Lost under a canopy of leaves
Chiang Rai in northern Thailand is a tourist gem. Often overlooked by its famous neighbour, Chiang Mai, it is home to Thailands best artist temples and lush tropical garden cafes.
My favourite place is Wanders Cafe. Under the canopy of giant trees is a carefully landscaped oasis (that cleverly appears wild) in which you can sip a coffee (made with almond milk, which is a rarity over here).
I could spend all day at this place, lost in a tranquil jungle of green shade and beautiful leaves.
This is the inspiration behind my work titled very originally as "Garden Cafe."
This artwork can be purchased here in my ETSY shop.
If I had a list of top 10 places in the world, I day dream about returning to for an afternoon, this Cafe has made that list.
Over the years, on various visits, I have enjoyed watching this garden develop. It is set on the banks of Mae Kok river. If you wander down to the river, you will be greeted by noisy geese. The vegetation down near the river is mostly just the tall trees with dried leafy undergrowth. The lush garden you wander through has been carefully constructed under this canopy. Orchids and ferns are attached to trees and long vines trained up the tree trunks. A series of ponds and pathways meander past incredible palms and the sort of plants most of us dream of cultivating in our homes, only these are giant versions of our miniature indoor plants.
The giant leaves give me a sense of place and I feel protected by this garden. Protected from the heat of the sun and the noise of a vibrant city. Even on scorching days the shade is deep, and cool, and bird sounds echo around.
This is not the only incredible garden setting Cafe in Chiang Rai. Along the river, in obscure suburbs there is more, each with its own charm and aesthetic.
My "Garden Cafe" artwork is about favourite places that you day dream about returning to. It is about the nurturing cocoon of a thick canopy and the beauty of being immersed in large leaves.
On a side note - when I first started making this artwork, it was going to be a digital collage. I was enamoured with the hippie sequin cushions in the hostel and I was going to use this fabric texture in the leaves. But I decided against this medium and went with the illustration instead.
I love lying on my back under a leafy canopy! Good for the soul.