Like a drop in the ocean, I see myself in the wide space of Art’, this is how artist Sheikha al Kalbani describes herself in the field of arts that branches into lots of types.
Scattered thoughts, enthusiasm to try everything, is always the start of each artist until finally finding a particular type of arts to focus at. “I used to move between photography in acrylic colors, oil colors, and pastel pens, and at other times I would return to pencil and so on until I found myself strongly connected to watercolors. I began to delve into it to explore what is hidden there.”, Sheikha said.
“Experimenting things, moving between different types of art can nourish the creative side of the artist, so I kept returning to other types from time to time. But while doing so, I kept my art into the shades of the Omani identity, so I photographed some of the Omani legacies such as palm fronds, camel breeding and Islamic architecture, landscapes of Omani landscape and social life”, she continues.
“watercolors give me a different feeling from the rest of the media or artistic materials. That feeling was very much like a feeling of peace and harmony. When I start painting with watercolors, I quickly felt as if I have moved with my brush and colors into a world of harmony with self. the interaction of color with water has an expressive and emotional presence at the same time through which I can reflect myself. In addition, watercolors dry quickly and are free of strong smells. this was helpful to practice the art smoothly and comfortably”.
For each type of arts, there are some certain rules that the artist should concentrate at. “One of the first basics of watercolor painting is to maintain the transparency of color, and this comes through being able to determine the proportion of color and water and sometimes the artist should equalize between them. Then comes the need to take into account the distribution of shades and light, as watercolors cannot tolerate errors. it is always difficult to correct the error, especially if a dark color is placed in a place that is supposed to be lit”.
Dealing with watercolors, especially in painting portraiture is difficult especially if the artist doesn’t have full control over colors. It is not easy to paint the different details of the face with watercolors, or to balance the shades. From a personal point of view, I see that it just requires constant practice to overcome these difficulties.
Water represents the main mediator in the process of coloring with watercolors. Water brings life to the artwork with its interactions with colors and this happens mutually when increasing the proportion of water over color and vice versa. when the proportion of water is increased over color, harmonious color interactions appear, and when the color ratio is increased, melodious colors appear to interact with the painting in a way that you feel that everything is flowing altogether.
Speaking about her favourite piece of work, al Kalbani said “I remember on one of the university trips, we went to Muttrah to visit the National Museum, and as usual I prefer to sit at the window. I was looking out the window at the corridors of the willayat with great love until my eyes fell directly to the Great Prophet’s Mosque. It was the first time that I saw the mosque on the ground. I felt greatly attracted to the structure and the details of the mosque. I went searching for it and found that it dates back to the fifteenth century, as it represents one of the models of traditional Islamic architecture. I drew that mosque with love and it took a long time as I felt that I want to spend much time in the feeling it created inside of me”.
The painting represents one of the corners of the Great Mosque of the Prophet, so the minaret of the mosque appears high in the middle of the artwork, and thus the minaret represents the element of sovereignty in the whole artwork. next to the mosque on the left of the painting appears part of the houses of Muttrah, with their windows designed in arabesque art made of wood