A while ago, I was wandering with Mummy dearest through a pretentious home décor store when I saw a painting on display and immediately fell in love with it.
It was amazing. Tiny square pieces of a reflective mirror-like glass, painted over in a lovely palette of olive greens and teals, with patches of mirror peeking through in silver and gold. It was everything right with the universe, and the exact thing I’d hang on my wall and stare at blissfully all day long.
I didn’t buy it. You must understand, these were much simpler times, by which I mean insanely poorer. But the painting wasn’t that expensive, really. It just never even crossed my mind that I could do anything other than pine for it.
It hit me a couple of days later: that I could actually buy the thing, that – goodness gracious! – I could actually sort of afford it. But it wasn’t for sale anymore. Some lady with better judgement and a bigger budget had already reserved it for her fancy-pancy new home. I left my number with the shop assistant, just in case Fancy Lady happened to change her mind, but they never called so I assume she really did come back for it. (God I hate her face!)
I recovered from the heartbreak eventually, though my love for this painting (or the fuzzy memory of it, anyway) never died. And I always remembered it in all its splendour every time I picked out my clothes and jewels, every time I arranged my spice rack so the coloured powders would complement each other, every time I tried to conjure up my happy place.
See, it’s always the little things.
And then sometimes it’s the big things, like discovering a place that encompasses everything I love in the world. The sultry desert sands and the brilliant colours, the perfumes and shimmering golden gates, the spices and the silks. The feeling of warmth and peace in the middle of a bustling chaotic city, the timelessness and mystery of every place you see and every stone you tread. It all spoke to me, personally, profoundly. And I knew exactly how to sum it up.
I don’t know what that first painter felt when they did my ever-unattainable dream piece. Maybe they didn’t think things that deeply. Or maybe they were inspired by something completely different. It doesn’t really matter.
I find myself blasphemously loving my own work better now. It’s born of me. It’s made in my own image. It is my happy place.
My Spices in Marrakech painting isn’t meant to replicate what I saw a long time ago and could never have. It doesn’t try. Instead, it’s meant to replicate what it meant to me, what I saw in that moment when I first laid eyes on it. It expresses what was left with me after all this time – after the image of it faded to an off-focus memory. Truthfully, this was never about the piece I loved, it was about why I loved it.
And I loved it because spices. Because blue sky. Because gold and silks. Because a myriad of incredible things that, in a sense, will always be mine. Because places like Marrakech exist and I can channel them into a million paintings.
And I just might, you know.
You can join me in my sultry happy place or even grab it for yourself HERE.