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The art of producing a painting with Batool Riyadh

Published on September 24, 2021

Batool Riyadh is a new recruit in RSK’s Middle East team, working as a social field assistant and administrator in the Iraq office.

An avid photographer and artist, Batool reveals some of her exquisite artwork and tells us how she turns her ideas into inspired designs.

“I try to draw for between 5 and 15 hours a week, but I often find myself drawing when I feel like it or when I don’t have ‘art block’,” says Batool. “One of the dangers of having limited time is that I will often go for days without drawing anything.”

Batool tends to favour oil paintings on canvas, as she says the oil paint has a more realistic feel, as oil gives extra depth in colour to make it visually enticing.

“The hardest part is having an amazing idea, then turning that idea into an inspired design,” she explains. “Producing the painting (that is, putting the paint on the canvas) isn’t a piece of cake either, but that seems to flow once the first part is nailed down. For those who do not practise painting, hyperrealism and photorealism are often considered the most difficult styles to master, due to the wow factor. Personally, I am not a huge fan of spending hundreds of tedious hours trying to get the perfect colour and perspective in a painting.”

Most of Batool’s ideas for new paintings come to her randomly and she has to write them down immediately, “because I’m likely to forget if I don’t!”

But inspiration can be sparked from everything: from a movie, a book, a photo or even an interesting turn of phrase.

“Over time, drawing and the skills involved deter negative emotions and provide pleasure and happiness for me,” admits Batool, who believes that drawing boosts her self-esteem and inspires her to reach new levels of skill.

“My main goal for myself is to be able to support myself exclusively by making art,” she says. “ In ten years, I’ll be older and wiser and the only thing that is certain is that I’ll have evolved as a person and as an artist.

“Other than that, I can’t really say; life is a surprise, and I am painting more than at any other time in my life. As you get older, you feel that you have to leave something behind to say ‘I was here’ and I see myself surrounded by art. My large, comfortable home and studio is an ever-changing world of art,” she adds.

Who is Batool’s favourite artist?

“Gustav Klimt. He has produced a lot of iconic pieces of art, and he has created a lot of famous and brightly coloured pieces. He placed an great emphasis on femininity and female sexuality; I love many of his works, but The Kiss is still my favourite.”

As for which of her own paintings she has a soft spot for, Batool explains that her favourite was painted under the title “Freedom”, in Iraq, on 25 October 2019.

“The meaning of it was that the youth of Iraq offered themselves for freedom, peace and to claim their rights, but they faced death in exchange for the peace they brought,” she explained.

Check out some of Batool’s paintings below.

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Batool Riyadh

Social Field Assistant, RSK Middle East

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Batool is a social field assistant and administrator in the RSK Iraq office. She conducts community and official authority engagement with project stakeholders.

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