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A painting journey through Vietnam

image‘I’ve often watched Jan paint in his studio, but its only for a minute or two while we chat about domestic logistics. Being in the hotel room with him while we were hemmed in with the typhoon is an an entirely different experience. The energy in the air changed so much I couldn’t focus on my reading. The concentration, intensity and finer-dashing was exhausting viewing. I held my breath for minutes until he changed colour or finger before dabbing madly again. With different colours on his different fingers his hands moved like old fashioned typists who knew the qwerty keyboard blindfolded. How does he remember which colour is on which finger? It was mesmerising. And when he comes up for air, his eyes refocus to reorientate to a world with a wife in it. Where does he go?

The entertaining aspect is how he settles down or disentangles himself from a wet canvas, a palette with colours escaped from their indentations – to the sides, underneath, his knees, fingers, floor, chair, wrist and occasionally his clothes. The dance to get everything wiped clean is as frenetic as the painting itself. And then we both deserve a beer, and I can breathe again.’

Terry – Hoi An, Nov ’17

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