The far end of a quiet country lane in Rayong is the remote but an entirely suitable setting for Elsie’s vision to create a supportive environment for guests to relax, explore and create. “Elsie Evans Art Retreat” is the brainchild of Scottish expat Elsie Evans, whose paintings, drawings and illustrations have delighted and enthralled Bangkok art lovers for more than 20 years.
Elsie Evans Art Retreat is, however, one of her finest works. The property is a combination of studio and classroom for students, central lounge and community kitchen, a number of indoor and outdoor relaxation and eating areas, a separate four-bedroom all en-suite residence for overnight stayers, a good-sized swimming pool, encouragingly interactive landscaped gardens with produce all year round, and land and plans for future expansion and evolution.
Most guests come to this idyllic spot to tap into Elsie’s considerable experience as an art teacher who is just at ease with kindergarten kids as with retirees. Elsie supplies all the materials, and her classes embrace all facets of art, including sketching using pencils, paints and pastels, and still life drawing. As well as the abundance of beautiful landscapes and scenes that surround the retreat, live models can also be arranged with prior notice.
For those who opt out of the classes, the relaxed atmosphere of this genuine away-from-it-all venue is a wonderful alternative attraction. So, while the children learn all about art, mum and dad can sit by the swimming pool with a gin and tonic in-hand or head off to nearby Hat Ram Pheung beach.
From the outset, Elsie has endeavoured to make the retreat far more than just an art school. As an expat in Thailand for 30 years Elsie has fine-tuned her passion for hosting, a talent she perfected years ago while running the legendary Attic Studios in Bangkok and the variety of visiting personalities, and she has taken that natural joie de vivre and transplanted it in Rayong. At the retreat, everybody is encouraged to muck in and share the entirety of the space and ethos of the venture.
Popular Scottish painter is perfectly at home with her new studio in Rayong
By Colin Hastings
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FOR the past couple of months, The BigChilli has tasted and tried more than our weight’s worth in fresh seafood on ice and grilled seafood, sizzling Foie Gras, an array of succulent a la minute char-grilled meat, uncountable amount of imported rich cheeses, and oh so much more. We finally put together a cumulative list of Bangkok’s 20 best Sunday brunches tasted and tried by yours truly for you.
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TUCKED deep inside the grand loop of greenness on the western side of the Chao Phraya River known as the ‘Green Lung of Bangkok’ is the village of Bang Nampheung in Prapadaeng. It’s home to one of the city’s most authentic yet least known – at least to the city’s foreign community – floating markets.
It’s not an easy place to find, which probably explains why the market is not on many tourists’ radar. Once discovered, Bang Nampheung offers hours of fun browsing and haggling with hundreds of simple vendors selling an amazing array of local products and foodstuffs rarely seen elsewhere in Bangkok.
Unlike other floating markets, Bang Nampheung is a relative newcomer, having been set up in 2004 to help locals sell their agricultural products. Only people living in the immediate community are permitted to ply their wares in the market, and there are limits on the number of vendors and what they sell. Nonetheless, it has grown considerably over the years, expanding well beyond its original location beside a small canal, and now does a thriving business with other locals and visitors from Bangkok.
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Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER