Mother and Child

[please use with Coastal Arts Guild]

Silk painter Chinh Le will be the guest speaker at the Thursday, Feb. 7, lunch meeting of the Newport-based Coastal Arts Guild.

Born in Vietnam Le is a retired physician with no formal art education who moved to Corvallis with his artist wife, Jeri, in 2004.

Le uses a French technique called Serti where dye resistant resin lines, or gutta, are drawn on silk before being filled in with dyes.

Le said his fascination with silk painting began in 1995 in California’s Bodega Bay, when a good friend showed him the technique.

“Like bright kites flying across the foggy coastal sky, the gutta lines swirled and the colorful dyes flowed to my delight,” he said, “bringing out joy to the fine but otherwise lifeless white silk.”

There is a wistful beauty in Le’s silk paintings — a balance of melancholy and joy in the scenes of people and water. But despite their seeming delicacy, the paintings are as sturdy as a scarf made for practical use.

Le’s subject matter includes people going about their daily lives, creating a contrast between those who struggle for survival in Vietnam and those who enjoy the bounty of the Pacific Northwest.

“This corner of the Earth is truly a paradise for artists,” he said. “Here again, I paint people in their daily life as they work, play, or simply exist. I squiggle over my silk the twisted lines of fate, and fill in the colors of life, as each painting takes on its own short tale of fantasy, joy or melancholy.”

The Feb. 7 lunch meeting will start at 11 am at the Newport Visual Arts Center, 777 NW Beach Drive. For more information or an invitation to attend, call Mary Holt at 541-765-4599.

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