Arabian Sketchbook

Quick Sketches over a 30 year period in the UAE and  Gulf Region

Abu Dhabi Hilton Beach Club looking back towards the City


Pencil Sketch

At that time in 2003, Abu Dhabi Dhabi was going through change. Shk Zayed PBUH, was ill and  there was a feeling of change. Shk Zayed was the person who's ideas back in the 1950/60s lead to the formation of the UAE from the fractured small Emirates that  made up the Arabian Gulf. His modern thinking made todays Metropilis possible.

I arrived in Dubai with a Theatre Co as The Designer and Production Manager in 1985. I was in my mid twenties.

We were perfomimg, ' Educating Rita', Dinner Theatre with full stage and lighting rig. The owner and lead actor was Derek Woodward, , no longer with us (no relation to Edward). My fellow crew man and experienced

rigger, theatre jack of all and best friend, was a guy called Malcolm McInnes.  Hailing from Dundee he became a very respectable event Production Manager. We have many a tale to tell, not least the bomb in Sri Lanka that kicked off the Tamil thing. That happened a year later on the second Cafe Theatre World Tour,' The Odd Couple'. Neither of us had ever heard of Dubai but after a month in Turnam Green, London rehearsing, we flew out to Dubai

Jebel Ali Beach before palm 2. Looking back towards the resort. Small dwelling with a wind tower


Pencil Sketch

I left Cafe Theatre in 1986 to become a singer / songwriter / recording artist. I had signed a record deal for two albums, to be written and performed by myself and my band. In order to deliver the first album we spent three weeks in Universal Recording Studios (Now sadly gone) but situated in Sidcup, South London. We recorded in 1987 when the hurricane hit. After a long day's recording and a boozy evening we came down to breakfast to find an oak tree in the breakfast restaurant

Malcolm, who was now my roadie and personal assistant was still putting up with me and does to this day, from a distance. Clintons of London drew up the deal and by the 1990s, it was over. In order to raise cash, I decided that gigging in the Gulf would be a  good idea. We were offered a gig in the Sherton Hotel, Damascus. Thinking it would be glitzy like Dubai. Wrong. It was a dangerous place

We were escorted by UN guys everywhere. Burnt out tanks and holes in burnt out buildings . You we told not to eat salad, so when i did it was no surprise that i became very ill. We had to leave ( wait for the book for the details ) Eventually we were offered a Gig in Fujeriah, Where? I hear you cry. Yes, us too. One of the UAE States on the East Coast where the beaches have  brown sand from the Mountains. It was beautiful before the tourists. Not a soul for miles.

Abu Dhabi Marina Mall view 


Pencil Sketch

We played at the Hilton Hotel and entertained the US troops based at the airport and off shore on the carriers. They were all there because of the first Gulf War. 'Bombed Out', T shirts for sale everwhere. By this time myself and my pro singer wife Suzanne, were a Hi Tech Duo. One of the first to use 'Midi' based set ups. Backing sequencers and guitar. It was a living and allowed me to paint and sketch during the day.

 That was a blessing when touring. Eventually we moved to the Novotel, Centre Hotel in Abu Dhabi and as it turned out it became a regular haunt for Suzanne and I for over twenty years. At this stage I could bang on about pro touring but it takes us away from the Gulf to Japan and other countries were we performed to large crowds and club tours but it's not relevant. Anyway you don't want to hear about the Prodigy (below us on the bill ) and Tokyo Dome.Avex Rave 94.

No it's not relevant to these sketches. Just to say we were blessed by see the World and to make music for a living.

The turn of the Century ssaw Su and I in Shanghai and then  Nagoya, where we saw in 2001

Next stop was the Centre Hotel Abu Dhabi again. Which brings us full circle. That is where this collection started. All sketches and painting are  from 2001 to 2004 whe I hung up the 'Axe' and started a 3D design venture in Media City , Dubai.

Palm Island, From Open Beach,  Dubai. UAE.


Watercolour Sketch

Al Maha View Towards Hajar Mountains From Presidentian Suite


Conte sketch. New Year's Day 2006

Open Beach Jumeriah 2004, Dubai, UAE. Sunbathing.


Pencil Sketch

Marina Mall from the Hilton Beach Club and The Cornice, Abu Dhabi, UAE


Watercolour Sketch.

Satwa Mosque from the Rear of the Crowne Plaza Hotel,  Shk Zayed Rd. Dubai. UAE


Graphite stick Sketch 2003

The Burj Al Arab Hotel from the  open beach. Dubai, UAE.


Pencil Sketch

Suzanne Sun Bathing - Beach Club Abu Dhabi. UAE.


Pencil Sketch

Palm Island dredgers, Jumeriah Open Beach, Dubai, UAE.


Pencil Sketch

 Mosque and minaret Can't remember location. Abu Dhabi, UAE.


Pencil sketch

Burj Al Arab, Open Beach Dubai. UAE


Ink & Wash

Thompson Gazelle. Al Maha Desert Resort. Dubai, UAE.


Pencil & Watercolour


The Omani Desert, Looking towards Al Ain. Al Maha Desert Resort. UAE


Watercolour quick study.