Saturday, May 20, 2023



This is an abstracted version of the view from my balcony. It's like a notch within a notch. And it lines up pretty much due East, very "Neolithic geomancy" and watch the sunsets evolve from day to day.

I've been here for 16 years but only recently began setting up a comfortable chair to watch the sunset each night. Then I realised how well the view was framed, stepping in as the distance increases to the pylons of a major power line, three kilometers away.

All because there is an empty lot behind us. I guess the owners of that site were hit by 2008 and pulled out before even fencing it off. Sadly it's not quite aligned with Burj Khalifa. Not far off though.

I am coming to appreciate this view. At first glance tacky, but once you see it as framing a view corridor and ever changing sky it begins to develop a special charm.



Change is our portion now. That was my favourite hymn in my mid to late teens, probably because I was already changing. Not so much losing my faith as finding other ideas. In our youth we welcome the maelstrom. Blow winds blow.

I've gone through the changes in my short life : student, dropout, bricklayer, teacher, curriculum developer, architect... by hand, then CAD, then BIM. Now in hybrid retirement mode, still working but also pursuing my passions.

This is the second iteration of my balcony view, a keyhole within a keyhole, with a nod to the Revit concept of a "callout" It may become a physical painting on the wall of my flat. I have enjoyed having reminders of the balcony experience inside and taking a lightweight IKEA armchair out on the balcony during the day.

Inside/outside, my world extends to the power lines 3km away without leaving my private domain. What is beauty? Maybe it's an emotional response to the everyday, a radical acceptance of reality. Think Cezanne still life, apples in a bowl with visible brush strokes. Real without being photographic.


I have been mapping myself this morning, in Revit.🙄

More specifically this is further progress on my Balcony View project. Building a crude map of Dubai to set up the context and planning the basic triptych of paintings, progressively zooming in from a starting point that shows my legs on the balcony as I enjoy the view.

Eventually the middle canvas may come in several flavours, reflecting the changing sky. It's a west facing view, so sunsets will feature. I'm hoping this project will help me to feel more anchored in the world, as I sip my tea or coffee for however long the ferocity of the sun allows.

The first half of the morning is always in shadow, and sunsets tame the sun in myriad delightful ways as everyone knows.

The paintings will hang on the west wall of my living room, further developing the inside /outside dynamic that architects love so much.


Purple Haze on a sultry Dubai night. A melange of sounds drifting up from the street. The day's work done.

To some extent it's therapy. Manipulating images, looking for happy accidents. But the bigger picture is building up ideas for a painting project. Or perhaps not.

Maybe the biggest picture is about strengthening my roots in this desert soil. I spend much of my time thinking about buildings spread widely across time and space. That's all good but it's also important to turn the gaze inwards sometimes. 


We can't all live in mansions with breathtaking views. But we can take the time to look deeper, see our surroundings with an artist's eye, deepen our love for the little things all around us.

Life is a wonderful thing. Enjoy it's blessings while you can.





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