|Detail: Ekachai Luadsoongnern (left) explains a painting to a viewer. — VNS Photo Lê Hương
Choosing a high peak looking over a wild flower field, opening his painting shelf, the artist watches the scenery to choose what to paint.
The paper flaps in the wind and leaves wrap around his legs.
Taking a deep breath, Thai painter Ekachai Luadsoongnern takes some pictures of the landscape by camera before putting his first strokes on the paper.
From time to time, dust and grass blown by the wind sticks to the paper, or insects lose their way and fall on the paper.
“I leave them all there as a part of the real nature kept in my work,” he told Việt Nam News.
First arriving to Việt Nam’s central region 10 years ago, Luadsoongnern was inspired by the peaceful landscape.
Since June 2018, has travelled through the north of Việt Nam from the mountainous provinces of Hà Giang to the central province of Bình Định in an exchange project initiated by 333 Gallery in Bangkok and some Vietnamese painters.
In Hà Nội, he was impressed by the big trees and the light and shadow created by the sun.
“I find light is like young generation while shadow like elder one,” he said. “The shadow hides itself and serves as the background for the light. The same as elder generation support young generation. That’s what happening in your country now. Việt Nam’s economics grow very fast with the mutual supports among generations.”
More than 40 paintings, mostly oil-on-canvas, are displayed in an exhibition titled Việt Nam Light from the Shadow at Exhibition House 29 Hàng Bài Street, as a result of his 10 months working in Việt Nam.
“He doesn’t mind taking all his heavy tools to draw in nature,” said painter Phạm Huy Thông, who has hosted Luadsoongnern during his stay in Hà Nội.
“He is very friendly and can get along well with strange people very soon.
“I’m also a painter but when I work, I just want to be alone in my studio while he can make friends with a lot of people very quickly even at work.”
Thông said Luadsoongnern’s paintings follow the impressionism and expressionism styles.
Painter Bằng Lâm, former deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Fine Arts Association, was impressed with Luadsoongnern’s paintings.
“He directly paints at the site so he catches the soul of the site in his paintings,” Lâm said.
“Through his frame, I found Hà Nội’s sunlight so beautiful and romantic running through big trees to create light areas at parks and streets.
“His paintings contain reality with beauty and soul.
“I just wonder how a foreigner can draw Hà Nội so beautiful,” Lâm said.
Lâm also commented that the paintings show a Việt Nam with hospitability, peace and economic growth.
“There are very few painters that paint right at the site in Việt Nam,” Lâm said. “In his paintings, the old trees are so realistic that audience may feel as if they could touch the rough bark.
“Now many Vietnamese painters follow surrealism and abstract styles but I think painters who follow realism and put their emotions into their work can still touch their audience’s heart,” Lâm said.
Researcher Nguyễn Đức Tiến, who graduated from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York, said he was impressed with Luadsoongnern’s paintings on Eo Gió, a strait by the sea in the central province of Bình Định.
“He fluently applied drawing techniques of noted painter (Claude) Monet like in Monet’s painting The Rock of Belle-Ile (1886),” Tiến said.
“Green covers all 40 paintings by Luadsoongnern,” Tiến said. “His green colour has reached painting technique as mentioned by (Joseph) Inguimberty, who implied that any green on pallet is acid and that green colours in nature mingle with one another.”
Luadsoongnern said he was impressed most with Hà Giang’s landscapes and ethnic minority people. When travelling to Hà Giang, Luadsoongnern stayed with local people.
"Thanks to the friendliness of locals in Hà Giang, I painted more beautifully with more emotions," he said.
“I saw a lot of weddings, where people dress colourfully,” he said. “Both local culture and nature are well preserved, while the place is not so far from the capital.”
A graduate of Silpakorn University’s Faculty of Drawing, Sculpture and Graphics, Luadsoongnern focuses on painting landscapes through oil-on-canvas and water colours. For the past 35 years, he has travelled to the US, Europe and Asia to draw.
His exhibition in Hàng Bài Street will run till Saturday before being moved to Bangkok.
Luadsoongnern’s project in Việt Nam has been supported by Thai collector Tira Vanictheeranont, who own 333 Gallery in Bangkok. — VNS
|Fast friends: Ekachai Luadsoongnern (left) and a local woman in northern province of Hà Giang. — Photo courtesy of the artist
|Contrast: Light from shadow in a painting by Luadsoongnern. — VNS Photo Lê Hương
|In the thick of it: Luadsoongnern paints amid nature. — Photo courtesy of the artist
|Authentic: His paintings sometimes are freckled with dust, grass and insects. — Photo courtesy of the artist