In 1998, the terrifying Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia collapsed, allowing tourists in for the first time in 20 years. I got there early, when there was more or less no one visiting the extraordinary and extensive temple complex at the northern end of Tonle Sap. These temples, lost in the jungle for 600 years, and mostly completely overgrown, provided fascinating subjects for the watercolourist, and wonderful opportunities to explore colour combinations to create sunlight reflected into the shadows of these extraordinary ruined buildings.
Thailand followed, painting exotic temples, much revered as pilgrimage sites, still the focus of the Buddhist religion, with magnificent golden domes, covered in gold leaf. To paint gold is to paint the multiple reflections in this gold leaf, which demands honest and accurate observation: gold isn’t gold!