It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything from this project, but I am still at work on the Arabian Nights. This scene comes from The Hunchback’s Tale, a comedy of errors in which the sultan’s hunchbacked jester chokes to death on a fishbone while dining with friends, who promptly act to rid themselves of the body — and the blame. A series of people stumble upon the jester in the dark and each one, unaware that the man is dead already, inflicts a further accident upon him and when they do discover he’s dead, blame themselves and rush to pass his body along. The story ends cheerfully when a barber pries the fishbone from the jester’s throat, bringing him back to life and absolving everyone of guilt.
While I did research Persian and Moroccan architecture for this project, my main inspiration was a little closer to home. Every Christmas when I was a child, the local walkways and rooftops would be lined with luminarios (basically paper bags placed over candles, weighted with some sand). They cast a dim, red-gold glow that transformed the adobe houses into something otherworldly. It was this light that I wanted to paint. The effect was more difficult to capture than I’d imagined, though, and the end result falls a bit short of the real thing. If you truly want to witness the magic of luminarios, you’ll just have to find a city lit up with them. The experience will definitely be worth the search.