Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer Treats

Summer Treats
Gouache and acrylic on paper mounted on birch panels
12" H x 24" W

(Oops, had to make a revision. Woke up this morning and decided it needed more work, so the top image is now really the finished piece. Really.)

The 8th from the series Red Bean Paste and Apple Pie.

This is another one of those junior high school memories. I left Taiwan right after I graduated from junior high (which went through 9th grade), so it's not surprising that so many of these pieces are drawn from memories from that time. The tropics of cancer goes through the southern part of Taiwan, which makes it officially tropical in the south and sub-tropical in the north. But why quibble with such subtle distinctions? It was extremely HOT & HUMID all over the island in the summer time, south or north. One of my favorite things to do is to stop in at the shaved ice shops for a bowl of shaved ice, and we did that almost daily after school, on our way to the bus stop.

Shaved ice in Taiwan isn't like shaved ice here on the continental US or in Hawaii. As far as I can tell, the American shaved ice is shaved ice topped only with syrup, which is so INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTINGLY INFERIOR to the kind you get in Taiwan, topped with all kinds of delicious treats, my favorite being flan, with red beans being a second favorite.

When I first came to the US, I don't think you could even get the American version of shaved ice on the continental US at all. Now I see it, but the syrupy stuff just doesn't appeal to me. Instead, I get to have ice cream sundaes, and milkshakes! I remember my American mom giving everyone milkshakes for dinner one night, when it was really hot. Another time, I had a giant hamberger, followed by a giant sundae!

Ice cream was unusual in Taiwan (when I was growing up). It was a rare treat that we got when we went to the movies, which wasn't very often. When I was a little older (8th or 9th grade), my uncle Lee took us kids to an ice cream shop, and I had a banana split (called a banana boat in Taiwan). I think that may have been the only time I was in an ice cream shop in Taiwan.

I started this early in August when Portland was having its hottest weather in 2012, and naturally, thoughts turn to summer treats — the shaved ice & ice cream, of course, lotus & dahlia, butterflies and a lace parasol to protect against the sun. Here's the progression, with the finished piece at the top.

And I'm very glad that I did not forget the butterflies antennae.

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