We don’t immediately associate Thailand with talented and sophisticated watercolour artists but that’s a very Euro-centric point of view. Many Asian countries have histories of artistic accomplishment which predate other areas and this is reflected in many artistic mediums. We’ve picked just three contemporary Thai watercolour artists to demonstrate the type of work that is currently underway.
Probably the best known outside Thailand is Soraya Runckel. An impressive career spanning many years has enabled her to exhibit all over the world including London, the United States and China. Born in Bangkok to well connected Thai parents, she showed an interest and aptitude for art from an early age, subsequently spending more than a decade studying Chinese brush painting in conjunction with watercolour techniques.
Soraya is the wife of a diplomat and her travels abroad tend to influence her work. In particular her spells in the United States and Beijing are regarded as particularly important.
A man with a dream and the talent to match is Nikom U-aksorn. Originally an electrical engineer, Nikom rose to become a senior executive at the Thai Oil Refinery while maintaining the dream to become a full time painter. Eventually the opportunity arose to take advantage of early retirement and Nikom could pursue his passion full time.
Ranking alongside Soraya Runkel in terms of exhibiting abroad is Pornchai Lerttamasiri. Pornchai was born and resides in Ayutthaya, the ancient city to the north of Bangkok which is filled with ancient ruins and other superb examples of Siamese architecture. It’s not hard to imagine how an artist could be inspired by such incredible scenery.
Although a specialist in watercolour, Pornchai also uses other mediums and has been exhibiting internationally for at least the last decade, particularly in the United States. One of Pornchai’s most interesting exhibitions was a display of paintgins using coffee as the medium in Oregon, U.S.