Year of the Tiger...grrrrrr

Happy Chinese New Year  !!!   In Asia it is a total all out experience that lasts for several weeks.  My daughter, (who lived in HK) , and I spent a week celebrating Chinese New Year. Would you enjoy viewing my 1,000 photos? Didn't think so. I will restrain myself.

This year is the Year of the Tiger. If you LOVE enthusiasm and pure joy; families dressed in their finest clothing; children showcased in traditional Asian clothing; the color RED; Pussy Willows tinted RED along with all sorts of other flowers;  Fireworks that boom and explode like glitter filled rockets over the entire skyline of Hong Kong; colorful paper decorations and Asian shrines; Good Luck RED envelopes with a few dollars tucked inside for special friends and family; mobiles that dangle fish, Asian characters, monkeys, scrolls and lots of RED tissue paper; hoards of crowds celebrating the beginning of a New Year; well then you must go to Asia, anywhere in Asia for the experience of Chinese New Year.

My daughter is sitting stiff as a Buddha, in a line of a hundred golden Buddhas lining very steep stairs. The Wishing Tree is LADEN with red and gold paper stuffed  with good wishes for the New Year.

We have several family members who have lived or are living in Asia. I have totally fallen under its spell......the people, the food, the exotic spices, the hustle and bustle of big cities and the quiet, simple life in the out lying villages. Everywhere is something to learn and observe, it is a beautiful world filled with sincere, happy, joyful, worshipful people.

One of my favorite ways to explore and record our travels is through my Art Journals.   Here are a few to enjoy.

Collage on black paper journal. Glazed. Original acrylic painting of dancer.

Asian papers used for background. Clippings from brochures, photo from original painting adhered to paper with soft gel medium.  Crayon coloring.

Asian wrapping paper from museum shop. Chinese folk art feature. White Night by Mary Oliver.

The Chinese are consummate artists be it sculpture, gold work, carving, painting, brush and ink, decorative stitchery or calligraphy. One of my favorites was collecting post cards and prints of Chinese Folk Art, sometimes known as Peasant Painting. Modern folk art painting is at once ancient and young. There is a revival of beautifully painted generic Chinese scenes of everyday, common activities. There is no ostentatious pretension. The small paintings possess the fervor, simplicity and straightforward qualities of the laboring people. 

Our four little 'muggers' who live in Asia love to paint and draw. They are dressed in Chinese New Year clothing. Each created a card for  Candy Grammy and Grampa.


There are some FABULOUS artists who create books for children and adults. They showcase the traditions, holidays, foods, crafts, etc. And although there are many, I have chosen to present a few that have exceptional illustrations.

Six years ago my daughter gave me one of  Lorette Roberts beautiful watercolor sketchbooks, Sights and Secrets of Hong Kong. Loretta lives in Great Britain but has spent many years wandering the streets, alley ways, observing and recording her impressions of Asia. I remember being so totally enthralled with her work, I had to take it to bed with me every night to just enjoy the art!  I worked up the nerve to email her and tell her much I enjoyed her artwork. Very friendly and gregarious, she offered to meet me. This was unbelievable!!!  I was 'over the moon' excited. The day of our outing I got terribly sick. I NEVER get sick when traveling. I had to cancel and felt so horrible and disappointed.

Fast forward to this year, only we are in Singapore. We noticed an add that Loretta was teaching a one day sketching class at the RITZY RAFFLES HOTEL. Was there a place for my husband and me?  The answer was YES!!!!!  An eager and excited class gathered at the inner court of the Raffles Hotel....think Colonial  and Fancy Nancy!!!  After introducing ourselves, she shared some ideas, thoughts and techniques. We all scattered and drew our impressions. Later we celebrated over the famous Singapore Sling.  Visit Lorette at her website listed on the right hand side of the blog.     All of the participants were so happy to be sitting in a beautiful setting, sketching their points of view and having Lorette drop by speaking encouragement in her soft British accent as she shared a few pointers and ideas.

Later I found her Sketches of Hong Kong, 2010 Calendar, a photo shown here. Perhaps you could order from  her website.

Nothing really fancy about her sketching materials. She just GOES FOR IT!!!

The famous Singapore Sling....virgin or otherwise. 

My friend, Ellen Williams created many kimonos out of paper for an art exhibit a few years. It was a huge undertaking on her part. But fearlessly she created an amazing Asian paper wardrobe. Very original. In homage to all of her work I painted a canvas to remind  her of her vision, perseverance and execution of exquisite workmanship.

May you all have a wonderful Year of the Tiger. May all your artistic dreams come true.

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