By Ina Arraoui.
Enter a painter’s studio and tubes of various colours and stages of life will no doubt be found scattered
or piled within arms-reach of the canvas. For Moroccan artist, Radouane Arraoui,
a single-element gas cooker and old stainless steel pot gives birth to his colour range,
allowing him creative control over the production of his materials and forming an integral part of his art practice.
As with most inventions, necessity led him to explore the technique he learned from his professor while completing
his Fine Arts Degree in Tetouan. He learned that melting together linseed oil, wax, gum Arabic and traditional
pigments would give him a substance that was not only cheaper, but one he could touch and explore without suffering
from any of the harmful side effects caused by the chemicals found in most manufactured oil paints.
An element of discovery and anticipation is another key advantage to making his paints.
“It’s very similar to cooking. Basically, it’s fun. You’re trying to put the best ingredients to get the best result.”
He can also develop the substance to suit his subject in terms of thickness, layers and the different materials
that might be fused onto his canvas, such as cardboard, string, jib and glue.
Living in Morocco, there is an abundance of pigments found on every corner of every Medina,
often displayed in a colourful cluster of large conical cylinders and purchased for dying cloth, leather,
carpets and painting canvases, walls and furniture, as they have been for centuries. The first pigments were originally
developed for use in ceramics and were specific to a region. Still, certain colours can only be found in certain areas
and this led to the different styles of ceramics found between major centres of Islamic arts, such as Fes and Tetouan.
Although the market for natural pigments in New Zealand is much newer and smaller than in Morocco,
Radouane is inspired by the amount of natural pigments that can be found in the landscape
and the knowledge that already exits in this area.“For me personally, I think there is huge potential to develop
this palette and I think with time it will be a huge challenge to get more and add to it and try to develop
it because for me personally, it’s such a rich area to research.
” He has been experimenting with materials from his local area in the Far North, sourcing wax from a local beekeeper
and digging for ochre-coloured clay.
If you are interested in seeing more of Radouane’s paintings,
visit his website: www.arraoui.webs.com or for more information about
making oil paints you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org