Bangkok, Kuan Yu Shrine

March 4, 2013

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I spent 3-4pm on Sat 23 Feb with what seemed like perhaps twenty or thirty foreign and Thai sketchers working on the Kuan Yu Shrine in Thonburi. As a Chinese temple in the wake of Chinese New Year, it was busy. Sketchers spread out in the pavilion close to the river and ferry pier (see photo with Kuan Yu Shrine at left and Kulwatil Mosque at right). I was one of the very few 2013 Sketchwalk Chao Phraya participants actually working directly into a sketchbook; I was surrounded by the cream of S.E. Asian watercolorists working on sheets of varying sizes taped to boards.

I had to ferret around for some water before settling down; I was getting increasingly dehydrated but eventually found a local shop which sold me two bottles  of water at 10 baht each. Obviously the shrine, like any similar Chinese shrine, is a riot of colour and I was self-conscious about my weaknesses – Chinese and Hindu temples (and add mosques to that as well) are not my strong points. Before venturing back to Asia again, I really need to feel much more comfortable drawing and painting these forms of religious buildings! They were certainly a “natural” for my Asian colleagues, but I am pleased I was able to “rescue” my watercolour sketch by being sufficiently relaxed to capture the sketchers in pencil.

Once I’d battled with the colour, I “surrounded” the vignette with pencil sketching, especially the sketchers working directly in front of me. I am much under the influence of Paul Hogarth at the moment, who sketched his buildings and streetscapes then added humans to provide both scale and visual interest.

Almost all of the original has fitted into this A4 scan which occupies an A4 page and slips over the gutter somewhat. I confess to knowing nothing at all about the Kuan Yu Shrine.

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A4 Laloran 120g sketchbook; pencil, pen, watercolour.

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