Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Chitwan and the Rhino encounter

Chitwan and the Rhino Encounter

 

Continuing our travel adventures in Nepal, we took a boat ride along the Rapti River, followed by a jeep safari.

Anthills in the jungle
Anthills in the jungle

Driving along, we spot lots of deer (the Bambi type) so sweet!

Monkeys jumped through the trees and I imagined I could hear David Attenborough whispering tales of this meandering secretive and somewhat threatening jungle. Continue reading “Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Chitwan and the Rhino encounter”

Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Kathmandu

Art + Travel Adventure to Kathmandu

Boudhnath Stupa, Nepal - Pilgrims circulate clockwise, spinning prayer wheels
Boudhnath Stupa, Nepal – Pilgrims circulate clockwise, spinning prayer wheels

Discovering Kathmandu

Discovering the allure of the Kathmandu valley with its ancient  history is all-embracing.  It is small and compact covering an area of 220 square miles.   There are seven World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO which is a number unrivalled anywhere else in the world. Continue reading “Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Kathmandu”

Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Bhaktapur

Art + Travel in Bhaktapur

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.

Bhaktapur streets
Bhaktapur streets

Continue reading “Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Bhaktapur”

Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Setting out!

Boudhnath Stupa, Nepal
Boudhnath Stupa, Nepal

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!”

Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Coach travel

More impressions of Nepal :  Coach travel

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!

Coach Travel Adventure – Nepal

Continue reading “Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Coach travel”

Art Award of Excellence – Gateway to Heaven

Receiving this award of excellence was heavenly:

Gateway to Heaven 16 x 12 Oil on block canvas
Gateway to Heaven
16 x 12 Oil on block canvas

Award of Excellence 

from Four Points Contemporary 3rd Biannual Competition

with my painting entitled Gateway to Heaven

This Competition was juried by Flavia Cosma, the Executive

Director Int’l Writers & Artists’ Residency Quebec, Canada.

Press Release

Art + Travel Adventure Nepal – Chitwan National Park – Day 1

Continuing on with my tale of beautiful Nepal, we set off for Chitwan National Park, where we would spend the next three days.

Chitwan National  Park – Day One

Established in 1973, Chitwan National Park is the first national park in Nepal  and was  granted the status of World Heritage 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!

Art + Travel Adventure Nepal - Chitwan National Park - Day 1 scenes from the road
Scenes from the road to Chitwan National Park
Art + Travel Adventure Nepal - Chitwan National Park - Day 1- Roadside goats on the way to Chitwan National Park
Roadside goats on the way to Chitwan National Park
Scenes from the Road Art + Travel Adventure Nepal - Chitwan National Park - Day 1
Scenes from the road and the Nepalese landscape

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.

Oxen Carts Art + Travel Adventure Nepal - Chitwan National Park - Day 1
Oxen Carts

Local villagers look on with an air of curiosity – how different our lives are!

Ox carts
Ox carts

We come upon the elephant breeding centre.  This rural atmosphere seemed absolutely charming.

Elephant Reserve - Art + Travel Adventure Nepal - Chitwan National Park - Day 1
Elephant Reserve –

Elephant Reserve - Art + Travel Adventure Nepal - Chitwan National Park - Day 1 Elephant Reserve - Art + Travel Adventure Nepal - Chitwan National Park - Day 1

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!

 

Crocodiles in the water
Crocodiles basking along the bank and in the water alongside us!!!

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.

Herding Buffalo
Herding Buffalo

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.

Life is good!

My Meraki Painting

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

Sunlight through the trees
Meraki 10 x 14″ Oil on Canvas

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.

I hope you like it.

Make hay while the sun shines

Miniature Oil paintings

Having just come back from a trip to the west coast of Ireland and in particular the very beautiful  Co. Clare,  my mind was racing with images and photographs of subject matter for painting.

The Loop Head Peninsula is where the River Shannon opens out to the Atlantic Ocean.  Next stop – America!

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.

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.

 

Stairway to Heaven and Angkor Wat

Stairway to Heaven and Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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.

In 1901 the École Française d’Extrême Orient (EFEO) provided funding and took responsibility for clearing and restoring the Angkor and the ruins were rediscovered.  Angkor has since been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

Stairway to heaven - Angkor Watt - the temple steps lead the way to a higher existence, to the Gods, to Buddha, a place of prayer in a sacred temple
Stairway to heaven – Angkor Watt – 40 x 50 cms Oil on block canvas

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 Wat (Wat temple) is the central feature of the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site containing the magnificent remains of the Khmer civilization. Angkor Wat's rising series of five towers culminates in an impressive central tower that symbolizes mythical Mount Meru. Thousands of feet of wall space are covered with intricate carving depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.
View of Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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.

The gateway to Angkor Watt
The gateway to Angkor Watt

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.

Buddha in temple at Angkor Watt
Buddha in temple at Angkor Watt

 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!)

Steps at Angkor Watt - Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market. In the city, there are traditional Apsara dance performances, craft shops, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake.
The dizzy heights of Angkor Wat and a seldom seen modern stairwell assists your descent.

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.

The scene for Tomb Raider with a constant flow of tourists in Angkor Wat, angelina jolie
The scene for Tomb Raider with a constant flow of tourists in Angkor Wat

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.

The view from one of the levels of Angkor Wat
The view from one of the levels of Angkor Wat
Travelling by the sacred cow in Cambodian village
Travelling by the sacred cow in Cambodian village

 

Buddhist monks stroll through the temple
Buddhist monks stroll through the temple

 

 

 

 

Related Post: The Fruit Seller and Cambodian Culinary Delights