‘night train to sapa ’






Good morning!

I received Emily’s photograph September 28nd 2013. Having followed her blog, from the beginning, I had often thought what would I do if I were asked to put together a piece for this collaboration.

night train 2

Emily invited me to participate and I was sent the photograph to interpret from my point of view. My first thought was, I’m looking at a full moon at night viewed from a moving train. The image reminded me of an overnight trip on a local train from Hanoi to Sapa in Northern Vietnam. I lay on a steel plank on the bottom bunk. I shared the compartment with five other people.  It was dark. Flashes of light came in through the window. Metal against metal screeched. Strange smells, sights and sounds of humans asleep came at me for what turned out to be a long nightmarish night. I kept my mind occupied by writing a poem in my head. When I returned home, I made ‘night train to sapa town’ first into a poem and then into an Artists’ Book printed on handmade paper. The poem became the basis for this project.

I started my project with a series of charcoal sketches of the night sky, which were drawn in the middle of the night.

Thinking of the train ride and Emily’s image, it’s shapes and connotations, I took some photographs.  ‘Full Moon Over the City’ and ‘Steel and Wood’ built towards my final painting,  Three paintings later, I was satisfied with ‘Good morning. Would you like a cup of tea?’ (acrylic on canvas measuring 32” x  32”) click on image to enlarge

Personal connections are happening here. Participating artists are commenting on each other’s work. One artist included a photograph; another artist added a leaf with a message written on it.  Added to this collection, was a tiny four-leaf clover from an artist in Belgium. Now, I am adding my admission ticket to Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi. I carefully put back, into the original envelope, the photograph and it’s companion pieces. The photograph is ready to continue it’s journey.

If you would like to participate in the journey of this photograph take a look here.

To find out more about how this project started visit Emily’s blog.
To visit my blog go to http://carlasaunders.com/

Thank you, Emily. Your project took me to a new place in my art.  I really enjoyed the ride.


33 thoughts on “‘night train to sapa ’

  1. Carla, your work and words are an experience of the senses. I love how the sounds, smells, vibrations, anxiety etc. all culminate in a cup of tea. There is so much meaning in that for me.
    Your painting is gorgeous, complex and delicious!! Beautifully done.

  2. Clickety clack, pitch black, i am engulfed in your charcoal piece, stuck in the rolling night.
    and a amazing awekening in full bright colors.
    Thank you very much, your work showered me with sensations

    • You were right by my side for over a week the little four leaf clover right there. I thought of you often. Just think we just took everyone on a roller coaster ride from Brussels to Sapa !

  3. Yay! I find myself regularly wondering where that photograph has gotten to – such an enviable journey! Your work extends and extends it – I like how it launches the work from within – showing itself in such a new way. Thanks!

    • LOL I look at what you and Holly are doing and I think oh my how am I going to live up to that !! Thank you for the Yea:) and thanks for your blog. You keep me thinking about things.

  4. Love the idea of a photo’s journey, as well as photos of a journey. You transformed it with your poetry and imagery. Loved seeing this.

    • Hi Richard. I kept checking Karen and your blogs to see how you did them. I almost emailed you! But got through it all. Lots of fun to do and it did open up ideas for some new concepts which is great. I don’t remember seeing any hands on the train I was on 🙂 Thank you Richard. I’m really glad you liked the post.(The painting seems to be surviving the group of photographers.

    • Thinking about your post ‘missing’ when I received Emily’s envelope I opened it and there was nothing in it! The photograph had not been included. Inspecting the envelope is looking at an art-piece in itself. It was foggy here and I kept reading and thinking of your post, mine getting lost in the fog. We are all connected in such a special way thanks to Emily..

  5. A fantastic contribution Carla, which has your heart and soul singing through it..I love the sense of adventure, energy and movement it conveys…I’ve always loved to use words in artwork, this is so inspiring! It’s moving too how a little memento of each journey this photograph takes is added to the package..

  6. Dear Carla – you have taken the journey in a new, exciting direction. You have added vibrancy and boldness and energy! Also, I do think every journey should include a good cup of tea somewhere along the line! I love the charcoal sketches, and the words of your poem are so powerful and evocative and they work perfectly here. You are right – we are all making personal connections, like the way you have been inspired by Karen’s post and Chris’ post was made literal when the envelope arrived without the photograph! I’m so happy to have the privilege to have been a catalyst to these connections. It’s like flipping over a set of dominos and watching beauty and wonder unfold at every step. It’s wonderful to hear of the things which have been added to the package also, as Cath says, little mementos. Thank you so much for your generous contribution xxx

  7. You have taken my painting in a new and exciting direction because of this blog ! For me the process is what counts. my endorphins got going. I was on a high trying new ideas, scrapping them, adding to them . I even brought the painting home and would paint on into the night. Trouble is one day I left my paints and brushes at home. Now I have all these new artists to follow. Thanks again Cath. Carla

  8. I love how scattered the words are, how the texts switch back and forth, and how the tidy the paper material is. And of course, your words! Geez, simple words with so much to say and left to wonder. You really took us to your journey with you. Carla, your creativity is just topnotch! Glad to have known you as a blogger, and hope to get to see meet you personally. 😉

  9. This post is so rich – there’s so much to savor. And what a treat, to collaborate and have it result in so many layers of creative work. Don’t know where to start – but I love the very 1st two images – the word collage/poem & the VERY strong black calligraphic abstract. That is GOOD STUFF! Next best, I like the final poem and your painting. The painting seems to juxtapose all the activity of the train with the arrival morning: a clearing-the-decks-kind-of-blue morning. Oh, and the description of the process, let’s not leave that out! It’s all very well done and represents a lot of work. I’m glad I saw it!

    • Thank you very much for this note. You really got it. Yes, I did put a lot of work into it, but it was fun. And it took me to a new place in my art. What could be better? Emily gave me the gift of the collaboration. I’m glad you saw it. I’m glad I did it !

  10. Pingback: Traffic – San Francisco | Carla's Blog

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