Painting Thailand in America

“Abandoned Shed”  oil on canvas 36″ x 36″

After such a long absence, unpacking my art supplies felt like a grand reunion with beloved friends. My oil paints were just where I left them, laying side by side shrouded in plastic, their little necks covered with blue tape in an attempt to keep them alive. Long ago I misplaced the caps. Along the wall sat blank canvases, much too big to transport half way around the world. Brushes, mixing knives, palette, stool, easel. All left behind and patiently awaiting my return.

Painting is such a physical activity, I worried I might be out of shape after seven months of drawing in a small format. Day after day I had sketched the streets of Chiang Mai, sitting down low like the Thai people on a tiny three legged stool, pencils and crayons at my feet. The visual chaos of Southeast Asia called to me. I loved the endless layers of color, texture, and shape; the juxtaposition of an abandoned shed next to a temple of gold and silver.

Here in the Pacific Northwest all is neat and tidy. The colors match as if they came out of a designer’s catalogue with greens, blues, and grays surrounding the occasional smudge of vivid hue. It is lovely, safe, comforting. Like a good brother, this place shelters
the lover,
the artist,
still longing for the hot oranges and turquoise blue of Thailand.

Amy’s note:  I am currently staying on Bainbridge Island, Washington painting and teaching.  More importantly, I am spending precious time with my family and dear friends.  My return date to Chiang Mai is September 24. 

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