Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Own Lion Dancers

15 November 2014

I've created several projects to keep me busy while we're in KL - Richard has been busy with his dental stuff, I was busy with writing the various travel fashion articles, and I decided I needed to add in an art project as well. 

Some of you might remember that I did several batiks at a place in the Central Market - the staff at this shop draw items in wax resist on fabric, and people can pay for a square which they then fill in with dye.  Great fun, and a wonderful souvenir that you make yourself.

I asked the last time we were in KL if they had any lion dance designs.  No, the young man who does the wax resist said, they don't.  Well, of course, I would just have to make my own.

So using the photos I took at the International Lion Dance on Stilts competition in Penang, back in the spring, I sketched a few lion dancers.  Or maybe lions, since each lion is made of two people in costume.

Finally, I had to lions I liked, looking fierce and lionish.  And Asian.

I walked over to the market and chatted with Mr Drawing Guy.  Showed him my two drawings, and his face lit up.  I suspect he wasn't expecting them to look good.  (I think they look quite good, if I do say so myself.  Most art teachers can draw just about anything.  It's why we went into art as a subject area.)

I explained that I probably drew them too big to go side by side, I tend to fill paper.  So I suggested that they sort of overlap, as if they're two lion cubs playing, or one is ready to pounce on the other one.  And I gave him a layout sketch, with some wavy lines in the background, saying I wasn't sure what to do with the background, maybe just some simple lines, but he was free to do whatever he thought would look good.

So we settled on a day, and I went back to paint in the dye.  And WOW, he did an amazing job!  Looks great!  With a phenomenal background that shows Malaysia's cultural blend of Chinese and Indian traditions.  It probably is busy for western tastes, but I love it, it's so wild and tropical and exuberant and typical of the batiks in this part of the world!

I meant to take a photo of the white fabric with the wax drawing, but I was so excited about the background, I just went ahead and painted on the dye.  Had a fabulous afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed my two hours in the studio.  People came and went, the afternoon storm came and went, thunder boomed and roared and torrents of rain came down outside.  But I was in my creative zen state of mind, and it was all just background sound.  Even sudden crashes of thunder didn't make my hand jump or tremble.

So.  Much.  Fun.

Of course, I told the staff that they can keep the sketches and use them for the shop.  Then I suggested they needed to add my name to them, and everyone laughed.

It was a great afternoon.  I think I need to go back again.


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