Lessons from Vietnam

Road to Da Lat by Megan Arundel

Road to Da Lat by Megan Arundel

The Nanaimo Art Gallery at 150 Commercial Street will feature a unique exhibition of traditional lacquer painting by artist Megan Arundel. Arundel explains how the exhibition came to be: “Last summer, I returned from a year in Viet Nam with memories of a warm and friendly people and with sketchbooks full of scenes from that incredible country. I also came back with several lacquer paintings completed under the tutorship of Le Xuan Chieu, a professor at the Fine Arts University in Ho Chi Minh City and a master painter of traditional Vietnamese lacquer painting. I had been curious about this ancient art and was ecstatic to find Chieu, who agreed to give me individual lessons.

Viet Nam has transformed the Asian tradition of using natural lacquer to protect and decorate furnishings and utensils into a painting technique. It developed to include the use of other substances to embellish the paintings, such as crushed eggshells, mother-of-pearl, gold, and silver. It is a fascinating, labour-intensive process, each painting taking three to four months to complete. Briefly (although there is nothing “brief” about it), a painting is built layer upon layer with lacquer, a natural tree sap, and finished by sanding and polishing it by hand to create a brilliant luster.”

Megan Arundel will discuss the exciting process of painting in lacquer in her artist talk at the gallery on Saturday, August 14, 2010. The reception and artists talk will happen from 11 am to 1 pm. For more information call 250-754-1750.