Portland: Drawing, Books, and Printmaking!
Portland – In early June I returned to Portland, Oregon where I’ve been busy balancing various projects, steadily working on print designs, and reading up on Burma.
Earlier this week, I met with some extraordinary local printmakers to discuss printing methods, the finer points of paper varieties, and a production timeline. It’s really exciting that the Thailand Burma Flora Fauna project has entered this stage of production.
Thank you all for your continued interest and support with this endeavor!
Works in Progress
Asian Elephant - After struggling with a design which first featured an extinct variety of rhinoceros and then later the Asian Elephant, I finally abandoned it and (quite literally) went back to the drawing board to rework the picture. Finally, the newer image feels like it’s on the right track!
Sun Bear – The design for a print featuring the elusive Sun Bear is nearly complete! For now, here are some detail images.
Additional Print - I’ve also been making drawings of Bagan, Burma in blue colored pencil. This will potentially be the additional print design that some Kickstarter supporters will receive for increasing their pledge during the funding campaign. (It would be printed in black, as a linocut or letterpress.)
Garden Drawings - This summer so far, I have been spending my off-time gardening and growing vegetables. It’s been enjoyable to draw from the garden as well. If you can’t tell, I’m really into sketching with a cheerful blue color these days.
Reverse Culture Shock + the Big Burma Book Report
Reading - Part of the way I’ve been processing my reverse culture shock (it’s a thing!) and reflecting on this recent time spent in SE Asia has been by avidly reading about Burma and its history.
Curiously, it seems that the more I seek to understand about Burma, the less that I actually know. While the history of any single subject is bound to be complex, for me the shaping of present day Myanmar, seemingly the result of an endlessly labyrinthine trajectory of events, is particularly captivating.
Books - For those of you who would like to broaden your understanding of Burma, I highly recommend reading the books of Emma Larkin. This spring and summer I read Finding George Orwell in Burma and No Bad News for the King– both fascinating and well written documents.
Upon returning to Portland, I reread Burma Chronicles, by Guy Delisle and Quartered Safe Out Here, a WW2 memoir by a Scottish solider named George MacDonald Fraser. Reading Quartered Safe Out Here was a bit too much like eating lunch at the local V.F.W. with my grandfather in the early 1980’s. I also attempted to read some much hyped fiction, The Piano Tuner, but it just wasn’t for me.
Currently, I’m reading 30 Heritage Buildings of Yangon. What I love about this book is that it is a positive and crystal-clear presentation of the current state of heritage architecture in Burma’s former capital city of Yagon.
It offers not only a concise history 30 unique buildings, but also details the potential of these structures available for restoration and renovation. Any one of them could join the ranks of the Strand Hotel, a Yangon landmark– that is, if they are not torn down to make way for newer construction. Follow this link to watch a video of The Strand Hotel.
Also, I am currently reading two 100+ year old books authored by V.C. Scott O’Conner. Those books are The Silken East (1904) and another called Mandalay, and Other Cities of the Past in Burma (1908).
The lens through which V.C. Scott O’Conner wrote is now outdated, but none-the-less his books are filled with his fascinating photographs and oral histories that he learned while holding government appointments in Burma in the 1890s.
On deck, I just found a nice hardcover of From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe, and am searching for a used copy of No Time for Dreams by San San Tin, which is proving a little more difficult to locate for a good price.
Thank you all for your continued support of this project! I’m excited to have entered this next stage of production and will keep you updated on the progress as it unfolds.