Flora Fauna Design Workshop!  

February 10, 2014 § 5 Comments

An apprentice with her finished piece featuring a small swallow and an Gangaw flower (Ironwood), native to Burma.

Apprentice with her piece featuring a swallow and a flower native to Burma, the Gangaw.

The first drawing / design workshop related to the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna series went really well! Today, I’d like to share some photos and stories from that workshop, as well as some more visuals from my life here in Mae Sot.

As a reminder, the artwork shown in this post is all student work– the images for the final print series will be designed and drawn by my hand alone.

Student drawing with a brush and sumi ink.

Student drawing with a brush and sumi ink.

Students working on preparatory thumbnail sketches.

Working on thumbnail sketches (small scale, preparatory drawings).

Sharing sumi ink.

Sharing sumi ink.

Workshop – With the translation help of my talented artist friend Sein Sein Lin, I was able to conduct my first workshop with the apprentices at the Puzzlebox Art Studio. Sein Sein Lin is a teacher who has an incredible gift for language, a sunny disposition, and a great sense of humor.

Burmese artist Sein Sein Lin gives guidance with a design composition.

Burmese artist Sein Sein Lin gives guidance with a design composition.

As a starting point, I asked the students to base their compositions off of the prints of the Japanese artist Hokusai. As they worked, SSL and I gave them individual guidance as each student is at a different skill level.

A photo of myself giving constructive feedback.

Who’s ready for some constructive feedback?

Overall the workshop was positive and fun! It was a challenging exercise for the students– and for myself it was a good re-introduction to teaching. Later in the week we worked on individual training, and enjoyed a day of epic deep cleaning and organizing at the Puzzlebox.

A student with his finished ink drawing from the workshop.

A student with his finished ink drawing from the workshop.

Lost in Translation - Below is a short excerpt from a group discussion from the workshop. This passage illustrates how meaning can get lost in translation (with a bit of cultural comedy).

Me: What are Burma’s most iconic animals?

Student 1: Cat. 

Me: Hmmm, yes, but what I mean is- what are the the most iconic, meaning: famous, popular, or cherished animals? 

Student 1: …

Sein Sein Lin (SSL): She likes cats. 

Me: Ok. What other animals are cherished in Burma? 

Student 2: Water Buffalo.

Me: Yes! Good one. What else?

Student 3: 

SSL: Lions.

Me: There are lions in Burma?

SSL: Yes, lions are very famous animals in Burma– we have them in the zoo.

Me: Oh, haha, yes. I mean: famous animals native to Burma, like the tiger. What about turtles? Turtles are cool. Do you like turtles?

SSL: Oh, yes, we love turtles! 

Me: Nice.

SSL: We love to eat them.

Me: Oh… right.

So, people everywhere like cats, and turtles make for good soup. It’s good to be reminded that different cultures value different things.

Also, interesting, Sein Sein Lin said that Burma had nothing like a National Geographic magazine. So, it wasn’t until foreigners starting visiting Burma and then later publishing their photographs from the mountains and jungles that people really knew what kind of wildlife was inside its borders.

These plants boast leaves as long as my torso.

These plants boast leaves as long as my torso.

Thailand – This past week I had a mysterious fever that came and went, and found a dead, venomous snake in our yard.

I’ve begun my drawing and concepting process for the Flora Fauna print series and am truly excited about where it’s headed. I’ll have some images from that process to share with you soon! Thank you all for your continued support!

A beautiful little moth with a false eye marking on its wing to fool predators.

A beautiful little moth with a false eye marking on its wing to fool predators.

I’ve been steadily collecting beautiful objects and artifacts to paint as still lives in my on-going oil series, Objects and Oddities from the thai-Burma Border.

I’ve been steadily collecting beautiful objects and artifacts to paint as still lives in my on-going oil series, Objects and Oddities from the Thai-Burma Border.

A friendly mechanic helped me with some tire trouble.

A friendly mechanic helped me with some bicycle trouble.

The tops of many walls here are adorned with D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) spikes made of broken glass bottles, cemented pointed side up.  Ouch- no climbing!

The tops of many walls here are adorned with D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) spikes made of broken glass bottles, cemented into the wall sharp side up. Ouch! No climbing!

The sun sinks behind the mountains in Burma across the border.

The sun sinks behind the mountains in Burma across the border.

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§ 5 Responses to Flora Fauna Design Workshop!  

  • Liza Paizis says:

    What a joy to read this post, Mike! It’s so exciting that you are there; your passion for this beautiful country and its amazing people is very apparent. I cannot wait to see the artwork all of you produce :)

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thank you, Liza! I appreciate the supportive comment from you, and hope that art making is going well. I’m happy to finally be back here, and am feeling a bit torn between the two worlds I live in.

  • Liza Paizis says:

    The art making is going well, thanks Mike. I understand that feeling of existing between two worlds; it can be confusing…..just enjoy these precious moments, and keep creating !

  • jackbaumgartner says:

    It is nice to see you looking professorial over there in Thailand, Mikey. And that is a great shot of the fellow repairing your tire. Thanks for giving such a broad spectrum of your life right now.

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thanks, buddy. I appreciate the comment from you. I wish you could have been there today. Good workshop, great student work, good feelings. Hope you are well!

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