Sam’s Trip & Adventure in Arkhangai

14.8.24 WaitingforSam

Sam flew to Mongolia where I was anxiously waiting and doodling to keep from pacing.

We spent a week at my site in Choir so she could see how I am living and ease into preparing for our 90 mile trek and horseback riding experience in the Arkhangai province.

 

SaminMongolia65It was great to be with Samantha in the outdoors and for the both of us one of the longest treks we’ve ever done. Where we were hiking was in a long, flat valley split by weaving river and crowded by mountains on both sides.

 

SaminMongolia44We felt very small in an place that is so vast.

 

14.8.17- SaminMongolia17The river meandered through a beautiful valley that was teeming with many different species of birds such as vultures, hawks, cranes, and swans who flew above the wandering herds of yaks, sheep, goats, and horses.

 

 

14.8.17- SaminMongolia19We were fortunate to meet a wonderful German couple, Nino and Louise, to do the trek with us. They were great travel partners and friends. Throughout our hike we met Mongolian herder families. Some were as enthusiastic about fishing as I was (but not as much as the fly-fisherman Nino) and would join us at the riversides.

 

14.8.17- SaminMongolia95

This was my first fish of the trip! A little Greyling.

 

14.8.17- SaminMongolia100

This was my trophy Lenok Trout.

 

SaminMongolia38It was so much fun learning how to do a fishing trek with Sam. We were rookies at the beginning, but we got the hang of tying our lures, catching fish, cleaning them on the riverbank, and frying ‘em up for dinner.

It was sad to watch Sam go and end our trip, but there are more good things coming! She is a beautiful woman and we share a remarkable relationship that makes me full of love and appreciation every moment!

 

14.8.24 On the Train

After she left I took the train back to Choir sans mustache.

 

14.8.24 TrainOfficerThis man waved my train off with stoic salutation.

 

14.8.24 BarbershopTo get fully cleaned up I went to Grace’s Salon in Choir for a high and tight.

Last night, I woke up at three a.m. and couldn’t go back to bed. I’ve been reading and admiring Shel Silverstein’s work and doodled up my own whimsical ideas in his style based on the first rough lines of poems that bubbled up in my mind.

14.8.25 PoDraw- Itch on My Back

There’s an itch on my back that I can’t quite catch.

14.8.25 PoDraw- Fight with my bed

I had a fight with my bed last night ’cause it woke me up at three.

During the past two days I was enjoying the annual celebration of Naadam, which is an event centered around the three sports of archery, horse racing, and wrestling. I spent most of my time watching wrestling and was most pleased when two of my students participated. One made it to the championship round in his age group and earned 2nd place! A few weeks ago I worked with a friend to put an article and illustrations about people from my school into a Mongolian magazine. 14.7.7 MagazineCover114.7.7 Magazine1.114.7.7 Magazine1.2   I also had an illustration featured in a reeeeal snazzy Mongolian magazine. You can find this one in most upscale Mongolian cafes or magazine reading places. The piece is a wonderfully researched story about a Mongolian conservationist who lived a long life as a hunter and later spent his life telling people to preserve nature. 14.7.7 MagazineCover2 14.7.7 Magazine2Here are my Naadam sketches. Sketching out in public brings me a lot of satisfaction and creates magic that wouldn’t happen if I didn’t practice art in public places. I am able to pull people into wonderful interactions that are very special to me and (I believe) others who are involved. My favorite moments are when people notice something to laugh at in a picture that I’ve drawn and then reflect on how the reality is just as amazing and funny when you look at it with the right creative perspective. Imagine Mongolians looking at the 2nd and 3rd to last pictures and pointing out the actual people and and things from the pictures and from reality and having a chuckle. Tying the two together, public art and reality, is a magically interactive process that I feel lucky to create and be a part of.

14.7.8 MoleskinNaadam1 14.7.8 MoleskinNaadam2 14.7.8 MoleskinNaadam3 14.7.8 MoleskinNaadam4 14.7.8 MoleskinNaadam5 14.7.8 MoleskinNaadam6   Speaking of public art, I took a weekend trip to UB and while at the hostel I met a researcher (in the background) on her way back to England from the jungles of Vietnam. Somehow she brought up art and then found ourselves sharing our common interest of doodling outdoors. We went to the main square to draw the upcoming rock show scene and two boys amongst the many to look over our shoulders started speaking with us. One mentioned he was an artist and wanted to draw me so I gave him a sketchbook and pencil and told him, “While you draw me, I am going to draw you.” We drew each other for about 30 minutes and then exchanged the drawings we did. 14.6.30 PleinAirComp214.6.30 PleinAirComp1 I’ve also printed my first rough draft book with a large selection of my 1st year illustrations and top-of-the-head writing. Right now the book is about 160 pages of unedited illustrations and text. I am going to continue developing the book to cover my two years in Mongolia. I’m pleased with the the first vision, but looking forward to adding more depth and experiences to to collection. Peace Corps Book Cover This is the logo I designed for my upcoming Agaa Egee program at my school. I’ve invested a lot of time developing the concept along with the help of some old Peace Corps Volunteers. I’ve created a good starting manual to organize the program and also am doing my Masters research to assess the outcomes of the project. My goal is to create a program that builds feelings of connectedness and self-esteem. I’ll write more about that later! Print Lastly, I was involved in the redrafting and redesign of the new Peace Corps Mongolia language manual. I worked with an excellent team and spent dozens of hours working on the book to create something very creative and helpful for the future volunteers. I was very happy to put in a lot of my illustrations, which are wrapped around amazing language learning content provided by some very intelligent volunteers.   Cover_Final

China and Yesterday

Here are a few photos of my mom’s trip to Mongolia and to China.

Going to a shrine.

Going to a shrine.

In front of the big Genghis Khan statue in Ulan Bator.

In front of the big Genghis Khan statue in Ulan Bator.

The ladies. My mother, an English teacher, and the School Director.

The ladies. My mother, an English teacher, and the School Director.

Mom and our guide.

Mom and our guide.

Taking the evening to sketch.

Taking the evening to sketch.

Climbing up a steep section of the Great Wall.

Climbing up a steep section of the Great Wall.

What is she doing!?

What is she doing!?

In the Forbidden City.

In the Forbidden City.

A plein air day near the soccer competition.

A plein air day near the soccer competition.

IMG_2582

China and Back

14.4.29 CalChina Blue

At the end of April, my mother and I went to Beijing.

14.4.29 China Punk Show1

I went to a rock show.

14.4.29 China Punk Show2

A few nights later, I went to a punk rock show.

14.4.29 BeijingSceneIn the few days that we were in Beijing we did many things. We spent 2-days hiking and one night camping on unrestored parts of the Great Wall. We rode bikes at night and ate Peking Duck. Of course we went to the Forbidden City. We also spent some time in the National Art Gallery and National Museum.

14.5.18 PleinAir HorizonNow, I am back in Choir and the weather is much better for doing art outside. While I was doing this piece two boys walked up to look at what I was working on. We talked for a few moments before they left. I watched them turn around and walk back to say, “Can you teach us how to do art?”

I’ll be teaching an outdoor art lesson on Monday.

Spring

Yesterday, we got our first rain of the year. Let me back up. A week ago I was in the capital helping to update the Peace Corps Mongolia Language Manual for the incoming class of M25 volunteers. Between work I would spend time relaxing at the hostel where other international travelers would wander in from their vagabond adventures. I met an Australian man who was on the precipice of returning home after spending 18 months as a volunteer in Mongolia. A friend and I asked him, What are you looking forward to in Australia? And he replied, Well, the Australian environment is very much like Mongolia especially with the light. It isn’t yellowed like in the Mediterranean. It is piercing. 

14.3.13 CalHe continued, But the big difference is the lack of rain. I’m looking forward to spending a whole day sitting inside while it is raining. Ya know, where you can smell it before it hits and then the temperature drops and the whole environment just feels wet while you hear it pour down on the roof. Yeah, I’m looking forward to that.

Yesterday, it rained.

A short one with illustrations

I wanted to provide a very short update with a few illustrations. I’ve started working with the Mongolian Gender and Equality Center on creating a comic about several cases for awareness materials. My guitar club has been popular and there are a few students who are developing some new hidden talents. My art club is also very entertaining and there is one student who is interested in fashion and she has got great talent and drive.

I recently met with Andrew Seiss, a young 23-year old, who is walking around the world. We happened to be in South America at the same time several years ago and by chance met the same people. He was riding his bike from his home state of Minnesota to the Tierra del Fuego and back. A great adventurer and new friend.

The vision for this Mongolia book is started to take form and hopefully these illustrations will be collected with my thoughts when I get back. In the meantime, enjoy these new additions.

13.11.18 Andrew Walking 13.11.18 Andrew 13.11.18 Blue Green Truck 13.11.18 Fire Truck 13.11.18 Mongol Boy 13.11.18 Motorcycle 13.11.18 Police Van 13.11.18 Porter Truck