This painting has been sold.
I have wanted to paint this scene for a long time. Port Said (pronounced "Sah-eed"), Egypt, early in the morning on a November day in about 1999. Photographed from the railing of a (small, modest) cruise ship. It is a study in contrasts; the old-world architecture of the apartments, the jumble of the docks and fishing shacks, the colorfully painted boats, the brilliant water...
As always, the painting is my impression of the scene, using the photo as a reference, but also influenced by my memory of the place and modified in any number of small ways. One has to be careful in painting from photos, because the camera can distort and leave out a lot of information.
Even painting directly from life, though, involves making choices and decisions so that the finished painting gets across the sense of the place while allowing the painting to become a harmonious and beautiful object in its own right. It is like writing a story. Even in writing a true story, some events and characters may be combined, modified or just left out (and others may even be invented) in order to more effectively communicate the real point of the story, the reason for writing it in the first place. It doesn't help to get every detail exactly correct if the story ends up so dull and tedious that no one can stand to read it. The writing has to engage the reader so that they will be drawn into it and have a chance to absorb the story.
I've come to the point where I am very reluctant to paint from any but my own photographs (though I make exceptions), so that I can draw on my memory and at least attempt to call to mind how I felt when I took the picture, and what it was about the place that made me want to remember it and pass it on to others. Even things like the sounds and smells and the temperature of the air can change the emotional perception of a place or event.
I have more photos and memories from the trip that I hope to paint.
Be sure to visit my Online Store for lots more art, cheap! Baby needs a new pair or hiking boots.