Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has been fond of painting, sculpting, and crafting since she was young. While she was in her third grade, she painted “Dokmai Sri Moung” (The Purple Vase) and “Ton Harng Nok Yung” (The Aborvitae). Her Royal Highness’ “The Purple Vase” was inspired by her observation while His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was painting. She asked permission of His Majesty for colors to work on “The Purple Vase.” As for “The Aborvitae,” she painted it because she liked the beauty of the orange colour of the tree.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has studied with many art masters. When she was in the kindergarten, she learned how to use crayon. In elementary school, she studied art, handicraft, and painting with crayon. Then, in her late elementary school, she started using watercolour—gouache type. Additionally, she also learned sculpting and Thai-style painting. Especially Thai-style painting, Her Royal Highness has been properly trained therefore she could really paint in this style. This skill was approved while Her Royal Highness was studying at Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, she bestowed a Thai- style painting upon His Majesty King Baudouin of Belgium.
While Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was studying at Chitralada School, she drew pictures for her classes and also for her leisure. She used black pencils, pens, and fiber-tipped pens for drawing. She enjoyed sketching and drawing cartoons from her imagination and surroundings such as people, animals, and trees, to name a few. Her Royal Highness could draw very fast in every occasion. She drew on envelopes, paper, exercise books, notebooks, diaries, sketchbooks, and ceramics. Furthermore, she drew cartoons for her writings such as Kangkaroo Tour, Crystal Nights, and Forward A-Far the Sand Streams, to name a few. Her Royal Highness furthered her drawing studies with many art masters. She studied how to draw puppets and Thai art theory.
After finishing the ninth grade, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn did not properly learned drawing with any teachers. However, in 1980, she had an opportunity to study art from an eminent Thai architecture artist. On Teachers’ Day of the students from the SUPPORT Foundation, the eminent Thai artist performed a sacred ceremony for Her Royal Highness. It meant that she could be a professional artist and teach other people.
“Vanasom” (A Pavilion in the Forest) was Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s first painting done when she grew up. She intended to paint it as a pattern for embroidery. She thought that this painting was the most difficult one because it was full of details. It took a while for finishing this artwork: it was completed in 1982.
Since 1983, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has worked on painting seriously. That was inspired by ancient Chinese poetry, which she studied with a Chinese teacher, and a gift of oil colour. Her eight paintings inspired by the ancient Chinese poetry were painted according to her poetic interpretation. She conveyed her emotions and feelings through colours and strokes such as “Lae Jan” (Seeing the Moon), “Chao Na” (Farmers). Her Royal Highness was very satisfied with these poetic artworks, especially “Chao Na” (Farmers) with red color for a whole picture. She said in ‘Tor Sri Tiep Fan’ (Weaving Colours, Creating Dreams) that the red colour was able to elaborate thoughts and tragic lives of the farmer very well.
Most of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s paintings portrayed scenery, forests, flowers, sea, and streams. She did not name the paintings, but called them according to the significance of each painting.
On the occasion of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday anniversary, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn painted “View Aumpur Narkae, Nakhon Phanom” (The Scenery in Narkae, Nakhon Phanom) and “Mae Nam Khong” (Khong River) for bestowing upon His Majesty. As for “Thang Wogwon, Norway” (The Winding Road, Norway) and “Dok Bua Tawai Phra Phorn” (Lotus Greeting), she painted and bestowed upon Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.
Furthermore, there was a group of paintings called “prompt” painting. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn painted these works unexpectedly. Most of the time, she used watercolour and painted pictures that she was acquainted with such as elephants, lotus, and flowers. She would paint promptly when she visited some places and also when she was an honourary guest in some events and the hosts already prepared artistic equipment and asked her permission to paint. The hosts would like to keep her paintings as memorable objects. On 6 November 1989, Her Royal Highness visited Srinakharinwirot University on the occasion of the Annual Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Day. The hosting committee asked permission of Her Royal Highness to paint with watercolour while there was a show on the stage and she would stop painting when the song playing came to an end. She was able to paint six paintings — “Chang Sri Fah” (Blue Elephant), “Chang Sri Daeng” (Red Elephant), “Chang Sri Khaew Chu Dokmai” (Green Elephant Presenting Flowers), “Nark Dontri Tee Kong Wong” (Musicians Playing a Gong), “Bua Khow” (White Lotus), “Dokmai Khob Khun” (Thank-you Flowers). Then, in 1990, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over a watercolour painting exhibition at Narai Phan Pavilion, Bangkok. She painted “Ton Phai” (Bamboo) with Chinese brush. Moreover, in 1993, she painted “Chang Thesabaan” (Municipality Elephant) for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on the occasion of visiting the Celebration of Chinese New Year on Yaowarat Road.
In 1994, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited the Computer Graphics Center, Faculty of Fine Arts, Srinakharinwirot University and utilised the computer programme to draw an elephant. In 1995, when His Majesty the King was admitted to Siriraj Hospital, she looked after His Majesty closely. During that time, she painted “Kob” (Frog) with watercolour; and “Mangmum” (Spider), “Chang Phlai” (Male Elephant), and “Haan” (Goose) with Chinese brush. She also used her notebook computer for drawing “Pi Kun” (Year of Pig), “Pa Phai” (Bamboo Forest), and “Ton Mai” (Trees). Her Royal Highness called this group of seven artworks “Siriraj Artworks Series.”
When Silpakorn University did research on and finally produced economical quality colours, the University bestowed watercolour, acrylic, and oil colour upon Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. She first used all three types of colours in 2002. She also granted the product name “Sri Silpakorn Pradit Lae Sri Vijitrong” (Silpakorn Colour Products and Exquisite Colours).
Besides, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has been interested in potteries. At the beginning, she moulded the clay into many styles of dolls in Chiang Mai, Thailand. After that, she used a brush for painting on other series of potteries.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has been keen of art and produced many artworks according to her works published in ‘Weaving Colors, Creating Dreams’ and ‘Artworks of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’. The Silpakorn University Council really admired her talents for many cultural subjects and bestowed the Honourary Degrees in Thai Art, Pottery, and Painting upon Her Royal Highness in 1988, 1990 and 1995, respectively.