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A passage to Petra

25 Feb 2006 / 0 Comments / in about art, stone hugging, travels
I’ve just finished this painting, entitled a passage to Petra.

Like many of my ‘journey’ paintings it doesn’t show a single scene or view, but combines a number of related elements to, I hope, produce an image which the viewer can travel through and consider and so in their own way make a similar journey.

Petra is the lost pink city of the Nabateans which lies in the Jordanian desert. I achieved a lifetime’s ambition last September when I visited Petra with my beloved husband Moth and my friend Carole, who was leading tours through the Middle East at the time. I wrote an extensive, illustrated blog about our trip there in October.

Petra is the one place on our planet where humankind and nature have perfectly combined beauty, history, grandeur and sheer gobsmacking awe. It is in this spirit of overwhelming gorgeousness that I painted ‘a passage to Petra’. My pathetic attempts to capture something of it can never do it justice, so my instead my painting is a series of memories of the time we spent there, our jaws dropping with every corner we turned.

The first thing you see after walking down the 1km canyon called the Siq is the view everyone knows of Petra, of the Treasury, a rock cut facade. So beautiful was it that this first glimpse had me blubbing like a child. Clearly this had to go in the picture, but I didn’t want to be the main focus, as there is so much more to Petra than this one monument.
Take the rocks themselves, for example. Stratas of colour – reds, yellows, blues, purples, oranges and pinks – which have been carved into by humans and subsequently eroded by wind and water. The effect is surreal and are the true stars of Petra, which is the Greek word for ‘rock’.
It struck me as rather joyous that the little birds most commonly seen busily and effortlessly flitting around Petra are Sinai Rosefinches, cunningly coloured bright pink like the rocks themselves. Ah! Ain’t Evolution marvellous? I love birds, so in my painting the Rosefinch had to appear to be the guardian of the place.


As you walk down the main drag at Petra, on either side tombs and temples have been carved into the rock faces. Some are vast and ornate, but I liked the humbler ones best, so I have included just a few in my painting.

The Monastery is carved in the same stylee as the Treasury, but is better preserved. It lies very high up a mountain and is a must see for any visitor to Petra. Anyone who has been to Petra will understand why I have painted it at the top of the picture. From up there it feels as it you are on top of the world.
I wanted to add a human element to the painting and have put myself in the picture upon a little white donkey which I hired to help me up all those steps up to the Monastery. I will be forever grateful to this kind hearted equine for saving my knees from certain agony on the decent. And it only cost me an apple for the ass and seven dinars for his owner.

I hope that my picture will jog the memories of people who have visited Petra and will inspire those that haven’t to go.

Why not send an e-card of this painting to someone?

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