Monday, February 23, 2015

You are invited!

I want to personally invite you to visit our opening of "China Minorities-American Perceptions".  Mary Frankel and I will open our show on Friday, March 6, 2015 from 6-8:00PM at the Christ Church Cathedral's Cloister Gallery located at 1117 Texas Avenue, Houston, TX 77002.  We have created over 30 original oil paintings to share our impressions of the minority regions of  Southern China with our fellow Americans.  Here is our flier with more information.
Hope to see you there!   ---Vicky Gooch

Friday, February 20, 2015

What a Journey!

What a journey it has been; first, traveling to the minority regions of China, and second, to return to America and create over 30 paintings with fellow artist Vicky Gooch.

I have a variety of different kinds of friends and acquaintances, and one thing I noticed when I got back is that everyone has strong opinions and feelings about the country of China either way. Let me just say that it was not my intention to make a political statement about China, but rather to give my ‘impressions’ of the China I visited.

In 1944 Aaron Copland wrote the orchestral suite Appalachian Spring.  The war was raging in Europe and Copland wanted to remind people that there was still beauty to be found in the world. Like Copland, it is my wish that you will find beauty represented in the paintings I have created from visiting this ancient, diverse and magical region of the world.

Thank you for going with me on this journey.

Sincerely, Mary Frankel, March 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tomorrow's Child

All we ever know about the future is that it won’t look like today.  One of my perceptions of the minority regions of China was that of an area in the midst of great changes. Airports, train tracks and shiny new highways bring people to and from these mountains now. 

Tourists from all around the world flock to his area to enjoy the scenery and local customs.  At the same time young adults leave for jobs in the cities.  The new and the old mix as grandparents care for small children who stay behind.  It makes me think of our own American farmers who for such a long time now have lost their young people to the appeal of the big city.

We often think of China as being on the opposite side of the globe from us.  The language, both spoken and written is about as different as you can get.  It seems a challenge to move past our preconceived ideas of people with such different ways.   And yet, when we stand close and look into the eyes of a child we see that we all have dreams; dreams for a happy life with peace, prosperity and special people to love.  And we all wonder what the future will hold.

 Detail "Shy Dreamers"
by Vicky Gooch
24" X 18" Oil on Linen
 Detail "Shy Dreamers"
by Vicky Gooch
24" X 18" Oil on Linen

Friday, January 23, 2015

A River Runs Through It – Zhenyuan by Mary Frankel

Day 12 of our journey brought us to Zhenyuan, an ancient town inhabited by the Miao people for 2,000 years.  This tranquil river town is called the ‘Oriental Venice’ and for good reason.  I was quickly charmed as I strolled along the Wuyang River, enjoying the shimmering reflections on the emerald green water. 

Painting this moment in time brings back peaceful and relaxing memories, and if you were comparing Zhenyuan to Venice – she would be the quiet, shy and peaceful older sister.
A River Runs Through It - Zhenyuan (detail)

By Mary Frankel

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Water Buffalo Dance or "What's for Dinner?"

The Miao people (Hmong in their dialect) are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Southwest China. Most Miao villages are just of a few families. They are nestled on hillsides among mountains and rivers.  The weather is mild with a generous rainfall, and the area is rich in natural resources which made it easy for these villages to prosper independently for centuries.

We visited the Xijiang Miao Village which is the largest Miao Village with only 1,000 homes.   The Miao people have a rich tradition of singing and dancing at their festivals and a reputation for extending a warm welcome to visitors.
We had a nice dinner followed by a folk dance performance.  The hats are made of a shiny foil that does not weigh down the dancers.  They are embossed with symbolism and topped with the shape of water buffalo horns.  The costume is adorned with elaborate hand embroidery.

If you pound dough long enough with large wooden hammers it will actually cook into a chewy bread.

I was selected from the audience to be part of the entertainment. Silly questions and rice wine.  I was a little nervous.  I didn't really understand the question.  It was in Chinese.  I think they asked what I had for dinner.  But maybe not because I was picked up and carried away!

The lavish costumes and the joy expressed by these young women made them an easy choice for a painting.

 Detail “Dancing Miao”

By Vicky Gooch
18” X 24” Oil on Linen

From Guiyang to Kaili with Miao Villages

View Guiyang, Guizhou in a larger map

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Man of Good Fortune - by Mary Frankel

In ancient times the Baiyue ethnic group, the ancestor of today’s Dai ethnic minority, lived alongside with elephants in the south of Yunnan Province. Dai people and wild elephants dwelling in Yunnan’s tropical forests continue to get along very well with each other. 

Since the Dai Minority people regard elephants as the symbol of the mighty and the strong, the chaste and the steady, they treat elephants as the key topic in all forms of art and literature, and they pin their pursuit for "the true, the kind and the beautiful" on elephants. 

In Chinese, the phrase ‘elephant rider’ sounds similar to ‘auspicious’ or ‘fortunate’.  My latest painting is of this magnificent, but sadly, vanishing animal and her fortunate riders in Xishuangbanna, China.

"Elephant Rider"

By Mary Frankel
16" X 12" Oil on Linen