Thursday, May 03, 2012

Her Love of Green Vegetables Reaches Mythical Proportions

Her Love of Green Vegetables Reaches Mythical Proportions
Gouache and acrylic on paper mounted on birch panels
12" h x 24"

The 3rd from the series Red Bean Paste and Apple Pie.

I seem to have mostly recovered from my hand injury, or at least have it under control. Since the beginning of the year, I've been spending hours a day painting, using little tiny brushes to create fine details. I had a break when I worked on The Laundry Maze, but went straight back to long days of painting after that. By mid March, I could not move my thumb, and it was painful. Then I had another break–a trip to Taiwan followed by a week of taxes, a week of helping another artist with technical stuff, and another week of kitchen remodeling stuff–before I returned to finish this painting. While I was in Taiwan, I was able to see a doctor, and my hand was taken care of. All without health insurance, and for a grand total of about $50. (Thanks mom!) Now I just have to remember to stop and move my hand around every hour or so, and do my therapy once a day. It all seems to be under control.

Ok, so some background on this piece:

Growing up in Taiwan, my favorite vegetable was the water spinach, a relative of the morning glory (another 5-petaled flower). I only had it once between 1975 (when I left Taiwan) and 1983, my first return visit. Later, when I visited Mainland China, our national guide found out that was my favorite greens, she called ahead everywhere on our itinerary, and we never failed to have water spinach on the table at every meal. And also never failed would the the local guides' remarks that I was "so easy to feed, because that's pig food!" It grows in such abundance and so easily that they feed it to the pigs.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, water spinach is not so easy to come by, but I love rainbow chard almost as much. And we all know that the unicorn goes with rainbow chard just like the water dragon goes with water spinach, but of course.

And here's how this piece started. For some reason, this reminds me of Cirque du Soleil:

Here I'm adding some water spinach leaves on stalks:

The water (a very famous body of water) and the water dragon are started:

And the dragon comes to life...?

Now I move to the other side; first the rainbow chard:

Then comes the sky and the unicorn:

And finally, the finished piece is the image at the top. There are a couple of things I might change yet, but for now, I'm setting it aside. I've started to prep the panels for the next piece. Might be able to finish attaching the paper to the boards tonight and start painting tomorrow.


Susan Gallacher-Turner and Mike Turner said...

I love seeing your process and progress. The unicorn, rainbow chard are personal favorites. I look forward to seeing the rest of the series. And I'm so glad you got help for your hand, after breaking my wrist, I can totally relate to how hard it is to not be able to do the work your want because of pain. And keep up those exercises...I still have todo mine, when I forget, my body reminds me!

fingerstothebone said...

Thank you for your lovely comment, Susan.

I didn't know you broke your wrist. When? Hope it's healing well?

gl. said...

wow, neat! it looks really detailed.

fingerstothebone said...

gl, I hope that means you like it?!

gl. said...

was "wow, neat!" unclear?

Gloria Freshley Art and Design said...

Beautiful, beautiful work!

fingerstothebone said...

Thank you, Gloria!

Michael5000 said...

Atop the quoted wave rides an Eastern dragon; the unicorn (with her delightfully impractical long, long horn) seems to hail from an illuminated text of the medieval west. It's almost... bicultural. AND LOOK AT THAT SKY!

I wants it. My birthday is coming up.

fingerstothebone said...

M5K -- I'm sure that can be arranged! And the unicorn should look familiar too, it's your favorite unicorn at the Cloisters.

Catherine Alice said...

Wow, Shu-Ju, this painting is A-MA-zing. I love the complexity of meaning as much as the painting.
Beautiful, Catherine