Art at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering!

 

I received some incredible photos from my art show, which celebrates the cowboy poet and hero Georgie Sicking. Thanks to all of you who made this possible, from the custom frame builder to the all the folks in Elko who celebrate Western heritage including cowboy poetry. Of course, I give my utmost respect and thanks to Georgie who lives life her way and the rest of the cowboy poets and their families who stand behind the life and art of cowboy poetry!
14.10.8 Georgie Sicking 614.10.8 Georgie Sicking 3 14.10.8 Georgie Sicking 214.10.8 Georgie Sicking 514.10.8 Georgie Sicking 414.10.8 Georgie Sicking 1

Thailand & the new school year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The school year in Mongolia recently started and I am busy back at work. Since the start of September I’ve been creating some propaganda materials such as one expressing what Volunteers should be wearing in Mongolia. What people dress is extremely important and dressing below professional standards can take chips off a person’s credibility. I’ve also been creating another short comic about my experience with the theme, “It’s not how many breaths you take…”

Another great opportunity fell into my lap and I was sent to Bangkok, Thailand to participate in a workshop to address School Related Gender Based Violence. The workshop was informative, valuable, and inspiring. There are many things that we, as educators and social workers, can strive for in schools and ensuring gender equality is one of them. When students are mistreated and suffer the psychological, physical, and sexual harms of gender based violence they may not meet their immense potential. I met many extraordinary PC Volunteers and their counterparts from several countries including Albania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgz Republic, Thailand, Armenia, and Indonesia. It was wonderful to participate with other game changers who wanted to work to create environments where children thrive.

During my down time I was able to go out and explore Bangkok. Things I won’t forget about Bangkok: the food, a bike tour, China Town, the temples, a boat trip with dancing, the amazing art (Museum Of Contemporary Art was out of this world!), and all the smiling Thai people.

14.9.24 BangkokChinatown

 

China Town
14.9.24 BangkokSubway

On the Subway
14.9.24 BangkokRiverBoatOur River Cruise with Dancing and Dinner

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.