Thursday, 26 March 2015

Lotus Leaf Painting

I can't tell you how excited I was to be painting lotus leaves in Bangkok!

Yes, moi who looks enviously at all my arty friends 
with a 'I wish I could paint!' longing, 
has found my inner creative!

With a little help from my new found friends at Himapan Gallery
here I am about to 'show and tell' with you my latest artwork, 
and anyone can do this!

Let's backtrack just a little.
I'm in Bangkok, my husband is busy with work 
morning, noon and night. 
So having visited Bangkok many times,
I was looking for something different to fill my days.
A quick internet search and I found the Himapan Gallery.
Who are doing a roaring trade to mostly expats
 with lotus leaf painting workshops.

The lotus leaves were an almost perfect match for what I needed at home.
I'd had had an interior decorator suggest that 
I bring the garden indoors by throwing open the bi-fold doors 
and adding some garden style artwork to the interior,
 even suggesting a palm tree, or the like on the wall

Which is a lovely idea 
except that I don't live in tropical north Queensland,
 I live in Melbourne, Australia. 

A palm tree is about as common here as a banana plant!

But, as frequent visitors to this blog will know,
 I do have a pond with a water lily that blooms,
and although a water lotus and water lily are different 

it's same, same but different! 

When I arrive at the gallery instructions are in full swing.
I join a group of lovely Japanese women to learn the techniques.
We are given the choice of using oil or acrylic paints.

Our class is taught by the wonderful owner Catherine
who shows us what to do.
It all looks pretty straightforward
paint or sponge on the colour, 
highlight with bronze, gold, silver as you like,
and after a few days your painting is ready to take home.

I choose to work with acrylic paint because it's quick drying 
and I only have five days in Bangkok.

I did think about oils 
especially after my ears prick up as Catherine tells us
"and if you make a little mistake, 
I give you a little alcohol"
her perfect English has just a hint of her French accent.

They have truly thought of everything here
I love the way they will correct any errors...

I'm brought back to earth with a 
'Can I get you a tea or coffee?'
Her husband Teck asks?

I was thinking of ordering a Mojito
to get my Mojo going...
but then realise the alcohol is only for mistakes 
and not to be consumed...
Silly me.

I am then given a choice of two designs
I choose the one from the muddy pond
which has some interesting staining
and could have so come from my pond life back home
although thankfully not, these leaves are humungous.

My three boards cost me 8,000 Baht ($250 USD, $310AUD)
which includes all the paint, tuition, varnish, and boxing for transport.

I have also brought with me one of my outdoor cushions
for colour inspiration but I am pretty much going for 
green, green and more green...

And so I get started.
It's pretty simple really. 
You paint the colour on with either a sponge 
or a paint brush, one leaf at a time following the veins.
The hardest part is working out what colours you want to use,
or in my case trying to mix the right green to match the cushion.
Luckily Catherine is always on hand when help is needed.

The painting is pretty easy and relaxing and the
conversations are free flowing around the room.
Teck is offering more coffee or tea.
Everyone admires each others work.
This is my sort of painting morning.

I get as far as I can 
and decide to come back the following day to finish off.

This is what the painting looked like at the end of day one:

The next day I add some bronze highlights to my veins 
which are lightly brushed on with the corner of a sponge 
and I add a touch of definition around the edges of my leaf edges.

It is starting to rain outside, when Bangkok rains it pours.
If you want to see what happened after this class see here!
but all attention is on our artwork.
The second day there are a new and equally lovely 
group of ladies and one gent.

Here is my finished version with one coating of varnish
and Voila it's done!

I leave the second coat of varnish to Catherine 
who will let it dry and package it for the airport 
and deliver it to my hotel on Friday
I can't wait to see 
what it looks like up on my wall!

Linking with: 
Mosaic Monday
Thank you Judith
Paint Party Friday 
with thanks to Eva and Kristen

Here are the details of Himapan Gallery
I have no connections with the owners 
or received no compensation for this post:

Facebook : www.facebook/HimapanGallery
35/14 ซอยสุขุมวิท31 (ซ.สวัสดี) ถนนสุขุมวิท แขวงคลองเตยเหนือ เขตวัฒนา กรุงเทพฯ 10110
35/14 Sukhumvit 31 - Silom Village - Wattana -  BANGKOK 10110 - THAILAND.
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