Crossing Language Barriers

courthouse 2

All good drawing or painting is compositional.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

And so I come to my final night before turning in everything by the competition deadline. Paint Historic Waxahachie will continue until Sunday at 5 p.m., but the judging for the competition takes place Friday afternoon, and all work must be submitted by noon Friday. That means Thursday at 6 p.m. for me, because I cannot leave school in time to get to Waxahachie by noon on Friday.

The painting above will need to be completed and framed by tomorrow evening, so I’ve decided to spend tonight looking it over and making compositional decisions regarding the crowns of trees surrounding the structure underneath. I’m satisfied with how the building has turned out, but am unsure of just how to fill in the foliage around the bottom perimeter. I’m confident I’ll make a decision by the time I pick up the brush tomorrow afternoon.

A wonderful encounter took place on the sidewalk today as I worked on this piece. Three men who work at the Foot Spa near Art on the Square came over and looked at my work, speaking only their own language (Japanese?–I’m still unsure). They gestured to me with thumbs up and smiles and nods and continued talking among themselves as they pored over my work in progress. Finally, the man in the red shirt took out his smart phone, typed Asian characters into his keyboard, and then hit translation. He then showed me his phone–“INK?”  I shook my head and typed “WATERCOLOR” into my phone and showed it to him. Quizzically, he copied “WATERCOLOR” into his own phone, hit the translation key, and then nodded and smiled and gave me a thumbs up.  He then spoke in his language to the other two, and they then nodded and continued to talk.

I felt like I was in the “Dances with Wolves” movie as Kevin Costner tried to discuss “BUFFALO” with the Sioux visiting his campsite. But I felt wonderful.  They hung out with me for about fifteen minutes before returning to work, and we never exchanged words. Yet there was a wonderful connection, thanks to art and phone technology. They watched me paint a little while longer before customers began showing up at their business again.

asian friends

My new friends from the Foot Spa

Before retiring for the night, I prepared six 11 x 14″ frames and one 12 x 16″ to take to Waxahachie tomorrow afternoon. The paintings I’ve completed have to be framed for display, competition and sale. Once the deadline passes, I have to option of continuing to make new paintings in hopes of selling them, or I may just collapse into a long overdue rest period. I’m not sure yet what will happen after 6 tomorrow evening. It’s been quite a grind, but I’m happy with all of it, and cannot wait to see my trio of new friends when I return tomorrow.

UPDATE !!!!   Someone named Caryl just read my blog a few minutes after I posted it, and emailed me to say the men are Chinese, and the establishment is Yayas Foot Spa, featuring ancient Chinese foot massage techniques. Thank you, Caryl!

Thanks for reading and following our events.

I paint in order to learn.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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