My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been
drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!
When you think of China, what comes to mind? The Great Wall? Fireworks? Chow Mein? Art? Pandas? The Forbidden City?
There are so many wonders in China: natural, cultural - and for sure, let's not forget the 2000 years they've spent perfecting the fine art of cooking. (Our neighbors are from China and I have to say, I've never tasted anything as good as their homemade dumplings, fried rice and egg rolls!)
There's little about China I don't like, but I do have one place that fascinates me.
It's the karst mountains in the Guilin Province. Like dragon teeth, they protrude along the banks of the Li River and flow inland, creating unbelievable rows of receding shapes.
Shrouded in mist and mirrored in the river, the mountains become more than rock and earth. They become legend, as shown by generations of Chinese watercolor paintings.
In real life, fishermen go out at night on bamboo rafts, without hook or line. Instead, they bring lanterns (to attract the fish) and cormorant birds (to catch them).
The fishermen place rings around the birds' necks, so they can't swallow the larger fish. The birds dive overboard, catch a fish and swallow. It stays caught in their neck until they surface. The fisherman pulls the bird in, slides his hand up the bird's neck and the fish neatly pops out into a basket.
If you'd like to watch it in action, just follow this link:
Here's the kicker. Cormorants can count. AND they hold grudges. If the fishermen don't feed them one of their prizes by the time they've caught seven, the birds refuse to fish anymore.
Yeah, like I said, fascinating. It's been a lot of fun learning about them. It's been even more fun drawing (see the Prismacolor drawing above) and painting them (seventh picture down in 'My Artwork' on top tab). I took artistic liberties in the one above, because usually it's only men who fish. But, ah, what's the imagination for, if not to add more romance to such a mystic place?
So, how about you? What do you like most about China?