Sprinkle: a series of small paintings!
I’ve returned from China now, after a wonderful experience of adventure in time… So many thoughts and memories fill my head, as I settle back into my studio, in Montreal. I’m glad to be back, despite missing the exotic scenery that which is the land of the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Love, the Terra Cotta Warriors, The Bund, and so much more.
One of the first things I dug into, upon my return, was working on these little wood panel paintings. They are whimsical and colourful… A contrast to the serious austerity that I saw in beautiful China! These little ones are intimate, and a way of allowing myself to reconnect with my way of life, here, at home.
Destination: Da Wang Culture Highland artist residency
And so, my journey into China continues…
I took a train across Hong Kong, which stops right at the border to mainland China. In my last post, my story ended as my friend Richard and I walked across the pedestrian bridge toward the customs desks, en route to Mainland China.
Once past the hustle and bustle of customs, we grabbed a cab to get to Da Wang Culture Highland.
We were greeted at the entrance of the residence, by a large sign, made out of one of those industrial shipping containers, standing up vertically. It had bold Chinese characters proudly displayed on it. Not speaking Chinese, I have to assume that it is the name of the residence. As we drove up the little road into this jungly oasis, we passed by several other containers, painted in various colours, repurposed so that they have become usable spaces, inside. There were people fishing in a brown water lake, and lush greenery growing along the side of the mountain, cascading onto the road; a vine creates a canopy over the road, as it reaches from treetop to treetop.
The feeling one has, when coming here, is that this place is different from the surrounding area, and a bit special. It’s an artist community, with outdoor sculptures here and there, dotting the edge of the jungle. There are signs, as well, that greet incoming visitors. Clearly, they are trying to people into the place. There is a feeling of tranquility.
After a bit of back and forth, trying to figure out where we should be received, we spotted our host, Tom, standing on the side of the road. He showed me my room, and gave us a tour around the facilities. My accomodations, as is the case with the last residency I went to, are modest ones: two single beds, and a large tiled bathroom.
I discovered that I would not be alone: I was moving in with an arachnid roommate, of proportions like I have never witnessed before! We gazed at one another, and when I went to take a photo of her, discovered that she is camera shy. I think I will call her Donna. She is about 5 or 6 inches in diameter, from front toe to back toe, and is mostly all legs, but there’s some meat to her body, as well. Her markings are quite striking.
I had the choice between two studios: shared, or not shared. I opted for the latter. It’s slightly smaller than the shared studio, but it’s all mine to spread out in. I’ve already started working on some pieces. More to come, in my next post!
Journey to the Far East
It took a while to get here. I was supposed to arrive a few days earlier, but Super Typhoon Usagi beat me to it, delaying my flight to Hong Kong. Well after the plans had been laid out, I journeyed to the other side of the planet, anxious to submerge myself into a world that is so different from my own: an intoxicating humid breeze wraps itself around me, filling my nostrils with the unfamiliar and pungent fragrances of the Far East. I had a little less than 24 hours to sightsee, before heading to Mainland China.
My favorite place was, by far, the street market.
The end of my brief visit to Hong Kong was spent on the train to the border of Mainland China. Once again, Richard (a Canadian friend, who gets by in Cantonese) kindly accompanied me on this leg of the journey, taking me to my artist residency in nearby Da Wang, China.
Commissioned painting, “For Aaron”
Thick daubs of colour, applied layer over layer, dance in the summer sunshine that reflects on and shines through my studio windows. It reminds me of a flock of birds that I once saw, when staying at a castle in France: the birds moved like a cloud that morphed its shape, as together they flew into the sky.
“For Aaron”, 36″x82″, acrylics on canvas.
Painted as a commissioned piece, for a private collection.