Found Poem (letter from sponsored child in Vietnam)

The following is a word-for-word copy of a letter from a girl I have sponsored for years who lives in Quang Uyen, a little village up in the mountains somewhere in north Vietnam. I enjoy every letter I receive from here, but in this one I noticed that there was an interesting cadence which was simple, authentic, and reminded me a little of the kinds of rhythms we often find in translated Haiku and Tanka.
All I have done is try to bring forth music from the prose by inserting line breaks:

QUANG UYEN, DECEMBER 19, 2016

Please imagine
how delighted
I am
upon receiving
your letter.

The Cherry blossom
that you told me
must be
very beautiful.

It’s winter here
in my place
and the weather
is so cold
that there isn’t
any kind of flower
that can bloom.

I am
preparing
for my final
tests of semester
one,
so I study
harder
than usual.

I love sports
and drawing pictures.

I often
read books
at midday
to relax,
and I love
fairy tale comics.

Recently
I haven’t gone
fishing very often,
because
the water
is too cold
and there isn’t
a lot of fish.

Besides,
now I am
grown up and
can help my parents
more
with their work.

Please send
my best regards
to your mother.

I would
stop here
and wish you
good health
as well as
happiness for always!

Yours,

Ma Thi Ngan.

~

Miniature Meditation: White Circle on Blue

I’ve been exploring ideas for scaling down the size of my work. This is in-keeping with my kind of bohemian minimalist philosophy. I live and work in my little flat, and thus, the need to maximise space. I believe in tailoring my art to my living circumstances, and allowing them to be the constraints which inform my processes.

It’s early July, which in New Zealand is the middle of winter, which for someone with rheumatoid arthritis, makes productivity difficult. I can’t get away with straining my hands to paint finnicky details, and my window for doing art is from about 11am until about 3pm, with 1pm until 2:30pm being the best time. My work space is north-facing, which means it can actually get quite warm on a sunny winter day.

Needing an approach which requires less hand strain, I have reverted to my graphic design training, where I learnt that less is more, and to “Keep It Simple Stupid”.

The technique I’ve been using involves building up layers of watercolour onto which salt crystals have been evenly applied.

I have been beginning with Sap Green, and adding a little Pthalo Blue for each successive layer. After about five layers, for this piece, I have chosen to draw a simple circle in the centre, and to paint it white:

MM #1

MM #1

I intend to continue this approach with the circle motif, and then begin to experiment with other shapes and colour combinations in the future.