TBFF on Etsy + Monotypes as a Learning Tool

December 15, 2014 § 2 Comments

Available linocut prints on Etsy.

A collection of available linocut prints.

TBFF on Etsy

It’s been a bustling week in my studio in the midst of the holiday season. If anyone would like to give an existing TBFF print as a gift this year, now is the time to order from my Etsy Shop so it can reach you before the holiday!

A shipment of work that went

Owls, snakes, elephants! This is an order of work that was shipped out today.

My Etsy shop is stocked with the first two linocut prints for the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project– the Camellia Kissi flower and baby Malayan Tapir! 

Plus one-of-a-kind monotypes featuring Asian elephants, moonlit Bagan, Burma landscapes, regal cats, and Thai Buddha statues.

Available Thailand Burma Flora Fauna prints listed on Etsy Shop!

Thailand Burma Flora Fauna prints are available listed on my Etsy Shop!

Also available are handmade linocuts of owls, moons, snakes, mushrooms, poppies, and a beautiful Atlas Moth carved by friend and artist Don Mackessy during the predecessor project to my Thailand Burma Flora Fauna Kickstarter— a collaborative effort to make imagery about the plants and animals of sunny California.

A linocut of the American Desert Hare (or Black Tailed Jackrabbit) and a California Poppy.

A linocut of the American Desert Hare (or Black Tailed Jackrabbit) and a California Poppy.

An intricate linocut of an Atlas Moth carved by friend and artist Don Mackessy during a collaborative project.

An intricate linocut of an Atlas Moth carved by friend and artist Don Mackessy during a collaborative project.

Monotypes as a Learning Tool

In this final stage of the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project, I am finishing the last of the print designs, and reworking existing images before creating the permanent plates that are to make up the bulk of this series of prints.

Burning the midnight oil  reworking existing designs before making the final plates!

Burning the midnight oil reworking existing designs before making the final plates!

Currently, I am in a somewhat awkward position in that this next step requires that all of the print designs are to be completed at once, so that supporters of this project can see the available options simultaneously before choosing which prints they would like to receive.

We are nearly there– and I appreciate all of your patience! It is important to me that the print designs are equally strong, and that together they make up a cohesive body of work.

I have been making monotypes as learning tools to help me understand what is or is not working about a particular print design for the TBFF project. They have been especially useful for a print featuring a landscape of Bagan, Burma, as well as another image of an Asian Elephant.

The painted copper plate of a monotype featuring the Asian Elephant.

The painted copper plate of a monotype featuring the Asian Elephant.

The ghost print of the Asian Elephant monotype is a one-of-a-kind print after the copper plate is wiped clean.

The ghost print of the Asian Elephant monotype is a one-of-a-kind print after the copper plate is wiped clean.

Monotype: A monotype is a one-of-a-kind print made by painting or drawing directly onto a flat copper plate, and then running that plate through a printing press leaving the ink image on paper. My monotypes are unique in that after the print is pulled, I draw back into each image with black and white printing ink, followed by hand stamping an signing each piece.

Monotypes are different from copper plate etchings in that once the prints are pulled, the flat plate is wiped clean, never to be printed again.  If it were an etching or engraving, you could reprint more at will.

Usually, after the initial monotype print, you can pull one or two additional “ghost prints”– much lighter variations with less ink and often greater character. The outcome for each one is very different!

Monotypes featuring a Thai Buddha statue in my home. You can see the variation between the first print and the two additional ghost prints.

Monotypes featuring a Thai Buddha statue. You can see the variation between the first print and the two additional ghost prints.

Regal house cat monotype.

Regal cat monotype.

A detail of a monotype ghost print helping me to work out the composition of an upcoming TBFF print.

A detail of a monotype ghost print that helped me to work out the composition of an upcoming TBFF print., featuring Bagan, Burma.

Thank you all so much for your ongoing support of my project! I appreciate all of you who reach out to me through email and across social media platforms– on Facebook, Etsy, and Instagram. Thank you!

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Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving (belated)

December 8, 2014 § 2 Comments

Mike.Schultz.thanksgiving.1Thank You

I feel so very grateful for all of your of support this past year for my project, Thailand Burma Flora Fauna. It has been an intense, focused, and fulfilling year full of challenging work!

As I am entering the final stage of production, I thought I would share a handful of images of students working during some of the TBFF drawing and design workshops that I held in Mae Sot, Thailand. 

This is but a small fragment of what your contribution to this project has helped to create. 

You were a part of this! Thank you!

Mike.Schultz.thanksgiving.2

A young student working.

Teaching art to children can be really rewarding– and I was fortunate to be able to do so with Mae Sot NGO Kick Start Art. Even more fulfilling for me was connecting with the young teachers in that same organization.

For all of the time and energy that I directed towards these young folks, I was met with matched enthusiasm to learn and to be challenged during the teacher-trainings. I believe that in assisting them to hone their skills as working artists and instructors, we are contributing to a greater good and a larger picture, as they are sure to share their knowledge and pass on their skill set with their current and future students.

For the young adults and working artists among them, continued art training can help to provide a livelihood that is a positive alternative to the type of exploitative labor that is often the only available option to migrant workers.

For many of the younger migrant children, art classes in a clean, safe environment can be a much needed rest from their lives– ones that are often filled with adversity, anxiety, and under-stimulation. It is an incredible thing to witness a group of excited, distracted kids suddenly fall silent in quiet concentration, enveloped in the peaceful, engaging, and simple act of making a picture.

Thank you again for your contribution to this project! You help and support made this happen!

Student K.K. and his red panda drawing during a teacher training and design workshop.

Student K.K. and his red panda drawing during a teacher-training and design workshop.

Heads down, pencils moving! Mostly quiet with some occasional singing.

Heads down, pencils moving! Mostly quiet with some occasional a capella singing of Burmese radio pop songs.

Student S.K.P. drawing a garden snail from life which she later used to make a flora fauna ink drawing of the same subject.

Student S.K.P. drawing a garden snail from life which she later used to make a flora fauna ink drawing of the same subject. Hold still!

Students showing off their work after a flora fauna design workshop.

Students showing off their work after a flora fauna design workshop.

Student working on preliminary drawings at Kick Start Art.

Working on preliminary drawings at Kick Start Art.

This little lady shows off a fun drawing made during an animal hybrid workshop. Drawing can help children to think in new ways!

This little lady shows off a fun drawing of an elephant-mermaid-eagle made during an animal hybrid workshop. Drawing can help children to develop different modes of thinking! 

Students investigating subject matter and drawing thumbnails from animal references at the Puzzlebox Art Studio.

Students investigating animal subject matter and drawing thumbnails from references at the Puzzlebox Art Studio.

Student making a preliminary drawing during a TBFF workshop.

A younger student making a preliminary drawing of a pig during a TBFF workshop.

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Mike.Schultz.thanksgiving.13

Teacher training workshops were really rewarding!

Teacher training workshops with the Kick Start Art crew and staff were the best!

Teachers J.K. and K.K. drawing away at the Puzzlebox Art Studio.

Teachers J.K. and K.K. drawing away at the Puzzlebox Art Studio.

Little dudes checking out their work during the animal hybrid workshop!

Little dudes checking out their work during the animal hybrid workshop!

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A student working on an intricate flora fauna design.

A student working on an intricate flora fauna design during a teacher-training workshop.

A student draws leaves from life in the garden at the Puzzlebox.

A student draws leaves from life in the garden at the Puzzlebox Art Studio.

A large group of younger students quietly working.

A large group of younger students quietly working.

Making thumbnail drawings.

Making thumbnail drawings.

Teacher J.K. and his awesome bamboo and red panda design!

Teacher J.K. and his awesome bamboo and red panda design!

The Kick Start Art crew and one of the groups they had during summer school. I was happy to be able to participate with them!

The Kick Start Art crew and one of the groups they had during summer school. I was happy to be able to contribute and teach with them!

S.K.P. holding a card that says THANK YOU in Burmese!

S.K.P. holding a card that says THANK YOU in Burmese!

Thank you all for your continued support!

Camellia Kissii Print Complete! Plus Monotypes + Etsy

November 9, 2014 § 9 Comments

Camellia Kissii, 4 x6", Oil Ink Linocut on French Paper, 2014

Camellia Kissii, Linocut on French Co. Paper, 4 x 6 inches (10.15 x 15.25 cm), 2014

The first edition of linocuts for the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project is complete, packaged, and being shipped out early this week!

I’ve also listed several of them on my Etsy site in case you would like to add one to your art collection or to send one as a gift to a friend. :) It features the Camellia Kissii flower found in Burma, said to be named after a botanist named Kiss.

Drying linocuts, garden herbs, and a favorite Navajo blanket on my studio wall.

Drying linocuts, garden herbs, hot Thai chili peppers, and a favorite Navajo blanket on my studio wall.

THANK YOU all so much for your continued patience and support as I learn and hone my skills as a printmaker.

I am striving to bring you the highest quality work possible, and making this first print was a huge learning curve for me. I’m happy to say I’ve worked out a lot of the initial kinks in the process.

The

The linocut plate inked up (bottom) with a pulled print above it. One tricky aspect of printmaking– is how to carve an image in one direction, that will look “correct” to our eyes when it is printed in reverse on paper.

My printing press (dubbed The Little Workhorse) and walls filled with drying prints.

My printing press (dubbed The Little Workhorse) with studio walls filled with drying prints.

Illustrating variations between prints.

Illustrating the variations between prints.

Variations

Making prints by hand is just that– a handmade craft. There is always an ebb and flow of variability and variation between the prints. Some are darker, some are lighter, some prints have more “character”. Some of the prints were lovingly touched up with a white opaque gouache, and others were trimmed down a bit– but all of them passed my eagle-eyes quality control check.

As far as character goes, I even added two versions to the edition that have a random ghostly spot on the upper leaf (pictured above, upper right corner). I’ve come to enjoy the prints with a little character, as it makes each one a more unique.

Studio walls with drying prints (plus a tiger print by Andrea Lauren that hangs above my work desk).

Studio walls with drying prints (plus a tiger print by Andrea Lauren peeking into the frame above my work desk).

Drying linocut prints featuring the Camellia Kissii flower.

Drying linocut prints featuring the Camellia Kissii flower.

Pictured above, Camellia Kissii linocut prints drying on a state-of-the-art blue tape, paper clip and twine combination. This helps the prints to dry free of dust and smudges as oil based inks take longer to cure. It also helps to fit a lot of work into a limited space!

Throwback to making the original pencil mock up before carving the Camellia Kissii print in linoleum.

Throwback to drawing the preliminary pencil mock up before carving the Camellia Kissii print into linoleum.

Unsatisfied with the first hare chop I had carved, I made several variations until I got it right. Once, I was happy with it, I spliced it into the linoleum block.

Unsatisfied with the first hare chop I had carved, I made several variations of it. Once I was happy with it, I spliced the hare chop into the linoleum block. (A chop is a traditional stamp-signature.)

The lino block with its new hare chop.

The linocut block with its new hare chop carefully spliced into it.

The Clean Hands Club: This is what signing a 102 prints looks like. From right to left, signed, signing, and the to-be-signed pile.

The Clean Hands Club: This is what signing 100 prints looks like. From top right to middle bottom to left: signed, signing, and the to-be-signed pile.

The Camellia Kissii print framed!

The Camellia Kissii print framed in a simple white frame!

Monotype Printmaking

Next week, I’ll be sharing how I’m using monotype printmaking (one-of-a-kind prints made by drawing with ink on a flat copper plate) to physically work out the remaining imagery for the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project!

Below, you can see the original oil ink drawing on the flat copper plate, and the resulting transfer onto paper. The print shown is the second monotype pulled– a lighter after-image called a “ghost print”, also available on my Etsy shop.

An example of using monotype printmaking

A monotype “ghost print” featuring Bagan, Burma that will be the central image in an upcoming TBFF print!

THANK YOU all so much for your continued support!

Linocut Prototypes + Bagan Drawing Giveaway!

September 14, 2014 § 4 Comments

Linocut prototypes featuring the Camellia Kissii drying on my studio wall.

Linocut prototypes featuring the Camellia Kissii drying on my studio wall.

The Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project is taking shape! These past few weeks have been packed with carving print blocks, printing and testing prototypes, planning and ordering supplies, and networking. THANK YOU for all of your patience and continued support while I work to get you the best prints possible!

Mike.Schultz.Bagan.update.2

Drawing Giveaway + Connecting on Instagram

This week I am giving away an original drawing to one of my followers on Instagram as a thank-you for reaching more than 1K followers! If you are an instagram user, please feel free to follow my feed and enter for the giveaway. (My username is mike_schultz_paintings). 

I am also selling two variations of the same drawing on my Etsy shop— first come, first serve!  

The Bagan drawings are directly related to the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna series as they are preliminary illustrations for the additional print I am designing which depicts the moon rising over the Bagan Plain in Bagan, Burma– something I was very fortunate to witness with my own eyes!

Drawing giveaway on instagram depicting the Bagan Plain featured in an upcoming print for the TBFF series.

Drawing giveaway on instagram depicting the Bagan Plain featured in an upcoming print for the TBFF series.

Sneak Peek! (Work in Progress) This is an unfinished print design that will feature the Bagan, Burma landscape.

Sneak Peek! This is a print design (work in progress) that will feature a landscape based on Bagan, Burma.

Detail from my Burma travel sketchbook with notes and thumbnail drawings of things I wanted to remember.

Detail from my Burma travel sketchbook with notes and thumbnail drawings of things I wanted to remember.

Prototypes + Hare Stamp Variations

The initial round of prototypes for the first of two postcard-sized prints is under way. The drawing is first transferred to a linoleum block plate, in reverse, so that when it is carved and printed, the design will be facing the correct direction.

Transferring a ink and gouache drawing of the Camellia Kissii flower to a lino block (in reverse) before carving.

Transferring an ink and gouache drawing of the Camellia Kissii flower to a lino block (in reverse) before carving.

Carving the linoleum block late into the night (no mistakes, please! There is no undoing a cut).

Carefully carving the linoleum block late into the night.  (No mistakes, please! There is no undoing a carved line).

Prototypes! Working out the lines and stamp designs for the first of the smaller prints to go out.

Prototypes! Working out the lines and stamp designs for the first of the smaller prints to go out. This one is so close!

Documenting Burma travel drawings with help from studio assistant and shadow, Gus!

Documenting my Burma travel sketchbook drawings with help from studio assistant and constant shadow, Gus!

Thank you again for your continued support!

Updated Production Timeline and Printing Press!

August 30, 2014 § 3 Comments

Today I have a lot of good news to share about the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna printmaking project. I’ll be discussing the updated production timeline, new equipment and supplies, and where we are at in the process.

Detail of the Golden Cat design - sneak peek!

Detail of the Golden Cat design – sneak peek!

1. Updated Production Timeline – The original delivery estimate that I gave was August of 2014. Due to a myriad of typical production snags (followed by necessary problem solving), the delivery date for your prints has been pushed back a few weeks.

However, I am happy to say that the end is in sight! We are working around the clock to bring you the best work possible, and this huge project is finally taking shape. THANK YOU for your patience and continued support! 

I've been looking to my Burma travel sketchbooks a lot lately while making the final designs. What a potent experience it was traveling through Upper Burma.

I’ve been looking to my Burma travel sketchbooks a lot while drawing the final designs. What a potent experience it was traveling through Upper Burma.

Pictured above, top left to right– Mt Popa and its mountaintop monastery, gardens and boats along the mighty Mekong River in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Pictured above, bottom left to right– a welder at a brass foundry welding together a large Buddha, a tall thin smokestack pouring a black cloud of soot over a shanty town outside of Mandalay, and a mysterious all-young-female road crew building a road by hand with woven baskets of hand broken gravel.

New treehouse printmaking studio? Check!

New treehouse printmaking studio? Check!

2. Printing Press + New Printmaking Studio – This month I purchased a beautiful little table top printing press (a little workhorse!) and built a printmaking studio in a well-lit space to make your artwork. So far, the press is fantastic, and it has been a joy getting it dialed in.

This little direct drive workhorse is a small behemoth weighing in at 70 pounds. It's got two solid steel rollers and a steel bed. I love it!

This direct drive workhorse is a little behemoth weighing in at 70 pounds. It’s got two solid steel rollers and a steel bed. So far, I love it!

Studio mission control with my immense and ever shifting to-do list and a small self portrait silhouette. It's a good thing I picked up some tips on lean manufacturing and organization from my time working with Grovemade, here in Portland, OR!

Studio mission control with my immense and ever shifting to-do list (and a small silhouetted self portrait). It’s a good thing I learned about lean manufacturing and organization from working with Grovemade, here in Portland, OR! Using lean production techniques has helped to keep this to-do list wrangled.

3. Professional Training   I am being trained by a skilled local printmaker for whom I have immense respect. He is helping me to dial in my process to make the best pieces possible with my tools. (I’ll share more on him and his work in an upcoming post.) 

Experimenting with monotype, a process of making a one of a kind print. Shown here I am drawing with loose blue printmaking ink directly onto a copper plate.

Experimenting with monotype, a process of making a one of a kind print. Shown here I am drawing with loose blue printmaking ink directly onto a copper plate.

4. Council From Other Artists – The past few weeks I have received a lot of help from some incredible artists and friends. They’ve patiently considered my questions and have been dishing out valuable advice on printing processes and tools. Endless gratitude to artists Jack Baumgartner, Keegan Wenkman, Vladimir Zimakov, and Andrea Lauren for some foundational printmaking advice! (Their names link to their awesome artwork– have a peep!)

Hand drawing my hare chop on a 2009 linocut.

Hand drawing a variation of my hare chop on a 2009 linocut.

5. Supplies – Heeding the advice of my peers, I have been stocking up on and experimenting with a number of high quality supplies and tools. The printing studio set up and equipment include items like the press and its required felt pads, brayers for rolling out ink, a glass palette and palette knives, wooden tables and rolling carts, shelving for supplies, and more.

Shipments arrived! A bulk order of large sheets of fancy paper from the French Paper Company and a variety of printing inks from great companies like Portland's own Gamblin.

Shipments arrived! A bulk order of large sheets of fancy paper from the French Paper Company, and a variety of printing inks from great companies like Portland’s own Gamblin.

The supplies also include a variety of special inks and solvents for printmaking– and just yesterday I received a box of large sheets of fancy cream colored paper from the French Paper Company. It’s a high quality, smooth textured paper with a beautiful color that will lend itself well to this project.

I have also been experimenting with professionally made stamps that will act as the signature seal, or “chop”, as it is called in printmaking (more on those in a future post).

6. Prototypes and Practice – This past week I’ve been working out the details for the two 4 x 6″ postcard-sized prints that some of you will receive as your rewards for backing this project.

Pictured center: A life sized Japanese sumi ink and gouache prototype of one of the 4 x 6" sized prints. This one features a beautiful flower called the Camellia Kissii, found in Burma, and will be made as a linocut relief print.

Pictured center: A life sized (Japanese sumi ink and gouache) hand drawn prototype of one of the 4 x 6″ prints. 

This small piece will feature a beautiful flower called the Camellia Kissii, found in Burma, and will be made as a linocut relief print on French paper. Also– if you look closely you can see practice stamps with one of the new hare chop stamp prototypes.

Concept drawing for the additional print in the series. It will act as a "title page" of sorts and feature a Bagan, Burma landscape in the center.

Making concept drawings for the additional print in the series. This piece will act as a “title page” of sorts and feature a Bagan, Burma landscape in the center.

Thank you all so much for your patience and your continued support with this project!

Burma in Black and White – Part 1

August 3, 2014 § 6 Comments

Sunset in Bagan, Burma.

Sunset in Bagan, Burma.

This has been a busy week full of painting projects, Burma research, summer gardening, and print designs! Today, I’d like to share more images with you from our travels through Upper Burma– truly one of the most unique places I’ve ever been to.

Some photos just work better in black and white. Here is a collection of those images with accompanying descriptions. So much of the designs for the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project have been influenced by what I saw and felt during my travels in Burma.

I appreciate all of your feedback and your reaching out to me. Thank you all so much for your continued support! 

Burma in B/W

Men driving an old diesel tractor through the center of Nyaung Shwe, on Inle Lake. It is not uncommon to see vehicles from another era still in use everyday in Burma.

Men driving an old diesel tractor through the center of Nyaung Shwe, on Inle Lake. It is not uncommon to see vehicles from another era still in everyday use in Burma.

Dusk view of Mandalay from Mandalay Hill. You can see the shining Irrawaddy River on the horizon. The river is the main artery that runs through Burma all the way to the Andaman sea.

Dusk view of Mandalay from Mandalay Hill. You can see the Irrawaddy River shining on the horizon. It’s the main artery that runs through Burma all the way to the Andaman sea.

Beth and I on the canal in Nyaung Shwe, on Inle Lake, Burma.

Beth and I on the canal in Nyaung Shwe, on Inle Lake, Burma.

Street snap of men on motorbikes at sunset, Mandalay.

Street snap of men on motorbikes at sunset, Mandalay.

There is a small mountain town on Mt. Popa, a forested volcano topped with a monastery, that is overrun by tribes of naughty monkeys. Our guide told us, “The monkeys here... they can be quite rude.”

There is a small mountain town on Mt. Popa, a forested volcano topped with a monastery, that is overrun by tribes of naughty monkeys. Our guide said, “The monkeys here… they can be quite rude.” I concur. Many residents walked with sticks to fend them off.

Street snap of a woman on a bicycle, Mandalay, Burma.

Street snap of a woman on a bicycle, Mandalay, Burma.

Morning on the Bagan plain-- a valley of ancient ruins in Bagan, Burma.

Morning on the Bagan plain– a valley of ancient ruins in Bagan, Burma.

Novice monks in a temple in Bagan, Burma.

Novice monks in a temple in Bagan, Burma.

Filling up at the gas station on Inle Lake. It was comprised of a kid on a wooden dock with a bucket of gas and a hose.

Filling up at the gas station on Inle Lake, which was comprised of a young boy on a wooden dock with a bucket of gas and a hose. Why not?

Mandalay in the morning from the Smart Hotel.

View of Mandalay in the morning from the Smart Hotel.

In a golden temple in Mandalay, a young girl is wearing thanaka, a yellow-white-gold colored cream that many Burmese folks wear on their face. Thanaka is part sun screen and part cosmetic product, and is made from the ground bark, wood, or roots of various local trees.

In a golden temple in Mandalay, a young girl is wearing thanaka, a yellow-white-gold colored cream that many Burmese folks wear on their faces. Thanaka is part sun screen and part cosmetic product. It is made from the ground bark, wood, or roots of various trees.

Street snap of women hanging out at the morning market in a small village on Inle Lake.

Some ladies hanging out and chatting at the morning market in a small village on Inle Lake. Note: each of them is wearing thanaka on their cheeks.

Thank you all so much for your continued interest and support of the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project!

Portland: Drawing, Books, and Printmaking!

July 26, 2014 § 8 Comments

Mike.Schultz.Portland.Elephant.1JPG

Portland – In early June I returned to Portland, Oregon where I’ve been busy balancing various projects, steadily working on print designs, and reading up on Burma.

Earlier this week, I met with some extraordinary local printmakers to discuss printing methods, the finer points of paper varieties, and a production timeline. It’s really exciting that the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project has entered this stage of production. 

Thank you all for your continued interest and support with this endeavor!

Supermoon rising over Portland, Oregon - June 2014.

Supermoon rising over Portland, Oregon – June 2014.

Works in Progress

Asian Elephant – After struggling with a design which first featured an extinct variety of rhinoceros and then later the Asian Elephant, I finally abandoned it and went back to the drawing board (quite literally) to rework the picture. Finally, the newer image feels like it’s on the right track! 

Sketchbook drawing of an Asian Elephant carrying a branch - getting closer with this one!

Sketchbook drawing of an Asian Elephant carrying a branch – getting closer!

Trying to understand the muscle movement of an elephant walking in my sketchbook.

Drawing the muscle movement of elephants + thumbnail compositions in my sketchbook.

Work in Progress - an older version of the print featuring an Asian Elephant.

Work in Progress (WIP) – an older version of the print featuring an Asian Elephant.

Sun Bear – The design for a print featuring the elusive Sun Bear is nearly complete! For now, here are some detail images.

The sloping head of the elusive Sun Bear with a Burmese landscape behind it.

WIP – The sloping head of the elusive Sun Bear with a Burmese landscape.

Preliminary sketchbook drawing for the Sun Bear print.

Preliminary sketchbook drawing for the Sun Bear print.

This print will feature a hilltop monastery loosely based on Mt. Popa, a favorite place we visited in Upper Burma in the Spring.

WIP – This print features a hilltop monastery based on Mt. Popa, a favorite place we visited in Upper Burma.

Additional Print – I’ve also been making drawings of Bagan, Burma in blue colored pencil. This will potentially be the additional print design that some Kickstarter supporters will receive for increasing their pledge during the funding campaign. (It would be printed in black, as a linocut or letterpress.)

Working on imagery for the additional print for those who increased their pledge.

Working on imagery for the additional print for those who increased their pledge.

Garden Drawings –This summer so far, I have been spending my off-time gardening and growing vegetables. It’s been enjoyable to draw from the garden as well.  If you can’t tell, I’m really into sketching with a cheerful blue color these days.

Sketching basil, chard, and carrot tops in my garden.  July, 2014.

Sketching basil, chard, and carrot tops in my garden. July, 2014.

Reverse Culture Shock + the Big Burma Book Report 

Reading – Part of the way I’ve been processing my reverse culture shock (it’s a thing!) and reflecting on this recent time spent in SE Asia has been by avidly reading about Burma and its history.

Curiously, it seems that the more I seek to understand about Burma, the less that I actually know. While the history of any single subject is bound to be complex, for me the shaping of present day Myanmar, seemingly the result of an endlessly labyrinthine trajectory of events, is particularly captivating.

Books – For those of you who would like to broaden your understanding of Burma, I highly recommend reading the two books, in particular. This spring and summer I read Finding George Orwell in Burma and No Bad News for the King both fascinating and well written documents.

No Bad News For the King, by Emma Larkin, details the affects of Cyclone Nargis, which claimed 138,000 lives.

No Bad News For the King details the affects of Cyclone Nargis, which claimed 138,000 lives.

Upon returning to Portland, I reread Burma Chronicles, by Guy Delisle and Quartered Safe Out Here, a WW2 memoir by a Scottish solider named George MacDonald Fraser. Reading Quartered Safe Out Here was a bit too much like eating lunch at the local V.F.W. with my grandfather in the early 1980’s. I also attempted to read some much hyped fiction, The Piano Tuner, but it just wasn’t for me.  

Currently, I’m reading 30 Heritage Buildings of Yangon. What I love about this book is that it is a positive and crystal-clear presentation of the current state of heritage architecture in Burma’s former capital city of Yagon.

It offers not only a concise history 30 unique buildings, but also details the potential of these structures available for restoration and renovation. Any one of them could join the ranks of the Strand Hotel, a Yangon landmark– that is, if they are not torn down to make way for newer construction. Follow this link to watch a video of The Strand Hotel.

30 Heritage Buildings of Yangon, by Sarah Rooney (aka Emma Larkin) is a fascinating read so far!

30 Heritage Buildings of Yangon is a great read so far!

Also, I am currently reading two 100+ year old books authored by V.C. Scott O’Conner. Those books are The Silken East (1904) and another called Mandalay, and Other Cities of the Past in Burma (1908).

I was lucky to find an original copy of Mandalay, and Other Cities of the Past in Burma, which boasts beautiful photos like this one taken by the author.

I was lucky to find an original 1908 copy of Mandalay, and Other Cities of the Past in Burma (1908), which boasts beautiful photos like this one taken by the author.

The lens through which V.C. Scott O’Conner wrote is now outdated, but none-the-less his books are filled with his fascinating photographs and oral histories that he learned while holding government appointments in Burma in the 1890s.

V.C. Scott O’Conner's The Silken East (1904, reprinted 1993) has Burma oil paintings by J.R. Middleton.

V.C. Scott O’Conner’s The Silken East (1904 – reprinted 1993) with paintings by J.R. Middleton.

On deck, I just found a nice hardcover of From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe, and am searching for a used copy of No Time for Dreams by San San Tin, which is proving a little more difficult to locate for a good price.

Thank you

Thank you all for your continued support of this project! I’m excited to have entered this next stage of production and will keep you updated on the progress as it unfolds.

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