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Wringing Out The Sponge

Travel Paintings in Progress

Paintings in progress. I’m attempting to wring out the sponge of my experiences into them.

As promised, today is the day that I reveal the new series of work that I’ve begun.

But first I have a little explaining to do.

I am a nomad.  Or at least I used to be until we finally landed here in Central Ohio. (With no plans of leaving in the foreseeable future!)  I have lived in 6 states and 1 foreign country (over 16 homes!) due to my parents divorces/remarriages when I was young and my husband’s academic career as an adult.

Additionally, my family enjoys traveling whenever possible.  The kids have gotten used to long car rides to visit our friends and relatives all over the country.  We’ve also been fortunate to fly overseas on a few trips.

That is some rich material that shouldn’t be wasted!  My plan is to wring out the sponge of those memories and experiences on to paper and canvas, then call it my Travel Series.  This could take awhile!

At the moment, I’m concentrating on China.  My family journeyed there last summer and it made quite an impression on us!  My new paintings are based on several aspects of my observations over there:

Banyan Tree next to railroad tracks

A Banyan Tree in Hong Kong growing in the gravel on the side of the railroad tracks.


I was enamored by the Banyan Trees in Hong Kong.  They were bent, contorted, and resilient, growing in seemingly impossible places.  There was a hidden beauty and wisdom contained in that gnarled wood and I am determined to cull it out.

Photo References and drawings of Chinese Banyan Trees

Photo references and drawings of the unique,
contorted Banyan trees I observed in Hong Kong

Chinese storefronts and markets

Photo references of Chinese markets and storefronts


Another aspect of China that I’ve begun to paint are the marketplaces, vendors, and storefronts that I caught glimpses of in my travels.  Color is the main connector, along with shapes and pattern, but also a tattering around the edges.   What I essentially found was an interesting dichotomy between the old and the new.  The modern juxtaposed with the traditional.  I hope to be able to capture this in my paint.

Painting in Progress of a Chinese Marketplace

A painting in progress- My impressions of a Chinese Marketplace

Man in Cycle Rickshaw

A man resting in his Rickshaw in Beijing. What I love about this photo is the proud dignity he projects. 


This is a hard one to define.  The best way I can think to describe it is the proud dignity of the culture. If you’ve ever seen the movie, The Last Emperor, you might glimpse what I’m getting at – the dignity of the Young Emperor, steeped in honoring his family traditions.

The paintings born from this aspect are filled with color, pattern,  and somehow capture the essence of that proud dignity.  A tall order, but I’m up for the challenge!

Dancing Dragon Flower in Progress

A painting in progress called Dancing Dragon Flower- an attempt to depict the proud dignity I observed in the Chinese culture.

As you can see, I’ve just begun painting this series and even defining what I’m painting.  Both may develop and change as time wears on.  In the meantime, I’m happy to share where I am and where I think I’m headed.

I’d love to hear your observations about the paintings I’m attempting to create and the ideas behind them.   I find that its easy to overlook things that may be obvious to others because I’m so close to the source.

In the meantime, it’s back to work I go.  There’s more sponge wringing left to do!

Have A Great Week!

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Gee whiz! You never cease to inspire the heck out of me!
    Oh, Dawn, I am so excited for you about this series. I love what you are doing with these Chinese paintings. And I believe if you end up doing a Banyan Tree painting, that is one I will NOT BE ABLE TO RESIST BUYING FROM YOU. I have a thing for banyan trees.
    Wow. I cannot wait to see what comes out of you during this stage! SO exciting!!
    GO, Dawn, GO!!

    February 28, 2014
    • Wow, thanks Wendy! I’m so glad that that you like my ideas- I’ll be sure to give you first dibs on the Banyan Tree Paintings!:) Love you!xo

      March 1, 2014

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