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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm Back!

Hello Everyone!

First, I would like to apologize for not being able to access the blog while I was in China. Now that I am back in the United States, I would like to share some of the experiences I had as a Blessing Hands intern in Yangshuo (and in the surrounding towns). I will try to break these stories (which were written while in China) down into different blogs for easier reading.

July 1st, 2007
Today we hosted our "Friendship Art Day" in Yangshuo. As I walked past the building where the event was to occur, I noticed many sights that demonstrated how the event had been highly anticipated in the area. Those who were hosting the event had hung a huge red banner at the site, letting everyone know of the "Live Painting Show" with the Sister Cities of Morehead and Yangshuo. Outside the building, many children (carting various art paraphernalia) were waiting calmly beside the locked entrance doors until the event would begin. Too, Gloria Wei had informed us that many students - those who were unable to be in attendance today - had sent in their artwork for the show. Already we were off to a great start!

As the event unfolded, about 50-60 students (ages 13-18) piled into the courtyard and began spreading out their art supplies onto the sun-speckled wooden desks. No student seemed at a loss as to where to begin; each had a specific idea of what to create and remained very focused on the task at hand. The children were engaged in all types of media, from oil paint to pencil. I was fascinated to observe how their meticulous brush strokes transformed into amazing pieces. At one desk, huge pink flowers blossomed... at another, a gray and black eagle perched, commanding his territory... at another, two painted geishas giggled surreptitiously in a corner... at yet another, a smiling child held hands with the Earth, proclaiming a love for peace.

I was extremely impressed with the talent pouring from such young hands.

The Art Day schedule was highlighted by the presence of Mayor Li, as well as by the beautiful demonstrations by several talented artists. These artists were four painters from China, Dr. Bob Franzini (who chose to create charcoal portraits for the event which would remain in Yangshuo), Taral Thompson, and Matt Collins. The Chinese students were all very interested in the demonstrations.

In short, the event was a melding of East and West... an open exchange of centuries-old techniques, well-constructed comments and praise, and flowing gradients of color. Everyone - from the young artists to the virtuosos, from the Chinese to the Americans - was very pleased with the event. I would definitely call it a success. I am looking forward to sharing the best of these impressive works with all of you at the Art Show in Morehead.

Until next time,