Bangkok, Wat Pho – 2013 SketchWalk Chao Phraya meet-and-greet

March 2, 2013

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A5 Laloran 180g sketchbook.

The first activity of the international urban sketching event, 2013 SketchWalk Chao Phraya, was a meet-and-greet (or “warm-up” in the local language) at the famous Buddhist temple, Wat Pho on Friday night, 22 Feb. We convened in the sala or courtyard of the wat and were welcomed by the head monk. Leaning on his umbrella, he welcomed the locals and foreign guests. He then took a group of us on a walk around the temple, including a more formal welcome in the opulent functioning temple, as opposed to the Reclining Buddha temple visited by tourists.

Sketching a Buddhist monk isn’t an everyday thing for me and I managed to include a couple of sketching colleagues (complete with black SketchWalk lanyard). While waiting for the mob from Penang (I understood they had a delay in train travel and their journey took 37 hours), some of us sketched the temple buildings.

The amorphous mass of 130+ sketchers proved difficult to ‘control’ throughout the weekend, with the huge group very often splitting into two. In tonight’s case, half went off with the Abbot and half stayed to sketch. Throughout the weekend, one group would be in one location and another large group in another. Start and finish times for every event were “flexible”; locations were also “flexible”; no-one was ever where you expected them to be at any particular time – it all ended up good fun in the end!

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