Since my first visit to Oman in 2007 I have always taken my hand made sketchbooks to paint on location. Whenever I’ve shown these studies to various folk, they have always commented on the tactile beauty of these small watercolour paintings that are held together as a mini art collection.
The plan for several years has been to find a method of reproducing them so that they are available for people to buy, but at the same time retaining the hand made quality of the original sketches so that they actually look like an original sketchbook.
In the spring of 2010 I had the first copies printed and bound to show potential buyers. The response was great and so we went into producing a limited edition run of 250 Sketchbook of Oman in November 2010. Her Majesty the Queen was visiting Oman in November to celebrate Oman’s 40th anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and she was presented with 1/250 of the sketchbook. A lovely article was written in the Oman Observer by Maurice Gent about Her Majesty the Queen also being presented with one of my paintings too.
A portion of the proceeds of the sale of the sketchbooks is going to 40/40 which is a scholarship scheme for 40 Omanis, to undertake Undergraduate Degrees at Universities in Oman, ideally with those with links to British Universities was established. These scholarships would target poorer Omanis who could not otherwise afford tuition fees. A key partner in this would be the Ministry of Higher Education who would help identify suitable candidates for the scholarships. The candidates have been selected and the scheme is now well underway although raising money to fund the students is an on-going project. Purchasing “Sketchbook of Oman” is one great way to contribute to this scholarship.
Above are a few examples of some of the 40 images which make up the book, 27 of which have been painted on location, the other 13 are studio paintings like the Grand Mosque at Night which were inspired by the location studies.