I spent most of a morning this past August sketching and photographing a herd of domestic bactrian camels who had wandered near the Arburd Sands ger camp where I was staying. I remembered this white female because she was the subject of one of my first camel paintings “Done for the Day”, which was the first painting I’d ever had accepted into the Society of Animal Artists’ juried exhibition “Art and the Animal”. And there she was again, looking as beautiful as ever in the morning light.
And here she was in 2008 in great late afternoon light. She has a calf this year, too. And I plan to do a painting of the two of them at some point.
It’s pretty amazing to be able to go back to a place and recognize individuals that one has seen before. But she has a way about her and was leading the rest of the camels as they came towards me. Her white coloring also stands out.
This excerpt is taken from “The Desert Road to Turkestan” by Owen Lattimore, published in 1929. It is his incredible account of traveling with a camel caravan from a point west of Beijing to Urumchi in present-day Xinjiang, far western China. Highly recommended and on my short list of Best Travel Books Ever.
“Sheep buying is done by the Mongol usage. There is first a bargaining for quality – small sheep, good sheep, or pick of the flock, at different prices. It is usual to agree that good sheep are in question, at so much per head. The Mongol turns them out by the score, which he says are good. The buyer disputes this with scorn, making the Mongol change as many of them as he can. When at last the goodness of the herd as a whole has been admitted, the Mongol plunges among the sheep, seizes one, and cries “This is it!” “Not so, says the buyer; “it is the worst of a poor lot.” The buyer here is in the right, for I never saw a nomad, whether a Mongol, Qazaj, or Kirghiz, who failed to tackle the worst sheep with speed and skill. The Mongol protests and argues, but after awhile he seizes another; the argument begins afresh, but after several have been rejected the buyer in the upshot gets the mathematically average sheep from a mathematically average lot, the whole deal, with words and antics, having taken from half an hour to half a day.”
This installment of my occasional series “Five Photos of Favorite Places” features Hustai National Park, one of the three places in Mongolia where takhi/Przewalski’s horse has been reintroduced and by far the easiest to get to, since it’s only a two hour drive from Ulaanbaatar, the capital, and most of that is on tarmac road. You can view the other parts by scrolling down the Categories drop down menu in the right hand column to “5 Photos….
This is the second, and largest, of the three argali paintings I’ve just finished. You can see the first one here. I’ll post the third one next Friday.
I spent over an hour watching these rams at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve in 2010. And sometimes they watched me. But mostly they grazed, scratched, rested and did a little pre-rut testing.
One of the things I wanted to capture in this painting is how individual they all are, being different colors depending on their ages and having horns of various sizes and condition. It was a group of five and these were the three big boys, fully mature males, who probably weigh over 300 pounds each. Behind two of them is one of the younger rams,
It’s been an intense two weeks since I decided to do a series of three argali paintings at the same time. My idea was to enter all three in a particular juried show, with the hope that maybe all three will get in because they will look good together on the wall. Will it work? Who knows? It was a good experience and something I haven’t tried before. It made sense to work back and forth on all of them since it was the same group of rams in the same light and location, so I was using the same colors.
I think I’m a little “argalied” out at the moment, so I’ll be moving on to some other pieces that I already have in progress, but I feel like I’m off to a good start for 2013.
Here’s all the latest information on the Sea of Cortez art exhibition that I am one of thirty artists participating in. You can find out about the trip we all took, the opening weekend and see an example of each participating artist’s work here. Shown here are two of the works that I will have in the show.
In one of those little incidents of sychronicity that come along every once in awhile, I’ve just had three articles about me, my art and Mongolia appear in three publications in less than a week.
It started with a Facebook message on November 3 from a editor for The Epoch Times, a Chinese-American news website and print publication which is published in 35 countries and 18 languages and is dedicated to providing uncensored news to the Chinese people. The editor, Christine Lin, found me through my Facebook public page after she had a problem using the contact form on my website (which is now working fine as far as I know). One lesson from this is that it pays to have multiple ways for people to contact you if you are an artist. We did a one hour phone interview which resulted in a 1500 word article that included six images of my art. You can read “American Artist Susan Fox Paints Genghis Khan’s Mongola”here.
The next contact came through LInkedIn. I was looking through the list of possible contacts the site provides based on who your current connections are. One of them was Allyson Seaborn, who writes for the UB Post, the leading English-language newspaper in Mongolia. What caught my eye at first, though, was that some of her page was in Mongolian cyrillic. I sent her a connect invitation, she accepted and then a day or so later sent me a message asking if I’d be willing to be the subject of one of her regular expat (expatriate) columns. I told her that I don’t live in Mongolia, but she felt that I have traveled there extensively enough (7 trips so far) and that being an artist would be interesting to their readers. In this case, she sent me a short list of questions about me, my work and my activities in Mongolia. There was also a list of set questions that every subject of the series answers. You can read “Susan Fox- There is no other place like the Land of Blue Skies” here.
The third article, for our local newspaper the Times-Standard, had been on my To Do list since I had come home from Mongolia in late September. In this case it was something I wrote myself, which was mildly edited, and submitted with a zip file of images, but I had no idea that it would appear yesterday. You can read “Local painter takes art expedition to Mongolia”here.