November 20, 2013 § 4 Comments
As you may know, Kickstarter projects only raise their funding if they meet their minimum pledged goal by the deadline. I have until December 6th (16 days from today) to raise my funding goal of $4,000. Any help spreading the word will directly support handmade art!
For a pledge of only $25 you can choose your favorite print from the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna series, once complete. That’s a great price for handmade art.
Pictured above is an example from my previous series about the flora and fauna of California. It is a print of a hare native to California paired with the California poppy, the Christmas beetle, and the silhouette of Mt. Shasta (all things found in the state California).
The Thailand Burma Flora Fauna series will be similar to this print, but the themes will reflect both the iconic and the little known natural treasures of Thailand and Burma.
I will be giving intensive drawing / design workshops with the apprentices at the Puzzlebox Art Studio in Mae Sot, Thailand. These workshops will help to determine which plants, animals, landscapes, and monuments will make the best designs for new artwork. This process will also help to create new images and designs to be made into products for the Puzzlebox to use to sustain itself.
When I return to Portland after five months of volunteering, I will choose the eight most dynamic images that I come up with to make into this new series of prints. What is unique about this project is that you can be a part of the process and watch the series unfold through email updates and blog posts, before choosing your favorite print! Sounds fun, right?
Thank you all for your support!
October 14, 2013 § 18 Comments
Opium, Tea, Lemon and Chili, Mae Salong (2013) is the seventh still life painting in an ongoing series called Objects and Oddities from the Thai-Burma Border. For me this piece is about a lot of things, but particularly it is about being in the right place at the right time, and incorporating more of the serendipity and chance encounters from life into my artwork.
About the Painting
The painting includes a lemon, a spicy Thai chili from my summer garden, a tea cup, and a photograph. The day I found the small tea cup featured in this painting I was in what was to become one of my favorite places in Thailand, a remote mountain town called Doi Mae Salong, also known as Santikhiri, Thailand. That same day while on a hike on a high mountain road outside of Mae Salong, I took the featured photograph of a valley and a Buddhist temple with the mountains of Burma rising behind it.
History of Mae Salong, Thailand
Doi Mae Salong has a fascinating history. It was founded by China’s “Lost Army”. The Lost Army was made of Nationalist soldiers of the Republic of China Army, who along with their families fled Yunnan, China in 1949 rather than surrender to the Communist Army. They first fought their way into the jungles of Burma, but eventually found themselves up in the remote mountains of Thailand, where they became heavily involved in the opium trade. These days, the opium has been replaced with tea plantations.
Often, I start a painting with a pencil drawing to get the composition roughed in, and then add a first thin glaze, or ground, which will be painted over in layers of oil paint to come. This initial ground informs the rest of the painting and affects the overall hue of the piece. It was a lot of fun to paint this one– honestly, I could spend all day every day painting smoky little landscapes.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment! <<<>>>
August 26, 2013 § 13 Comments
I’m currently working on a painting of a monkey skull, a small Buddha statue, and George Orwell’s passport photo from his time in Burma in the 1920’s. After reading Orwell’s Burmese Days (1934) I was moved to honor him in oil and include his portrait in my series of still life paintings: Objects and Oddities from the Thai-Burma Border.
In a lot of ways Burmese Days was a difficult book for me to get through, particularly because the subject matter is dense with racism. But Orwell’s gift for description made it all worth while, including beautifully written passages like, “The egrets that roosted in the palms were streaming homewards over the treetops like white flights of arrows.”
I’m rereading a book called Culture Shock! Thailand (1982) which is far more interesting after having lived there, as I now actually understand what the authors are talking about. The text is a bit dated and pretty tongue in cheek, but all in all it’s a very informative read.
According to the authors there was a famous ghost named Nang Nak Prah Khanong (aka Lady Nak) who used to haunt the Sukhumvit area in Bangkok. Thankfully she was tricked into entering Wat Mahabutr (a Buddhist Temple) on Soi On Nut and her evil powers were diminished. “Fortunately, no ghost exists without its anti-ghost.” Whew!
Lastly, we’ve been enjoying some cool, rainy days here in Portland, Oregon. My garden is flush with vegetables– especially tomatoes and basil which has led to a great pesto bounty. My sunflowers were recently mysteriously ravaged, and I finally discovered the culprits to be a family of Blue Jays. I’ve since harvested the sunflowers to dry out the seeds, but left a last large stalk and flower for the Blue Jays to finish eating. Who am I bum out a family of birds?
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment! <<<>>>
August 18, 2013 § 18 Comments
Earlier this month I enjoyed a packed trip home to Ithaca, New York where I attended three weddings in a single week, two of which were same-sex marriages– hurrah for New York!
I spent full days drawing on the banks of Cayuga Lake as well as in the gardens and pastures of friends. The east coast summer nights were great– garden salads for dinner, humidity, cicadas, and I even watched the Perseid meteor shower from a dock on the lake.
Back in Portland, Oregon, I am busy working in my studio on several pieces simultaneously, including the sixth still life painting of objects from the Thai-Burma border. The painting features a 1920′s passport photograph of a young George Orwell from his time serving with the British Imperial Police in Burma.
Thanks for reading! <<<>>>
July 29, 2013 § 9 Comments
Recently, I’ve been focusing on a series of still lives based on objects and oddities I brought back from the Thai-Burma border. I’m currently beginning work on the sixth painting, and wanted to pause and share some images of the first piece in the series.
It depicts a small ceramic statue of a baby tiger made by a Thai ceramicist that I found in the northern city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was painted over a couple of weeks in mostly soft evening light.
My priority with this work was practicing a traditional oil glazing technique to create soft shifts in light and tones. What made this particular work especially challenging was depicting a high fire ceramic glaze. (I love painting.)
It is my intention to show these paintings and to use the sale of which to partially supplement my return to Thailand in early 2014 to resume my work with migrant youth from Burma at the Puzzlebox Art Studio.
Currently on my nightstand is Guy Delisle’s Jerusalem which I am enjoying quite a bit. I recently finished George Orwell’s Burmese Days and I highly recommend it.
Thanks for reading! <<<>>>
July 14, 2013 § 11 Comments
Summer. The air is warm, the sun is hot, and the nights are breezy and cool. The past few weeks have been filled to the brim– I’ve been painting, practicing meditation, taking photographs, lovingly toiling in my garden, and reading a handful of brilliant books like George Orwell’s Burmese Days.
With my painting I have been working on a series of still lives based on objects I brought back from the Thai-Burma border. It is my intention to use the sale of these paintings to partially supplement my return to Thailand in early 2014 to resume my work with migrant youth from Burma at the Puzzlebox Art Studio.
Here are some recent images from my summer so far.
Thanks for reading! <<<>>>
Thanks for reading! <<<>>>
May 20, 2013 § 8 Comments
This week I wanted to share about a small ceramic piece I made while living on the Thai-Burma border.
It features a portrait of the musician Connie Converse who mysteriously disappeared in 1974. If you love pretty melodies and witty lyrics do yourself a favor . . . you can listen to her beautiful songs and buy her album here.
My friend David Herman of Squirrel Things Recordings remastered Connie’s music and put out this outstanding album of songs that she recorded in New York City in 1950’s. I was involved with the project when photographer Sarah Wilmer and I had the honor of making the Connie Converse album artwork.
When I was living in Thailand I found myself listening to Connie’s music quite a bit. I had made some drawings of her and thought it might be fun to make David and his lady, the painter Sayaka Nagata, a small keepsake of Connie for their shelf. (Check out Sayaka’s painting of Connie Converse!)
Here are some images of the process. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment!
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment!