Bhaktapur, founded in 12th century, is the ‘city of devotees’ and looks just like a medieval city built of brick and ornate wood carvings. It is one of the three royal cities in the Kathmandu valley and is considered a cultural gem.
A trip to Nepal in November 2014 proved to be very special and inspirational. In order to preserve these great memories, I would like to share some of these moments with you. I also intend using my photos as inspiration to create new paintings and I hope that you will join me on this journey. Continue reading “Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Setting out!”
No matter how tired, or how long the journey was, I could not permit myself to sleep on the coach. I would prop myself by the window, camera at the ready and all because – the Nepalese countryside had a hypnotic effect on me – I feared I might miss something!
Established in 1973, Chitwan National Park is the first national park in Nepal and was granted the status of WorldHeritage Site in 1984.
The journey would take us 6 hours along the main route from Tibet and Kathmandu.
Glued to the window of the bus, I found myself day-dreaming of the disparate lives of the Nepalese. Trucks, lorries, school buses, goats strapped to the roofs of moving vehicles, stray animals wandering down the main street, we see it all!
We arrive at the Jungle Safari Resort. A quick refresh, no time to waste, then off for a ride on two oxen along the lumpy, bumpy tracks.
Local villagers look on with an air of curiosity – how different our lives are!
We come upon the elephant breeding centre. This rural atmosphere seemed absolutely charming.
Next morning, at 5.45 am we find ourselves canoeing on the Rapti River. There was low visibility and the air was cloaked with a mysterious, haunting, grey mist.
The canoes crept along sleekly through the waters and led by officials from the National Park. We spot crocodiles along the bank – in the same water as us! – only a boat between us and them!
As we dismount from the canoes on the far bank the Guide points out the footprint of the Royal Bengal Tiger. It was an old footprint but enough to scare us all that we were now sharing the same land as these wild endangered species.
We go for a long walk, carefully picking each step along the way. We study this terrain for signs of animal life. We stumble upon reindeer, monkeys and magnificent bird life.
The Guide shares his binoculars with us as we pick out magnificent birds in flight and nesting along the banks of the river.
We watch an old man with a herd of water buffalo pick a path across the river. You can tell, this is a man of nature, a man of much knowledge!
We go on a jeep safari and encounter a rhino up close and personal but that’s another story!
We visit Gharial Hatchery Farm where crocodiles are raised before being released into the wild.
Later, we dine alfresco in the grounds of the hotel on a balmy evening. We enjoy the local dance with superb and graceful movement. The music sways us in unison with the brilliance of their striking and vivid costume.
I came across the Greek word “Meraki” and its meaning caught my attention. For me, all I could think of was that it had to apply to a painting. This is the nearest English translation:
“Meraki” to do something with soul, creativity, or love; to put something of yourself into your work
meraki [may-rah-kee] (adjective) of Greek origin
And so, this is my Meraki painting! It has been sitting on my easel for quite a while now – nameless, so I am happy to have found a title to compliment it. These are the kind of scenes I like to paint because they are the places my mind often visits and lingers for a while.
Magnificent architectural rock formations of the peninsula trace the evolution of a large scale river delta during the Upper Carboniferous Period about 320 million years ago.
Oil painting, drying, varnishing and multi-tasking
Lilly on Lilly pads
Carrigaholt and Loop Head Peninsula, Co. Clare
Despite images flooding my mind of the untamed waters of Kilkee, Loop Head and the majestic Cliffs of Moher, my thoughts were of rock formations, flora and fauna and the onset of Autumn colour – I found myself painting abstracts in oil.
“Making hay while the sun shines” or in other words, taking full advantage of the extended period of sunshine, now that Autumn has arrived. Painting, varnishing, framing – multi-tasking en plein air and sunshine in the comfort of my garden – bliss!
These are some of the miniature 5 x 5″ oil paintings showcased in white frames that I have worked on and I hope you like them.
I look forward to more painting in my garden while this borrowed sunshine lingers and hope to post the results of my work here shortly.
I can’t believe it is nearly a year since our exciting trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. We flew into Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor – the land of the awesome Angkor Wat temples.
When I think of Angkor Wat, I think of the centuries-old conflict between the Siamese and Khmer people, the loss of so many lives, the suffering and the lost culture. I think of the enormity of the many temples, their sacred stature, the reverential monks and the common people who continue to pray in them, their grand architecture – their destruction and their saviour.
I tried to encapsulate these thoughts in a painting. The predominant feature to the temples were steps – steps to a higher existence. This painting evolved – the atmosphere was enough to portray my inner thoughts.
Angkor means city or capital – it was once the ancient capital of Cambodia and the centre of the Khmer empire. The empire built many temples all over Cambodia. These temples were in honour of the Hindu gods – Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma.
So many magnificent temples we visited and each had their own story to tell. There were many levels in the temples separated by a series of steep steps and a matching social hierarchical structure.
If you reached the top of the temple, the Buddha statue, adorned with lotus flowers, and incense would be there to greet you. There you would rest from the intense heat and pray (I prayed that I could get back down without killing myself!)
The temples were crowded with tourists and one of the token attractions was that Angkor Wat was used as a background shot for Angelina Jolie as she paddled her boat across the moat that surrounds the temple in the film Tomb Raider.
Note the roots on the trees that seem to strangle the temple. This was a common sight but the reality is that the roots of the trees had ‘knit’ the temple together over time and there is now a reluctance to interfere with this natural evolution.