The Burma Project: Day 20 (Kandawgyi Lake Hotel)

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Mission:  One drawing per day for 27 days.  Drawn on location.  The goal was to capture the hearts and minds of the people of Myanmar with art.  Document the work, record the stories, and leave the drawings as gifts.  Create an epic blog about the experience.

The Burma Project:  a full description

Reading your typical travel blog, and mine is no exception, might lead you to think that seeing the world is all adventure and excitement, one extraordinary moment after another.  Around every exotic corner a poignant and transformative life experience awaits!

Uh, no.

Don’t get me wrong I love to travel but just for the record, there are potholes in the sidewalk, horrifying toilets, exhaustion, and on occasion, dysentery.  Admittedly the dark side is not nearly as fun to report but it is a reality and my 27 days in Myanmar had its share of challenges.  It was not a luxury trip by anyone’s standard let alone the usual spoiled tourist.

On the day of this drawing, Jimmy and I were struggling a bit.  Our usual strategy of getting to know a place by walking the streets was thwarted by heat in excess of 105 degrees intensified by all the concrete under our feet.  Day 21 found us in the city of Yangon, somewhat depleted, a little lost, hot, hungry, and tired.  Unlike our beloved Thailand where you can easily duck into an air conditioned business or find an ice coffee, Burma is a land with unreliable electricity, little air-con, and virtually no ice.

So when we came upon a fancy, schmancy hotel catering to Westerners, we gladly took our sweaty selves in.  These establishments have their very own infrastructure in the form of gigantic generators in case of a power outage and this means ICE.  It’s funny how such a simple pleasure can become so important.  We ordered cold beer.

As I sketched,  I couldn’t help but contrast the opulence around me with the real life outside those walls.  Staying at a hotel such as this can be such a pleasure but it also insulates the traveler from a deeper understanding of the culture and it’s people.   While I thoroughly enjoyed our little “escape,” I was also glad to return to our simpler and less expensive guesthouse.

After two more rounds of drinks, we asked for the bill.  The money we spent would have fed a family of four for a solid week.

Free Art Lessons:  Negative Space

Simply put, “Negative Space” refers to those areas in a drawing around objects, or rather, where the objects are not.  The problem with this definition is that it makes negative space sound like nothing when in fact it is usually something very specific such as air, or a wall, or a sky, etc.  Negative space is just as important to a good composition as any object, sometimes more so.

In this drawing, the negative space is represented by architectural elements, floor, and furniture.  There are also some smaller but just as significant negative spaces found in the small windows.  These clear and open shapes create a frame around the objects and balance the chaos found in the scene.

Posted Drawings from The Burma Project:  Day 3Day 6Day 8Day 17, Day 20

Related Post:  Burma: The Wild Wild West of the East


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