I took too many pictures on my trip. I tried not to, but the people there were just so beautiful, and laid back, and smiling all the time. I couldn't help myself. I loved their interpretation of a western style city, with 9 million (I think I remember hearing that there) people. The Paragon is probably the nicest mall I've ever been to in my life. And the food...I had the most delicious flavors collide on my palate....great curries! Inexpensive and phenomenal! They seemed to have everything we have here in the States (including the Southern midsummer humidity). I enjoyed the architecture, and the funny names of the products sold there like 'Mansome', a water-based beverage with collagen for men to drink so they look better. Hysterical! Too bad nobody's spilled the beans that ingested collagen doesn't do much...It should be applied topically if used for wrinkle busting.
I enjoyed the city. I've never felt so safe in my life (except for maybe Nashville) walking around during the day....riding the riverboat taxi (an hour long ride for about fifty cents!!!). Everyone was smiling...the children, the monks, the adults, and even the German tourists (a shout-out to my husband's family that refrains from such behavior as smiling, whenever possible). I've never encountered such hospitality in my life (except maybe in Mexico where most of the men think all tall blond American women want to "coochie-coochie", but that's another story). The city, with all of its disparity was a living, breathing thing, that was remarkably beautiful. People were happy with their lot. Maybe that's the whole karma / reincarnation thing, but still, with all of the poverty, the run down shanties that the underclass lives in, and the unfortunate rubbish that makes its way into the streets of the poor areas of the city, you can still expect to find the people proud of their country.
One of my favorite sights were the immaculately kept, beautiful, ornate buddist temples in almost every area of the city. They rise up above the make shift homes, and can been seen quite well from (of all places) the expressways. Then there are the temples that accompany the king's palace in the old Siam area. With some of the largest (and rare) green expanses that I saw in the city. Space is expensive, homes are built on top of each other, and condos tower about the sky. I didn't see any McMansions the entire time I was there, but even the upper middle class homes of the government officials do not have extensive lawns or property to speak of, in the city, because (I was told) there isn't any to be had.
Something I hadn't anticipated (as we use a differing calendar) was that I would be there during the Thai New Year holiday. So of course, I was absolutely in need of a good wringing out after venturing into town to take photos of those dumping water on each other and smiling commandos armed with super soakers (full of city water- I was sure not to open my mouth because I had already brushed my teeth in the airport bathroom in Seoul, and paid dearly for it).
Back to work...Anyhow, I finally sat down and sketched out the larger of two pieces that I'll be showing this summer in an urban themed show. I have photos of the photo I took (blown up onto engineering paper so I can see all the details and get the shapes and sizes of the buildings correctly laid out on the canvas). I underpainted in my favorite underpainting color, cadmium red medium hue. I love how it catches the other colors and brightens them. I also like letting the red peek through a little (or a lot depending on my mood). Here's what I have so far. I've never done anything like this before. And, although I'm seriously out of my comfort zone (read: cows and farmscapes), I'm seriously stoked about how this piece is coming along. I've put about ten hours into it already. I think it will end up owning about 20 hours of me before all is said and done. Wish me luck! And, thanks for reading...