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Watercolor technique

...on wet paper

   the ability to sustain
her attention on the painting...

At work in the cottage of friends in Wales.

Somboon at home.

    Somboon surrounded by admirors tries to work during the Mhong New Year in Luang Prabang, Laos.
   ... requires spontaneity as the finely shaded combination of hues must be done on wet paper, in a way that does not allowed correction once the colors are applied and the water has evaporated. Therefore to succeed it is necessary to develop a skilful hand, provided with a sharp visual acuteness.
   First Somboon takes the time to find and intensely observe a subject, often outlining quick ink-sketches. Then with the definite composition in mind she can start the master work and fully concentrate on the light right at the moment. Somboon, with the ability to sustain her attention on the painting and at the same time to chat with the curious onlooker that always collect around her, developed what we can call a true dual personality.
   The set of artworks gathered in the watercolor albums have been painted mainly on location. Watercolor media presents the great advantage to be easy to carry and to be fast to put at work once in a place (except in the desert) as it needs just some water.
   The part of the works achieved in her studio include the floral compositions always done from fresh flowers and the decorative works painted in accordance to the subject and style of the customer's request. For more personal creations, the artist uses the capacity to visualise in her mind the elements so often observed outdoors to recompose them in the framework stemming from her imagination. Thus watercolor became the favorite media that now provides Somboon Phoungdorkmai with the perfect tool to deliver instantaneously the work after such a long period of incubation.

Artist, Somboon Phoungdorkmai
   Somboon Phoungdorkmai was Born in 1959 to a humble Thai family in Prachinburi a province between Bangkok and the Cambodian border. She discovered early her attraction to art when she first started to draw patterns of dolls that were cut from cardboard, As a consequence, she realized that she enjoyed more the manufacture and decoration of her toys than really playing with them. 
   She was a stubborn teenager who had to fight against the will of her mother to attend the course at Thaivichisilp and Poh-Chang Arts and Crafts Colleges in Bangkok, and when she became an adult, Somboon had to work as an art teacher, a compromise to keep in touch with art and sustain her living.  Tired from hours spent in the traffic between her house and the college and inspired by her participation to the Van Group, a knot of five friends expressing concern about society and human condition in a surrealistic style, Somboon left teaching and turned to freelance work.
   Very eclectic, Somboon has a profound liking for watercolour, a media that allows her to stand in-situ and paint spontaneously. In this way, flowers, nature and landscapes become some of her favourites topics through which she cultivates a sharp sense of observation with a highly developed concentration to record faithfully either the light and/or the colour of the weather.
   This skill came into its own when she encountered the magnificent site of Angkor in Cambodia and spent several months there to produce a huge record of watercolour paintings finally published in a book that resulted in a wide recognition of her talent in Thailand and abroad. Similarlarly work in another famous place of South-East Asia, Luang Prabang in Laos, brought to her even more credit due to her ability to render genuinely the atmosphere of the location with paintings standing halfway between figurative and impressionist styles.

Photographer, Andre Lurde

The photographer at work....
Sorry, the assistant.

    Sitting with the monks
of the Vat Sen in Luang Prabang, Laos.

French nationality, I was born in 1959, in Sétif (Algeria). So far my life has been an undirected journey of discovery, you will perceive that I choose to look at the behaviours and the details from which, we should believe that the recurrent violence characteristic of our world can be overwelmed by inspirational, cultural and intellectual resources.
    Even though the humdrum aspects of life as shown here don't emulate the spice of stronger news images selectively recording the events devastating our earth, it is nevertheless the essence of human activity, which finally becomes more interesting and instructive when one really takes the time to look at it.
    If sometimes polemic about photography becomes annoying, it is equaly evident that the images, which emerge from the constraints of the view finder and the quirky decisions of the manipulator, are systematically reductive and biased. Nonetheless I continue to be fascinated by the curiosity provoked by photography, prompting all involved, both producers and consumers, to sharpen their visual sense, to improve their concentration, to reveal their sensitivity and as a consequence, to simply grow.
    The paradox of the photographic tool used to explore the wide world is to reduce it into pieces of film hardly bigger than a postage stamp. Additionally the ambiguity of hiding behind a camera when approaching strangers, makes perfect the self-delusion that we can see and know everything. The photographs taken under the light of these inconsistencies entice me, through my nonsensical reasoning, to answer the question "shall we be able to live together ?"raised by the French sociologist Alain Touraine, in his book "Pourrons nous vivre ensemble?": Yes, it is worth it! Despiste the large production of pictures, strange and perverse mixtures of information, "faction" and "fiction", that would persuade a large part of us to believe the opposite.
The subjective lens of the camera brings to me a satisfaction when it delivers through a film or a print some part of the composition previously visualised; the outcome nevertheless doesn't matter much, compared to the benefit of a procedure that consists in taking time to look acutely around and get the inspiration that determine one's fulfilment. If the few photographs shown on this web site bring to you, the visitor, some of my eagerness to share my belief in contemplation, I might have communicated even a small part of my enthusiasm and could consider that I have not completely wasted my and your time.

         Main exhibitions
   Duo with painting artist wife, Somboon Phoungdorkmai
-1998 An artist in Luang Prabang, Rajanakarn Building, Bangkok, Thailand
-1999 An artist in Luang Prabang, Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, Thailand
-2000 Au Coeur de l’hôtel, Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club, Thailand
-2001 Regards croisés, Boathouse Gallery, Phuket, Thailand
-2008 Letter from Hanoi, Akko Art Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand

-2008 Asia Art Link, National Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam
-2008 Enchanting Nonthaburi portraying.
-2008 Air France 75th anniversary, Grand Palais in Paris, France - (Selection of the National Geographic France)
-2009 April:Collective exhibition Black Market, Bangkok Art Center Museum, Thailand

-2009 The banks of the mekong in Luang Prabang,
         Town hall city of Boulogne/Gesse, Southern-France

Copyright: Somboon Phoungdorkmai – Andre Lurde – Artsomdede.