For eight weeks Brianna and I rented an apartment in Beijing, on the second ring road, near the lama temple, just outside the city.
It was a studio apartment with two queen size beds, a small kitchen, bathroom, laundry and balcony - with a view across the street to other apartments. . . . nothing flash, but comfortable and very central. Safe!!
I was thrilled that Arron was able to spend a couple of weeks with us exploring. An incredible experience, to share The Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, the Summer Palace . . .and many other unique experiences with my children . . . .
During the day, the businesses downstairs would be in total flux as they were renovating, expanding and resizing.
The entire place bustled with activity,ensuring there was always a spectacle or some form to observe.
Don't get me wrong. I did not have rosy glasses on all the time.
There were many things of which I did not approve, like or understand.
I did not like the pushing, the putrid smells of drains and stinky tofu . . . the public spitting.
I did not approve of the chaotic traffic, shoving and sheer mass of people and the obvious attempts at cheating you.
I found the tangible smog of pollution depressing . . . & the obvious lack of birds disconcerting.
I did not understand the language, the perceived rudeness's or the need to haggle continuously.However, there were many, many things of which I approved, enjoyed, marvelled at, photographed and wished I could bottle and bring back with me to Brisbane, Australia. I admired the gardens everywhere. The amalgamation of species from different climates seemed to thrive in one garden plot. Standard weeping wisteria, roses, bamboo, grasses & shrubs.
I adored the colours everywhere. Be they in the food, the paintings, carvings, lights, reflections, foliage, flowers and clothing.
I admired the imagination, creativity and ability to produce work of an admirable quality, under less than satisfactory conditions.
I liked the humour, ability to laugh at themselves, the hunger to learn and the ability to share knowledge.Combining the more traditional with modern concepts.
I had originally applied and received approval to attend a residency at the RED GATE residency, just outside Beijing for 2 - 3 months (hoping to obtain the allocation of time that would coincide with leaving Brianna in Jinan after our 6 week holiday . . . . . when she had resumed her studies and the weather was still warm enough to survive comfortably. . . .September, October, November 2011)
I intended on furthering my studies in layering, paint effects & paper cut, so that I could incorporate them with more productivity and accuracy into my printmaking.
I have used grounds, layering and paper cut outs and stencils for years. I tend to use a layering printing process (combining block, screen and intaglio) with found and created objects, printed onto canvas, which I then cutout, paint and layer.
Studying these processes under expert tutelage was something I envisioned as being highly beneficial & enjoyable. . . . .
Exceptionally detailed works are plentiful and varied. Shown in portfolios through out the art/craft shops. Many now are cut by machine . . .
Alas! the timing for this particular proposal was not appropriate. I was offered a later time slot, (from September - October, then Jan - March) which would mean that I had a few months between leaving Brianna and commencing the final part of the approved residency. I would need to leave the country to renew my visa and find alternative accommodation for the few months in between the two time slots.
Also, The January, February and March period in Beijing can get to - as low as -30 degrees. . . . did you see that minus? I was informed that it is a dry cold and therefore more tolerable . . . . however, and this is by no means a little HOWEVER!!! being from PNG and Queensland, I did not feel that this GIRL would be able to acclimatize and enjoy a stint in such conditions . . ..
regardless of the obvious attractions. . . .
and believe me the attractions were hard to resist. (BUMMER!!!!!!! I want to be resistant to cold and 20 again!)Regardless of the disappointment I had many opportunities to see some interesting works.
I did visit many places were they practise the printmaking and paper cut out traditions and where they are adapting them to more modern techniques.
It was great to see the diversity of materials & styles. . . .from the more traditional to the obvious ones with a modern flavour. Layered paper cut using grounds and black paper. Huge cutouts & Traditional cut outs
I was aware of the ability of many artists to ignore copyright and ownership of any sort . . . . people seem to BORROW ideas and repeat processes, without any obvious consideration of who may have previously DONE a similar work.
Throughout the markets and art district works were blatantly repeated ? . . . . . .copied ? . . .. . . .Borrowed ? Painting seen repeated. Ink drawing on wall. Paper cut multi- layered
Then you would turn the corner of some obscure Hutong and there stencilled/drawn/etched/grafitied or painted on the dirty wall, were works that gave you something to think about . . . . an emotional message with some originality?
Stencil of girl on old hutong wall. Grafitti? Etching on glass window
Yes, as I have said on numerous occasions . . . .China gives you much to think about . . . .
Bri, how you manage to live there alone, is beyond my grasp . . . there is no way I would have endured CHINA without your company, let alone at your age and level of experience. I am in awe of your capabilities. . . . . . . Sooooooooo a HUGE thankyou. )
or maybe it is time to . . . . just SIT - or even take some advise and RELAX !!!?
But, be it sitting with some thinking or just sitting . .. .I know all the things I have enjoyed, fought the traffic to see, shared, photographed, documented, drawn, painted and thought about - will eventually percolate into something to create . . . .
Thank you to my delightful and clever daughter, Brianna . . . . .I adored your company, strength, enthusiasm and ability to communicate with the People.
View her blog at http://poiseonarrows.blogspot.com/(Without this huge asset of language, I do not think the trip would have been as incredible and I certainly would not have been able to understand what the people we met, were trying to say. . . . and we would not have known which individuals to avoid!!!!
and thank you China. . . . . what a spectacle!!!! I'm glad I have seen you NOW.
I think given the current pace of change it will be a completely different animal in a very short space of time. Just in the period between our last two trips, a mere span of 4 years, the changes have been mammoth.
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!! Yes, it has been an eventful and extremely pleasant journey.