This post is about the artwork I’ve been making while living in Taiwan.
Here’s my studio desk (with Chinese landscape painting homework on it – more about that later):
When we first got to Kaohsiung, I made a series of colorful gouache paintings.
The painting below, Gushan, captures an image in my mind of a drive along Gushan Road at the base of Mt. Shoushan (otherwise known as Monkey Mountain) in Kaohsiung where the mountain meets the city. It is a place where spirits (perhaps) meet temples and mystical mountains.
Harbor, is about the depth of the sea, the distance across the ocean, the ports that are on both sides of the world.
Floating moon, evokes a cacophony of fireworks, city colors, smells, sounds and tastes; a green trance and smog. Immense Time.
The second half of our time in Taiwan, I’ve been working on a series called, There Are No Words. Each work is on traditional rice paper that is approximately three feet long, one foot high. They are composed of meandering lines and dots – no grid, no words – only a map of my experience of living in a country where I can’t speak the language.
Because There Are No Words is so large, I had a professional photographer take pictures of them. He wanted to take a picture with me, because, although he works with many talented artists, he works with very few foreign artists. Then I went ahead and took of picture of him with his assistant and also a picture of him photographing my work:
Marc and I have also been taking a private Chinese landscape painting class with Shi Wang Chen (pronounced Shir). He is well known in Taiwan for his calligraphy, traditional Chinese landscape paintings, and contemporary paintings. Here is a link to an image of one of his paintings (click on the small image to see a close up of his catalogue):
Basically, Shi paints (trees, rocks, clouds), we watch, we’re amazed, and then we go home and attempt to paint something remotely similar to what he drew.
We took a “field trip” with him a few days ago to Moon World – an area outside of Kaohsiung that is one of the main sources of inspiration for his paintings.
This photo is of Shi next to a gnarled tree. He would be able to paint this with ease:
He then he took us to his friend’s studio – a ceramic artist who occasionally uses Shi’s calligraphy on his ceramics.
I look forward to sharing my paintings when I get back to Seattle.