Drum beaters – Bhutan

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Druk Yul 2001

“Land of the Dragon”

Paintings on handmade paper from Bhutan, Saunders waterford paper, Arches 90 wt. paper, rice paper, gouache, watercolor, pen and ink, Caran d’ache crayons, bamboo, prayer pages, postages stamps, Xerox  from traditional  school of art in Thimphuwoodblock print, silver rubbing wax, graphite, fabric, color xerox, transfer prints.

size 10″ x 8″

I sketched the drum beaters  dance when I was in Paro at the Buddhist Tsechu festival honoring Guru Rinpoche born from a lotus flower.  Dances are performed by monks wearing ornate costumes and fantastic masks.

 

Getting Locked in the National Library – Bhutan

One morning I took a taxi up the hill to see Mynak Tulku, the archivist at the National Library in Thimphu. He wasn’t there so I spent hours between the stacks painting all alone. Manuscripts are imprinted using wood blocks. The prayers are printed or written on long strips of handmade paper. These are stacked between two pieces of wood and  are wrapped in brilliantly colored cloth or in silk cloth held together with a leather thong. When I was hungry and tired I packed up and went hunting for the exit. All the lights were turned off. There was no one in the building. I wondered if they would come back after lunch or if they were closed until the next day. I had no phone with me. Deciding I’d better find an alternative way to get out I checked windows and any other possible exits. No luck, so I went back to the huge tall main door, went up to it and unlocked it, pushed and it opened quite easily. I was out in the bright sunshine, still all alone. So I started walking down the hill, eventually finding Thimphu. Click on the image to see the transfer print and sample of traditional textiles used for Bhutanese clothing.

Varnish and Ink from Bhutan Cover my Hands

Yesterday I did pick up a brush, but it was for polyurethane varnish. I went over to a friend’s studio where I met her daughter, a blogger I had been following. http://thegirlinthehat.wordpress.com/ While we kept our hands busy making something, we quizzed each other about wordpress and blogging. It was great fun – fun to see each other’s faces and to have a conversation in person.

Seeking suggestions on what to add to the Bhutan scrolls I had made earlier, I brought them with me. Along with the scrolls, I brought prayer paper from Thimpu. When I was visiting Thimpu, I spent an afternoon at the saturday art school; we looked at each other’s work and painted together.  After school, one of the students took me to a store where I bought some prayer books. Actually, the books were separate pieces of printed handmade paper. Yesterday, I felt close to Bhutan. My wet varnish stained hands were covered with Bhutanese ink from the prayer paper. What will become of the box? Maybe it will become part of an Artist’s book about that part of the world at the base of Mt. Everest. Mt. Everest is so high; the white mountain was above the clouds on a clear day as we were flying towards the Paro airport. As usual, click on the images to see them bigger.

What Shall I do with the Handmade paper I created?

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Behind the Veteran’s Building  2001

Handmade paper using plant life from Napa, CA. pen and ink, watercolor,

Parchment paper, ink jet print, stamps, raffia, plastic

7 x 5 inches

It’s really easy to make your own paper. All you need is some scraps of paper, a blender from the kitchen and a framed screen. You’ll need some felt to sop up the excess water. After collecting leaves and tiny flowers I made the pulp. Before the new piece of paper was dry I inserted straw for a tie.  One day when my husband and I went on a hike, I jotted down some notes along the way. When I made this book I just just left the notes the way they were, made the font really tiny and printed it. The grasses and tiny flowers were collected during the hike. This kind of handmade book is called a single signature book, an Artist’s book.