Two Artists in Bhutan
art by stock schlueter & Paul Rickard
For spring 2019, we're featuring the works of two local artists, Stock Schlueter and Paul Rickard. Free posters of four select pieces will be available starting May 14th.
Stock Schlueter and Paul Rickard were invited to Bhutan to
paint en plein air.
For thirty days, they travelled around the country to paint. Their subject matter may have been similar, but their perspectives, styles, and methodology all differed. This painters dream come true was many years in the making and has a thread of local history to it. Back in the ’60’s Morris Graves fell in love with Bhutan while on a visit there. Morris related his experiences to a high school classmate of Stock’s, who then went there years later. He also loved it and had a vision of sending an artist there to establish a new relationship with Bhutan and the arts. As luck would have it he chose Stock to be that artist. They talked about it many times over the years and Stock met some of his Bhutanese friends. Last year the tumblers fell into place and the door opened. Stock was fortunate to have Paul as a traveling partner and together they had thirty days living the painters dream on top of the world.
From Stock Schlueter -
As I look back on the Bhutan journey from the perspective of having already experienced it, I can see it without the excitement and expectation or the awe of simply being there. Memory has a way of blending events together and we end up picking out highlights to focus upon.
The landscape was spectacular and the painting experience rich and filled with wonder. We were blessed in that all we had to think about all day, every day, was what to paint, where to paint, and how to paint. This is an artists dream fulfilled. I remember standing there looking down my familiar every-day micro-world of palette, paints, brushes and easel; mixing color, making all the moves I have made for well over fifty years. Then looking up out across a landscape on the other side of the planet, in Asia, with the backdrop of the Himalayas, and thinking, “Can it get any better than this.”
After a demonstration, lecture, and paint out at VAST (Voluntary Artist Studio Thimpu) with a group of artists, I wrote:
“We were surrounded by artists of every skill level, from the acclaimed to the novice, all joined in a big paint out. The combination of brush strokes, ideas, line, form, design and flowing color, seemed to escape the boundaries of canvas, panel, paper and format, and blend together into a larger more important work of art. The ‘Big Picture’ is painted by us all. It is hard to explain the overwhelming feeling of good will. It was as if something has been fulfilled that we were meant to do in this life.”
This sums up the hidden treasure and unsolicited wealth of the people. Their open kindness welcomed us and took us in, as their own.
Far beyond any demonstrations or official events, our effect as emissaries for the arts was felt everywhere we went. Not because of anything we did other than paint on location, but because of the insatiable curiosity of the people. All kinds of people from all walks of life. Monks, farmers, truck drivers, women selling peppers, and little kids flocked to us wherever we set up. They would delight in the recognition of their world captured before their eyes.
They took the time and so did we, to share our common love for this planet. It is, after all the place we call home.
From Paul Rickard -
At the invitation of the Kingdom of Bhutan, it has been one of the honors of my lifetime to accompany Stock Schlueter on a thirty-day plein air adventure to the country of Bhutan. Stock and I traversed the rugged landscape from the shadowed canyons to the jagged and snow capped peaks of the Himalayas. Painting daily as we went through snow, wind, and high altitude, the effort was at times hard fought but not without tremendous satisfaction. Along the way, we painted spirited ponies, majestic and ancient fortresses and monasteries, and the hamlets of rural peoples. The views were both mundane and magnificent and always inspiring.
I am especially grateful to the government and people of Bhutan who were so supportive in every aspect of the trip. A special thanks to the founders and students of VAST (Voluntary Art Studio Thimpu). who speak the universal language of art. The VAST members are: Pechen Namgay, Sonom Wangchuk, Tandin Chopel, Pema Tshering (Tin Tin Dorjee), Chimi Zangmo - head administrator, Zuki Nima - site leader, Songay Wangdi, Bhagi Raj Gurung, Bishal Pradhan, Thubien Rinchen Penjar, Jigme Tshenda, Jampel Cheda (one of the founders) Azha Karma Wangdi - founder, and Yeshey Tsegyal. You are all so dear to our hearts.
Many are also deserving of thanks from the Humboldt community including Robert Arena – Bug Press, Monica Creegan of the Art Center Frame Shop – Old Town Eureka, and an unnamed benefactor. A thanks is also due to the Thimpu Tower Hotel owners, Kinga Tshering and Tshering Wangmo, who were so helpful and accommodating to the needs of two North American artists. We would also thank the Harvard Divinity School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. for the invitation to participate and show art at the Reimagining Happiness for a Better World Conference.
To all those who commented and followed along with our trip to Bhutan on social media, you were the wind of our sails and pushed us on. Lastly, I would like to thank Stock Schlueter, my roommate and traveling companion, for greeting me with a daily morning cup of coffee with the exhortation to “wake up – we’re burning daylight – once more into the breech my friend!”