Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Xiada Art School

This morning, I took Zoe and Maya to school because Malinda had an early appointment (she’ll blog about that later). After I dropped the girls at kindergarten, I walked in search of Xiada’s art school, which Malinda told me was just past the law school. I passed the law school and just about thought I had missed the art school when there it was. How did I know this was the art school? I just made a wild guess, that’s all. It certainly wasn’t because I could read the entrance sign!

As I was walking to the art school I had seen posters advertising a one woman art show for the next 3 days.
I climbed the @%&# stairs and there was the gallery. There were a few people standing and I heard one lady say “welcome,” so I entered and looked at several nice oil paintings. It turned out that the lady was the artist! She is 73 years old, and came to Xiamen from Taiwan to be a student at the art college. She seemed delighted to have me enter the room and admire her work. She, and all the others there, were very excited to have me sign the guest book – I gave my address as Fort Worth, Texas, USA. I’m sure I was the visitor who traveled the furthest to see her exhibit! She asked a young student to take our picture. Even though I am only 5’2’’, I feel tall here!

We chatted a while and I asked if I could see some classes. One teacher gave me his business card, which read: “PhD of Art, Master of Oil Painting.” He gave his key to one student and asked her to show me the oil painting studio. I had to climb a few more stories of stairs, but who’s counting at this point? (Actually, I am – it was three more stories!) Here is what the studio looked like. From what I understood from the young student, these are 4th and 5th year art students. Her English was not great but a heck of a lot better than my Chinese. Here she is with some of her paintings.

The next photo is of the classroom. The young student said there are 8 students in this class.

It seems that the students paint from a photograph, rather than from a live model. Another student told me that the paintings are of her mother, so obviously she must have provided the photograph for this painting exercise. It’s interesting to see the different treatments of the same subject.

We then went back to the gallery and I asked where I could buy artist quality art supplies. Several people tried to give me directions, but in the end the “PhD of Art, Master of Oil Painting” professor was my guide. It was just across the street from the university, but on the other side from the area that I know. His English was basic but as we walked he told me his wife also teaches at the art school but that she teaches music, that she has a beautiful voice and sings operas. His daughter is also a first year student at Xiada, studying music at the art school.

We found the art shop after he made several phone calls to get more directions. I would never have found it on my own, since he needed help to find it! It was a hole in the wall, crammed with everything an artist might need.

I bought several things for much, much less than I do in Fort Worth. I spent about $10 American for about $80’s worth of supplies. I am ready for my next art class when I get back.

As we were walking I told him that that I am not really an artist. My area is psychology. It took some doing to get him to understand what psychology was, but with mime and sign language, I conveyed the message. He finally got it, and said that he and his wife have friends who studied psychology in the United States and they, of course, speak good English. These friends are coming over to their house on Friday, so he invited me and Malinda to their house. I gave him Malinda’s cell phone number and the English-speaking friend will call her to discuss when and where. I am amazed at the friendliness of the Chinese people. I haven’t even been here one week and we get invited to someone’s house. I’ve lived in Fort Worth 2 years and haven’t had an invitation to anyone’s house yet!

I had a great morning, but was glad to get back to our cool apartment. It is not so hot but it is very humid here. I like to walk and, for my age, think I am in good shape, but my calves are getting sore. But climbing all these stairs means that I’ll have the best-looking 68-year-old gluteus maximus in Fort Worth when I get back home!


Anonymous said...

MiMi,keep the stories coming ,I
look forward each day, reading and
sharing your experiences. I'm in my
60's also and envy you being able
to be with your girls. Elizabeth

Zartman said...

That is very interesting about the dinner invitation. I have read where Malinda has been invited to several places for dinner, but for an invitation like that, so out of the blue, is really something.

I must admit I deleted and re-wrote Malinda several times. I'm too use to the "Professor" title.