The town of Petchabun is around four to five hours drive from Bangkok, but you can fly there if you want. We made it in less than four hours, so perhaps you understand my Schumacher comments above! Lom Sak is a further 65 kilometers north.
The further north we drove the more evident it became that there had been some serious rain. Rice fields were flooding, water pumps were everywhere and many houses seemed to be isolated by water.
Driving into Lom Sak what had seemed to be flooding became a torrent. We had arranged to meet our first artist outside the local Bangkok Bank but the car couldn’t navigate the water, so we changed venue.
Our first artist, Khun Warawut, arrived on his moped and suggested we walk to the place where we were going to have lunch.
“It’s 200 meters, no more”, he said.
200 meters of walking through a small river seemed excessive to us so we elected to drive. Now this was both a good and bad choice. Good because Warawut’s 200 meters was at least 2 kilometers. Bad, because the flooding got so bad that we couldn’t move the car.
Mr. Schumacher (my driver) may be very good at high speed maneuvering, but he does not thrive in the wet. We were stuck.
After a certain amount of panic and screaming we managed to get the car turned around and back onto relatively dry land and then moved onto an alternative location for lunch.
Lom Sak is too small a town to have any “5 star” restaurants, so no French or Italian cuisine today, but we found a pretty good Thai place and tucked into some really very tasty noodle soup.
We had decided that it was not a good idea to take the car to Warawut’s home, so we found a tuk tuk and set off to follow Warawut on his moped. To be frank I am not a fan of tuk tuk’s. I find them unsafe, uncomfortable and unsavoury, but the flooding was just too severe to risk the car.
Warawut had indicated that his house was just 200 meters away. It’s a good thing he can paint because he definitively cannot manage math. 200 meters was about 5 kilometers.
The last kilometer was a mud track and it was here that we came to grief. The tuk tuk could manage water without too much difficulty but the engine lacked enough power to get through the mud. Warawut had disappeared into the distance. We were stuck and lost.
The solution was provided by Khun Ris. The driver got out to push from behind. I was told to look after the handbag. Khun Ris climbed over onto the bike and guided us through the swamp.
I was impressed! She is a woman of surprising talents!
Warawut’s house is large. He lives there with his fiancee (they are getting married on the 20th of this month). The entire house has been turned into his studio. There are paintings, sculptures, etchings and more everywhere.
There is no space for furniture, no space for a kitchen, no space for even a bed. Apparently they sleep on the floor beside a small television which is itself hidden from view by canvas upon canvas.
Both Ris and I loved the place. It’s so pleasing to go into an artist’s studio and see them at work and to observe the passion that goes into that work. I would love to do an exhibition there. It’s almost ideal exhibition space but, sadly, far too isolated to be a realistic location. A pity but we did come up with a plan for a fun video based around his work at the house.