Turn it one way, and it looks like it’s covered in gold…

… turn it another way, and suddenly the white areas pop out as if it’s a completely different painting. I purposely ‘hid’ the white areas – like hiding in plain sight – to achieve this ‘popping’ effect so that you can only see them clearly from certain angles.


The gold centre shines brightly as it’s gilt. The carpet page area is finished at last!


This is a really rich piece that I enjoyed doing and ‘hiding’ things in, and placing things in certain areas so that they ‘grow’ out of each other like a kind of code. I enjoy these visual ‘jokes’. For example, the trelliswork around the smallest horizontal black bars is just dots, then around the second smallest vertical peach bar the dots have grown into 2 lines, and finally around the 3rd main central box they have morphed into Y shapes, with 3 lines.

The Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the ten thousand things.
(Tao Te Ching)

There is the malachite colouring in the main box which gives it a vertical direction, like a spine.

The gilt centre is matched by the right-hand gilding triangular shape which sticks out. The orange vertical triangular shape is of course mirrored beneath, and also is complemented by the orange smallest horizontal bars.

The peach (actually Naples yellow) scattered in the main carpet box is matched by its vertical side bar.

The Mayan blue horizontal triangular shape is matched by the sharafeh/merlons surrounding the edge of the piece, and finally, inside those merlons are tiny lavender dots which echo the vertical bar next to the main box – so it’s not the only lavender in the whole painting. Everything has its partner. Everything has a role or a rhyme or a reason to be there.


And this is the whole surface area – my painting trials on the left hand side while I carefully load up my brush with the correct amount of paint. The main black outlining was done after the colour infill of the flowers and other elements but before the background. However it’s not exact science because it also happens after the background, in the islimi parts and also shell gold was the final touch – the little leaf-like lines growing out of the countless spirals and also as the final dots on the sharafeh/merlons. It’s fitting that the first colour to go on is gold and the last colour is also gold.

It’s always worth having a bit of extra paper – the same paper as your final piece – to do brush exercises or tests so it’s on the same surface, so you see how it will react on your real thing (that’s just good science).

And now it just needs its frame… with a twist! It will become apparent in the show: CARPET PAGES I ~