Hearts in Cambodia

When I look at the photo of this monk, I'm immediately taken back to the small village in Cambodia where Heather and I were volunteering with Bracelets For Buildings.  A short drive from the city of Siem Reap, the village seemed like it was in another world.  The monk was one of a small number that lived in the local Buddhist temple. 

It was not your bright and polished variety temple, like we saw in the major centres.  It was more utilitarian, the working, flawed, heart of the community. 

This photo was taken during the first blessing ceremony that we attended while we were there.  The three monks were in the middle of their 15 to 20 minute blessing chant, when all of a sudden, they all started smiling and laughing.  Someone must have screwed up a line.  It was a moment of levity that I will never forget.

I felt I needed to do a piece, during this heat wave, that would take me back to those moments of peace, tranquility, reflection, patience and acceptance. 

I have done three rounds with the portrait so far.  I have one more to go.

I've been thinking about my artistic learning process while working on this project.  I try things, then discover what I see and feel.  Then I share it on my social media to find out what others see and feel.  I need to thank the many people who consistently share their responses as I can get too close to the forest to see the trees.  

We are heading into three or four of the hottest days of the summer.  Without air conditioning in the house, all of us are prone to frustration, tiredness and impatience.  I may need to put this painting up to remind us that our friends in Cambodia live with this kind of heat almost every day.  Somehow, they manage to make it work; so must we. 


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