we came home from our break, the good weather here had brought everything on in the garden and there were daffodils and forget-me-nots to cut and bring in.


So what with listening to the Archers taking the cows out onto grass for the first time this year (I’m an old biddy now, aren’t I?!) and with the wonderful rolling hills of Dorset fresh in my mind, I pieced together this landscape with a hedgerow of Springs finest.


Bit of a new direction for me and I’ve really enjoyed it.

Copyright notice 2013

All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Claire Leggett and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Claire Leggett.

If you wish to link to this site or to a post from this site, that's very welcome just please ask first before doing so and then give appropriate credit for content.

Any other inquiries please email me at hello@claireleggett.co.uk

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