Vietnamese artist Dinh Ngoc Son

Regarding the reason why nostalgic landscapes with palm tree images are at the center of Son’s paintings, it can be found in one of his pieces of writing.
“Many people ask me:
-        Why do palm trees appear so frequently in your paintings?
-        You love painting palm trees or is that the only thing you know how to paint?
-        The sun shines in your paintings, still, they look sad!
And so on.
Yes. They are all right. Absolutely right. Their questions have already implied the answers, haven’t they?”.
When I was a child lived in the village, I stayed with my grandma. Our bed faced a garden. At the end of the garden stood a palm tree. Every morning, when I opened my eyes, it was the very first thing I saw through small holes on the mosquito net. Every noon when I came home from school, it was the palm tree that I could see from afar, just like a beacon helped to spot my house. Every afternoon, the palm tree was where I turned my glance back to see if my parents found out that I sneaked out to wander in the fields. Every night, it was still the shade of the palm tree that was imprinted onto the moon. The palm tree was engraved in my mind before I drifted off to sleep.
It was like a friend to me in my pure imagination. Though it could not speak, I know it lived. More genuine than any sentient beings.
It was until I began grade 10, they cut it down and said there was no more room for it in the patch. It left me a scar. Somehow it felt like a loss.
When one gets familiar to something, something he sees from the moment he welcomes the morning sun beams and it impresses into each gaze he looks upon before he closes his eyes. Something seems like a crony to him. Understands all of his thoughts, his hope and his dreams. The palm tree was that something to me.
I do not blame them. Just felt pity. Perhaps only a faddist like me would go pity a palm tree. Would grieve over a palm tree. 
My hometown actually is not an exquisiteness. In other words, not anymore. Or to be frank, its charm only lives on in deep reverie of a dreamer like me.
In the vague memories of a little boy exists the palm tree here and there. Along the lane I walked to school. It lied beneath the hills through the fields as far as the eyes could see. In the late afternoon, a breath of smoke prowled in the air as the straw was burnt and by the thatched houses there it stood.
It grows out on the hillsides, from the seam of the trail, the edge of a trench, on the roadside… shading the scorching sunlight for the farmers at summer noons.
My dad once told me. In just two years, a cottage built in olden days roofed with thatch would decay, but with palm-leaf it withstanded for a decade or so. Without the palm tree, we would be starved.
But for the young like us, without the palm tree nuts, we would be starved! Us, kids, we simmered the hand-picked nuts when it was in season. A rich and nutty taste longed at the tip of my tongue that even the most sterling delicacies could not be likened to it.

But the sky could never be as blue as it was.
Asphalt roads, concrete walls, new schools, dispensaries, palm tree groves replaced with ones for fruits or timbers… everybody was glad, everybody was excited.
Walking on an asphalt road would be easier than on an unpaved road. Enlarging the school would thrill the kids and trees with fruits would earn more than some leaves from the palm trees.
And there a lone palm tree, thrives in the fainting yolky color of the late afternoon sunlight, hushedly passes from sight, and my beloved home would never be the same, since.

This has always been how reality reigned. Only the musing mind of a romantic would regardlessly dwell on the paths passed by.
The more joys the past brings, the more longings come with it.
And the most ethereal spirit would keep yearning for the grace in the enchanting dreams of the lively reminiscence. Because with him, only it is appealing, and only it is beauteous. And only it is worth being plunged into to reveal and relive. Once again.

What evokes nostalgia are all melancholy.
What WAS all evokes nostalgia.