Tag Archives: beauty of Oman

“Mystical Oman”

Under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Tarik Al Said, Bait Muzna Gallery cordially invites you to:  “Bait Muzna Gallery invites two British actors to capture the unique mystical beauty of the Sultanate of Oman through the lens of photographer Malcolm MacGregor and the watercolours of Alan Reed.  The Sultanate of Oman’s unique beauty with its diverse landscapes has inspired people to put pen and watercolor to paper, oil to canvas or cameras in ones hands.  It seems everywhere you turn, there are vibrant colors and smiling faces of those out enjoying the quiet atmosphere of this serene country.  The wild and mystical places of Oman offer a unique sense of timelessness and solitude, a rare thing in the world today, which both Malcolm McGregor and Alan Reed have recognised during their first visits to Oman.  Malcolm Mac Gregor explores the wonders of the Sultanate and captures photographs of undeniably unique landscapes and coerce them into revealing depth, thoughtfulness, beauty and poetry, whereas Alan Reed reflects and expresses the same through his watercolors.”  Alan Reed was born in Northumberland, into a family with a history of painting.  He fell in love with watercolour, arguably the most difficult of all mediums to master, at the age of 15.  Since then, he has studied the work of the great exponents of watercolour and has developed a style that is very distinctive.  To own an “Alan Reed” original watercolour is to have a piece of artwork that truly is unique.  No two originals can ever be identical as it is impossible to create the freshness and spontaneity of each individual wash.  Some brush marks are carefully thought out, others almost instinctive, the result of 25 years experience.  Since his first exhibition in 1981, Alan has built up a loyal following of faithful admirers of his paintings, which have become increasingly collectable.  A recent accolade has been the inclusion of is paintings in the new book, “Landscapes in Watercolour” by Theodora Philcox, an inspirational book which features the work of 23 leading watercolourists from around the world.  Alan Reed has been exhibiting and taking commissions for more than three decades.  His work has become increasingly collectable and is widely represented internationally through private collectors and corporate commissions.”  Alan Reed’s “Sunset Walk, Oman” (Giclee Print) RO 49 (15X10 watercolour is RO 195)  Alan Reed’s “Sunset from Wadi Darbat” (Watercolour) 40X30 RO 950  Alan Reed’s “Muttrah Corniche” (Watercolour) 35X25 RO 540  Alan Reed’s “Evening Fishing Qurm’” (Watercolour) 30X20 RO 480  Alan Reed’s “Qalhat, Qurm” (Watercolour) 20X20cm, early 2010  Alan Reed’s “Grand Mosque, Last Light” (Watercolour) 53X35cm early 2010 1500 RO  Alan Reed’s “Saluki Sunrise” (Watercolour) 30X23cm early 2010 480 RO  Alan Reed’s “Dhows, Afternoon Delight” (Watercolour) 30X23cm early 2010 (70X50 cms costs RO2750)  Alan Reed’s “Bilat Sayt” (Watercolour) 29.5cmX21cm painted in 2009  Malcolm MacGregor is a landscape photographer, based in Scotland, who specialises in photographing the more remote regions of the world.  He has travelled to many countries on assignment including Afghanistan, Africa, Asia, Georgia, the Balkans, Brittany, Iceland and the Hebridean Islands of Scotland.  But it is to Oman that he returns time and time again.  In fact, his photographic life has very much been tied up with Oman over the past ten years.  In 2000, he began photographing for his book “Wilderness Oman” made over a two year period tapping into the eclectic mix of desert, mountain and coastal landscapes from the isolated Musandam Peninsula in the north to the Empty Quarter in the south.  His genre is wilderness landscape photography, searching out aspects of nature that are unusual and off the beaten track.  Since then, he has returned almost on a yearly basis, in pursuit of Omani light.  He has witnessed many golden moments where mountains and coastline are transformed by the rising sun for a few  brief moments, before the light becomes too harsh.  It is this transformative period at dawn and dusk that he tries to capture on camera.  He has produced a portfolio “Light Over Oman” and most recently a photographic study comprising some 60 photographs called “Oman: Eloquence and Eternity”.  His work has been reviewed in many photographic magazines, such as Amateur Photographer and Outdoor Photography, Oman Today and the Oman Daily Observer.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, an Associate of the British Institute for Professional Photography and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.  The landscape photographs in this exhibition have been made over the past ten years, many of which have not been seen until now.”  The beautiful Bait Muzna Gallery.  Exhibtions are usually displayed on the top floor while prints and all kinds of artwork from local and international artists are displayed on the ground floor.  Malcolm MacGregor’s “Juniper Tree on Al Jabal Al Akhdar” (Oman, 2007, Limited to 9 Editions)  Malcolm MacGregor’s “Aeolianite Rock, Ramlat Al Wahaybah” (Oman, 2004, Limited to 9 Editions)  48X60cm RO 230  Malcolm MacGregor’s “The Coast Near Hadbin, Dhofar” (Oman 2002, Limited to 9 Editions)  Malcolm MacGregor’s “Turquoise Sea Near Yitti” (Photograph Edition 2/9 48X60cm RO 230)

Only 2 weeks left of this incredible art exhibition. (Now extended to May 8th!!!)  Get down there while you can and see/buy some amazing art!

Visit to Masirah – Oman’s Largest Island

  A nice view of Hilf Harbour from a hill overlooking the wharf.  Check out the satellite map here!  This fishing boat has been designed to look like an old dhow but has all the modern necessities for life at sea.  I love this photo of a local Omani fisherman on break.  My student, Sulaiman, taking a dip at Hilf seaport.  (A military communication tower overlooking the harbour)  Parts of Masirah Island (the southern half, I believe) are off limits due to the military presence there.  Sulaiman and his uncle, Said, who was kind enough to prepare us a delicious meal called “Kabooly” which is mainly made of chicken and rice.  The tourist map (only in Arabic) of Masirah island which is located just in front of Serabis Hotel.  The island is 95 kms long and 4-16 kms wide with an asphalt road along the coastal border.  Wildlife includes 4 types of turtles that nest on its beaches, deer, wild rabbits and flamingoes.  There were so many crabs along the eastern coast of the island just before sunset.  If we had a bucket, they would have been SO easy to catch…Here‘s a short video of this crab in motion.  Crab in Arabic is “saratan” which can also mean “cancer” as in the disease of the body.  Local island dwellers collecting firewood   Here’s a video of us on a tiny island along Masirah’s eastcoast that we were only able to walk to due to the low tide at the time.  Listen for the clicking or popping sound of crabs walking along the beach rocks.   Sulaiman getting water from the shaikh’s well.  The shaikh is less responsible and ranks under the title of “wali” (like “mayor”?) of the island.  This sign (in Arabic) reads, “Dear natives and tourists, do not swim in this area because of strong water currents.”  ?!  Hello! A sign in English would ne nice! Imagine if some tourist who doesn’t speak Arabic (like myself) comes here without an Arabic speaker.  That could seriously spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R!!!  This shipwreck on the east coast is pretty interesting!  Here’s a quick video.  If you are curious to know what sunrise is like on Masirah Island, click here!  This is probably a better video of the rising sun on the eastern coast of Masirah. (especially after the 6:50 mark)  This is a large dallah or ancient Omani coffeepot that is located on the western coast near Serabis Hotel. (“Serabis” is the ancient name of Masirah.)  Another short scene here.  Yours truly in Hilf, Masirah.  One last look back on Masirah Island as the ferry heads for Shannah seaport on the mainland of Oman.  Here’s a short video of the island from the ferry.

Al Naseem Public Park, Barka, Oman

  This park, also known as Naseem Gardens, is about a 20 minute drive (30 kms) from the Muscat International Airport, on the right hand side of the road, driving towards Sohar.  Al Naseem Park was the 1st park established in Oman.  It was first opened to the public during the 15th National Day in 1985.  The park is spread over 750,000 square meters.  There used to be a train that could carry up to 70 passengers but the train no longer runs.  The park itself seemed like it could be much better if it were more properly maintained.  Nice looking pond! But I read about a sad scene that happened here 7 years ago: http://www.rop.gov.om/english/newsdetails1.asp?catgid=1&newsid=175&dispyear=2002  In 2000, this small Japanese Garden was added to the Al Naseem Public Park . Built by the Japanese embassy in Muscat, the park was constructed to commemorate the good relationship that these two countries shared.  Al Naseem Park is pleasant enough but I’m not sure if it’s really worth the trip out from Muscat.  It is, however, a nice place to check out while driving through to different destinations.  Popular as a local family picnic site and a spot for Omani boys to practice their football skills, Al Naseem remains a landmark in the Wilayat (district) of Barka.

More of the Beauty of Wadi Shab!

wild flowers  Another wonderful pic from Harmen! (He gets full credit!)  This beautiful plant is known as “Sodom’s Apple” (Calotropis procera) From Oman Offroad: “Growing in sandy desert, this shrub occasionally reaches tree height and is common in overgrazed areas because goats and camels do not like eating the white latex that it produces.  The large leaves are covered with fine white hairs that create a moisture-retaining microclimate close to the surface of the leaf.  The fruits resemble squat bananas (not apple-shaped like those of the similar plant in North Africa) and contain thousands of seeds that are attached to long silken threads, enabling them to be carried far and wide by the wind when ripe.  The wood was once used to make charcoal for the production of gunpowder. (Arabic name: “ashar”)wadi shab beautypalm and waterfalls  Not the best photo of some waterfalls along the path towards the natural swimming pools at Wadi Shab.  Depending on when you go, there can be some really incredible scenes of water coming off the mountains I hear.omani boy and donkey  A local Omani boy and his donkey.  When I asked him for a photo, he demanded a small amount of money.  YES, I paid him.  You’d think he’d stop scratching his ear for a moment seeing how I paid top dollar for this picture, ha!ha!  :-)wadi and waterwater trinkle  A ” water fall trinkle” along the path.  The water oozing out of the rock kind of looks like oil, don’t you think?wadi scenefalaj in wadimighty mountainstoad in wadi  I first thought this was a “frog” but came to learn that there are no frogs in Oman!  “Of the two species of toad, this one, The Arabian Toad (Bufo orientalis), is the most common.  It lives in or near water and can survive long periods of drought by digging deep into the wadi gravel and staying in a state of torpor (inactivity) for many months or even years.  Tadpoles are a tasty titbit for many wild animals and after spring rains, wadi pools can hold thousands of them.” lizard in wadi  Check out that lizard!  Hard to see?  Ok, here’s a closeup for you!closeupoflizard  Jayakar’s Oman Lizard (Lacerta jakari)  “This is one of the two endemic lizards of the Hajar Mountains, and grows to a total length of 60cm, two-thirds of which consists of its tapering tail.  They live near water, often among the rocks that line the walls of a well in an oasis.  Since they are mainly active in the hot season and well camouflaged, they are not easily noticed!”  Oh, yeah, well you were noticed on this trip, little fella! :-)water flowingwadi swimming pool  What you don’t see on this post are pictures of the INCREDIBLE swimming area within a cave at Wadi Shab.  We had to leave our bags (including cameras) before entering.  I am planning on getting an underwater housing unit for my camera sometime soon…The underwater cavern (not pictured here) is one of the most incredible places I’ve been to so far in Oman!  If you have the chance to visit Wadi Shab from Muscat, it’s well worth the almost 2 hour drive and 1 hour hike to the “secret cavern pool” (and 1 hour to return…)!  Bring plenty of water, a swimming suit and shoes with solid threads (a good grip!) if you’re going to brave this hike.  Be warned that this is not a hike for the faint of heart.

Oman – An Artist’s Paradise!

lady painting  Here’s a lady I noticed painting a palm-tree scene here in Oman.  It made me wish that I had artistic abilities; the scenery can be so gorgeous here at times that I often wish I had the talent to put paint to canvas.  (But then that’s what my camera’s for, right?)   “Painting is poetry th’at is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”~Leonardo da Vincicanvas  “The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.”- Michelangelopainting away  This friendly Omani lady not only okayed this photograph but was pleased to be photographed! 

By the way, if you are interested in taking oil painting/drawing classes and you live in Muscat, the Daat Art Centre in Qurum is open every afternoon (24568049).  Who knows, you could find your artwork in Bait Munza or The Bait Al Baranda Museum someday!  :-)