Burmese Days – Painting George Orwell
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! <<<>>>