New Painting Debut! “Sunset, Khogno Khan”

Sunset, Khogno Khan  oil 30x17"
Sunset, Khogno Khan oil 30×17″

My first painting of 2015!

My subject in different light
My subject in different light

I spent four wonderful days at Delger Camp, a ger camp I booked through Nomadic Journeys, this last trip to Mongolia. I’d seen the camp and area a couple of times. The 2013 WildArt Mongolia Expedition stayed there on its last night out, so I knew it would be a great place to paint on location, which it was. I also took a ton of photos, including some of the sunset shown in the painting. It was a wonderfully relaxing and inspirational stay.

Delger Camp
Delger Camp

I had the entire area of valleys, mountains, dunes and wetlands to amble around in, stopping to paint when the fancy, and scenery, struck me. The staff was great and knowing I like Mongolian food, made khuushuur for me for lunch one day (fried mutton turnovers). They also made khorhog (real “Mongolian BBQ”) one night.  Here’s a photo of it ready to cook on the stove with hot rocks in the pot. It was delicious!

Khorhog ready to cook
Khorhog ready to cook

And here’s one of the watercolors I did just sitting in front of my ger. I’m looking forward to going there again this year to do more!

Clouds coming over camp, watercolor
Clouds coming over camp, watercolor

 

Mongolia Watercolors And Sketches So Far; Having A Wonderful Time!

View from my ger, Delger Camp
View from my ger, Delger Camp

I just returned from four great days at Delger Camp, operated in conjunction with Nomadic Journeys, and which is located at the Khogno Khan Nature Reserve, about six hours west of Ulaanbaatar. Staying in one place for awhile is very useful for getting in serious painting time. I do quick pen and ink sketches while on the road, but there’s usually not time to get out the watercolors.

Along with the paintings and sketches from this current trip, I also thought I’d share other pieces I’ve done up to now. Everything was photographed in less than optimal conditions in the apartment I have the use of, but I felt that sharing them while I’m still here would be fun and have an immediacy that would be missing if I waited until I get home in a couple of weeks.

They were done with either a Winsor Newton Cotman watercolor travel set or Yarka poured pigment watercolors and a Robert Simmons Sapphire brush. The paper is either Arches 140lb cold-pressed or a w/c paper I brought back from the Lake District in England many years ago. The pen sketches were done in a 7×5″ Pentalic Nature Sketchbook. I used a non-waterproof pen with a Koi waterbrush for the one with the tone and a .01 Sakura Micron pen for the others.

Gloomy day
Gloomy day, so I did this watercolor study of the stove in my ger
Cloudy and rainy day
Cloudy and rainy day studies at Jalman Meadows and Gun-Galuut
Stupa above river valley at Ganchen Lama Khiid, Erdenesogt
Stupa above river valley at Ganchen Lama Khiid, Erdenetsogt
Prayer wheel at
Prayer wheel at Ganchan Lama Khiid, Erdenetsogt
Lily studies, Delger Camp
Lily studies, Delger Camp
View of sand dunes, Delger Camp
View of sand dunes, Delger Camp
Valley north of Delger Camp
Valley north of Delger Camp
Wetland/dune area
Wetland/dune area
Dunes and trees
Dunes and trees
Variety of vegetation
Variety of vegetation, wetland area and surroundings
Storm light and storm clouds at Delger Camp
Storm light and storm clouds at Delger Camp
Rain to the south
Rain to the south
Clouds coming by
Clouds coming by
Mountains to the north of camp
Mountains to the north of camp
Toned sketch
Toned sketch
Quick sketch of wetland area (the driver was coming any minute to pick me up)
Quick sketch of wetland area (the driver was coming any minute to pick me up)
Rocks and trees
Rocks and birch trees
Rock formation
Rock formation
Wild poppies
Wild poppies
Birch tree
Birch tree

 

 

 

 

The WildArt Mongolia Expedition, Part 15: And Back To Ulaanbaatar

On our way back south to Bayanhongor from Ganchen Lama Khiid, we saw lots of yaks.
On our way back south to Bayanhongor from Ganchen Lama Khiid, we saw lots of yaks.

The last day of the 2014 WildArt Mongolia Expedition had finally arrived. One more night in the countryside and then back to Ulaanbaatar. The day took an unexpected turn that led to a perfect final evening….

We stopped at one last herder's ger and, along with a very nice Land Cruiser, there was also this equally nice Mongol horse, ready to ride.
We stopped at one last herder’s ger and, along with a very nice Land Cruiser, there was also this equally nice Mongol horse, ready to ride.
The big sightseeing stop for the day...what can only be called a temple dedicated to the Mongol race horses.
The big sightseeing stop for the day…what can only be called a temple dedicated to the Mongol race horses, located near the Aimag center of Arvakheer. As we drove up to it I realized that we had camped a few hundred yards behind it on our outward bound trip, not knowing what it was. I had assumed it was some kind of Buddhist installation and, in fact, that was one facet if this amazing site.
The main structure is this semi-circle
The main structure is this semi-circle, surrounded by stupas and flanked by statues of what I assume are famous race horses. I really want to go back here for at least a half-day sometime just to hang around, sketch and do some watercolors.
Not exactly what I expected to see...
Not exactly what I expected to see at a place dedicated to horses.
Statues of famous race horses.
Beautifully sculpted statues of famous race horses.
In one corner was this pole with khadag suspended from it.
In one corner was this pole with khadag suspended from it.
In the front to one side was this pole with khadag
The center pole.
Behind the "temple" was this extraordinary sight- a fence utterly covered with khadag and, on the ground, hundreds of horses skulls. On the plain in the background is where we had camped.
Behind the “temple” was this extraordinary sight- a fence completely covered with khadag and, on the ground, hundreds of horses skulls. On the plain in the background is where we had camped.
A large and very colorful wedding party showed up while we were there. Here are two of men...lookin' good.
A large and very colorful wedding party showed up while we were there. Here are two of men…lookin’ good.
We traveled on north and came upon an extensive wetland complex in fabulous light, complete with yaks, horses and endangered whooper swans.
We traveled on north and came upon an extensive wetland complex in fabulous light, complete with yaks, horses and endangered whooper swans.
Concerned about
Concerned about it being very cold this last night out, the drivers told us that they had called the Nomadic Journeys ger camp in the area, Delger, and had arranged for us to stay there in gers instead of camping in our tents. As the light faded to night, we made a long run through sandy areas with no directional signs, arriving at the camp after dark but to a warm welcome.
The next morning
The next morning we could see the lovely spot the camp was in. It turned out that this was the day the camp would be packed away for the year. Whew. The previous evening we had all gathered in the cozy, warm kitchen ger along with our host, camp manager Ariunbold, eating noodles, drinking vodka and having a great final dinner together.
One of the camp dogs. I was told they are there to keep wolves away.
One of the camp dogs. I was told they are there to keep wolves away.
We said our good-byes and began the final leg of the Expedition, passing this attractive row of shops.
We said our good-byes and began the final leg of the Expedition, passing this attractive row of shops.
A last photo op...horses crossing a river!
A last photo op…horses crossing a river!
And the final stop, now not far from Ulaanbaatar, to see this statue of a shaman, facing south and festooned with khadag.
And the final stop, now not far from Ulaanbaatar, to see this statue of a shaman, facing south and festooned with khadag.
Ulaanbaatar ahead
Ulaanbaatar ahead in the sunshine. I liked coming into town behind this truckload of horses. The countryside and the city.

And so ended the 2014 WildArt Mongolia Expedition. We met every goal that I had set for both habitats and endangered species. We are the only western artists now to have gone to Takhiin Tal, the first takhi release site, where we saw both takhi and khulan, and Sharga/Darvi  where we saw over thirty saiga antelope. We met the scientists working to conserve these  species and saw snow leopard habitat, complete with ibex. We forded flooded rivers, camped under Gobi skies, visited and hiked an important sacred mountain, attended a local naadam, stumbled upon an ambler horse race, explored a very special monastery, and painted and sketched as we went.

Now there will be a special group exhibition of paintings from the Expedition, featuring myself, Tugsoyun Sodnom and Oidoviin Magvandorj. It will be at the Union of Mongolian Artists Gallery in Ulaanbaatar from June 27 to July 8. There will be an opening reception on the 27th.

I want to say a very special “Thank You!” to Nomadic Journeys and their staff, who made the Expedition possible and contributed greatly to its success. bayarlalaa

———

I head back to Mongolia on May 28 for eight weeks. There will be another WildArt Mongolia Expedition, this time to the northeastern mountains and the famous steppe grasslands to try to see and photograph six species of cranes, three of them endangered and also Mongolian gazelles. So stay tuned!