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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BB Hardback plus jacket
  • Publication: 09 May 2022
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782217299
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 216x280 mm
  • Illustrations: 300
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: £25.00
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David Bellamy's Arabian Light


An artist’s journey through deserts, mountains and souks by David Bellamy

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Book Description

Explore the deserts, mountains and souks of the Middle East, with best-selling author and artist David Bellamy.

Following on from David’s highly acclaimed Arctic Light, this book provides an intriguing and often entertaining insight into South Arabia and the Swahili Coast, Jordan, Lebanon and Oman. It describes the history, culture, customs and geography of the region and the daily life of its inhabitants, as viewed through the eyes of a world-renowned watercolour artist and life-long adventurer. Filled with personal anecdotes and humour, David Bellamy’s unique account shines a light on the Middle East and highlights the incredible beauty and fascinating culture of this much-neglected region.

David’s stunning artwork, that he painted during his various expeditions, features throughout the book and captures perfectly the diverse and majestic nature of the region. Watercolourists will be inspired by the author’s awe-inspiring ability to depict sweeping vistas and create a sense of space in his paintings, and to capture the very essence of a place through his art.

Table of Contents

South Arabia & the Swahili Coast
Gilf Kebir Expedition
Painting in hot places
Select bibliography

About the Author

About David Bellamy

David Bellamy has always been fascinated by the world's wild places. Highly regarded as a teacher of art, he has a tremendous following among leisure painters, many of whom have attended his extremely popular courses and workshops both in the UK and overseas. He gives demonstrations and talks, produces successful DVDs, has written many books on watercolour painting and is a regular contributor to art magazines. David lives in Builth Wells, Wales.


The Arist

David Bellamy is fast establishing himself as a travel writer of the very finest quality. His publishing career began that way, of course, with The Wild Place of Britain, but this and his Arctic book are of a different order altogether. If you think the Middle East is all about glass skyscrapers and sand, think again. There are mountains, gorges and landscapes of breathtaking beauty as well as villages, markets, and above all, the people David meets on his travels. There's light and colour too, but this is a narrative that's told through words as well as pictures, with eloquent descriptions, narrative and anecdote complementing the images of stunning quality that the production here does full justice to. It's easy to dimiss the Middle East as perhaps of only passing interest, but tour de force makes it clear that it's a region whose beauty and variety should not be ignored.

Paint Magazine (SAA)

If you thought the Middle East was just about sand and glass skyscrapers, think again. David Bellamy is one of the best travel guides around and he introduces a world thats filled with variety, colour and spectacle. As well as being an accomplished painter, David is a very capable writer and his career as a popular teacher has always been punctuated by books that absolutely capture the character and essence of a place.

Here, he describes and illustrates the landscapes, culture, history and people of a region that will probably be unfamiliar to many. David works in a variety of weather and lighting conditions. He also finds the hidden corners as well as the wide vistas and includes traditional buildings and boats, as well as mountains, monuments and busy markets. Above all, he meets and talks to the people, learning about legend and tradition and bringing to life a world that teems with animation.

The book is written as a journey and we learn about all corners of this fascinating area, as well as some of the practical aspects of painting in hot places how to deal with washes that dry too quickly, blinding glare, suitable palettes and quite simply the etiquette of working with people to whom you are a complete stranger.

Merely describing facts can be as dry as an empty oasis, but David is a canny narrator and hell take you with him on a journey of discovery thats full of colour and light as well as stories and anecdotes, many of them more than a little amusing.

When I knew this was coming up, I wasnt at all sure what I was going to say about it: my interest in the Middle East was limited at best. But David has converted me. Im more of an armchair traveller and I have every intention of reading this from cover to cover.

SAA Catalogue

David Bellamy is a master of travelogue. Take a journey with him here into a world that will be unfamiliar to many, but which presents riches for both the artist and the enquiring mind.

In this enthralling book, he explores a wide area of the Middle East, examining landscapes, buildings and settlements. He meets its people and explains much of its history, illustrating both wide vistas and intimate corners. Although not a traditional tuitional book, the secret to its success is the symbiosis of words and pictures, for David is a compelling writer as well as a master of watercolour and drawing. While many travel books have a tension between the writer and the illustrator, here you are in the same sympathetic hands throughout.

David's work is often dramatic, and there is indeed drama here, but also quiet views and corners. Above all, there is light, for the region is about so much more than sand and deserts and presents broad skies, varying weather and deep shadows in both towns and mountains.

This is an eye-opening book, filled with beauty, information and anecdote that satisfies the enquiring and creative mind in every way.


If you thought the Middle East was just sand and showy ziggurats, think again. David Bellamy has always been a travel writer at heart and this book explores the spirit of a region the West often dismisses. His skill lies in finding the hidden corners that define the character of a place rather than its public faces and spaces. He also explores the life of the region through its people as they go about their daily lives; again, these are things done for practical purposes rather than public show. Thus, we get a quiet corner of Cairo at night (David doesnt completely eschew the larger settlements), the eerie light of midday heat among the rocks of a wadi (a dry valley), where scale is provided by middle-ground figures. At the same time, David also visits Petra and Abu Simbel, somehow managing either to avoid the crowds, or at least edit them out. These results typify his ability to capture atmosphere in words as well as pictures with an assuredness that betokens both familiarity and understanding.

David is no wide-eyed first-time tourist, and the book tells the stories of several journeys, giving each section an effective narrative arc, for he is also a master storyteller whose words and pictures are part of a whole, rather than one being an adjunct to another. Travel books are often separated between a writer and a photographer whose visions are even if subtly different. As a result, you look at the pictures as one piece of the jigsaw and the words as another, the illustrations being a counterpoint to what you are told. When the author is an artist, the images are not necessarily a blindly faithful record, but rather an assemblage that captures both the essence of the scene and the impression it made on the painter. That eerie light would be almost impossible to capture with a camera, but responds perfectly to the subtle hues and granulation of watercolour.

The overall impression of this beautiful book is of the narrative arc I referred to before. Its the story not just of a journey, but of a place and its people and David has done it supreme justice.

Leisure Painter

Following Bellamy's highly acclaimed Arctic Light, this book goes to the other extreme in terms of heat, with a fascinating look at South Arabia, the Swahili Coast, Jordan, Lebanon and Oman. With his usual humour and personal insight, David creates a unique account in words and beautifully captured watercolour and sketches, of this ancient region, its history, culture, customs and geography. There's plenty to inspire the watercolourist here with a dedicated chapter and practical advice on capturing the essence of place and working in the heat with a fast-drying medium.

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