Maxine is a full-time, independent artist based in Gloucestershire, teaches and lectures at home and abroad and exhibits widely. She is an elected Academician at the Royal West of England Academy. Maxine will help you capture the immediacy of the sights around you with simple, telling sketches. She will offer tips on rapid line drawing, colour mixing, simple ways of mastering perspective, dramatic use of tone, figure drawing and more. Maxine is a multi-lingual international tutor and experienced traveller and has led numerous trips for Steppes to India and Morocco. 

Maxine has written an article about her sketchbook trip to Morocco in April 2015 with Steppes for the Kasbah du Toubkal Magazine which we have featured below:

We felt it immediately, as we piled out of our vehicle in the trailhead village of Imlil. This was the artistic inspiration our small sketching group had come to find, with pencils sharpened, paintbrushes at the ready. You could have left me right there, filling my sketchbook with the sheer visual feast of that first encounter with Berber life.

It was April and I’d brought a mixed-ability group of nine adults to the Kasbah for the start of our adventure which was, for most of us, our first visit to Morocco and the Atlas Mountains. What did we hope to find?

It didn’t take long to discover, for the Kasbah offers it all. It’s about a particular quality – of light, colour, texture, shape, sound, taste, movement – which sharpens your senses and enlivens your creativity.

Just hours after leaving England, we were up on the Kasbah’s panoramic roof terrace, painting Jbel Toubkal’s snow-capped peak towering above us. Below, a palette apparently limited to raw and burnt sienna:  the Berbers’ adobe houses merging with the mountain. But morning told a different tale. Our wonderful guide Abdou led us up ochre tracks between villages, past orchards in blossom underplanted with purple irises, rocks of subtle hues, through ancient walnut groves and chestnut woods.

We sketched shaggy brown goats, juniper-timbered village doorways, tagines aligned for sale, each topped with a fresh tomato, the Kasbah’s chip-carved lean-to by a wondrously weather-twisted table, our two mules with their well-worn stripey blankets and Fatha’s carpet shop where we learned about the motifs woven into the wool. We leapt across a cascading river, watched village women baking bread from ground barley, relished a perfect picnic in the valley and finally returned to the Kasbah for mint tea, delicious food and a relaxing hammam. As the evening cooled, we had handwoven djellabas, woodburning stoves, books from the little library and a warm spacious room ideal for more art teaching.

Days later, we drew the slanting shadows in the Marrakech souk, the alleyways of the Medina, life in the city. But it was the Kasbah that was calling us back. Come and join us next year.

Beginners and non-sketchers equally welcome.

Thanks for reading

Author: Steppes Travel