Ulanbaataar May 24

Well, we just turned down a trip with a tour company to first fly out west to the Alti mountains, horse and camel riding and camps by beautiful lakes before driving south to the three parts of the Gobi desert. The price tag was more than a month is Paris, with air fare. And we have exhibitions to organize and a short trip with Togsoo to the Gobi. We would have been the only people on the tour. We would be met at the airport by a driver, cook and English guide. Guess the Alti mountains and the Gobi will still be there is we decide to return.

Toogsoo invited us to a presentation with the Korean and Japanese university today out of town a bit past the Russian region of Ullaabaatar. There is a lot of ceremony in honor of artists and people who do here. We met a few more of Togsoo’s artist friends today, some of who were in the celebration of international artists.

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We also spent some time looking at picture framers who may be able to cut some mounts for the works on paper that we did not bring mounts for. Unfortunately framers here do not seem to have mount cutters. Instead the Korean framers in Togsoo’s studios only make mounts by slicing each side with a mitre shape… A painting could then have four different color around the frame. The second framer nearby appeared to be a dealer too for there were hundreds of well framed paintings on the walls and no, he would only makes frames if you bought the whole garish frame. And then he would only make very fancy mounts, not the simple mount we need. The solution will be to pin the works directly to the walls in a more contemporary manner.

I bought one of Togsoo’s beautiful etchings today. Her studio is full of many large oil paintings, some we have seen previously and many new works. Her Lino cuts and few etchings available are very fine.

We have also spent some time in one of the Ulaanbaatar fine art museums where we saw many fine artists in the making. I was surprised to find most students here in the art school male. We seem to have a ghee percentage of females in fine art at home.

Impressive was the quality of the work being produced and how much still life and traditional work was set. I met some students mastering traditional Mongolian painting using pencil sketch and gouache paint. It was exquisite work.

Also interesting was how small a space each student had to work, and on entering the room the ‘quiet of concentration’ and work was happening; with maybe six to eight students easels on top of each other.

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Below is a photograph of the ‘Childrens Art School’ where Togsoo says she learnt to paint when she was young. What a great thing and how good would this be back in Australia. children here are introduced to art at the earliest age and some of the young children musicians are just wonderful. The sculpture is that of a young Lenin.

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