Bangkok, Sketchwalk in Portuguese-Kadeejeen

March 15, 2013

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A4 Laloran 120g sketchbook; graphite pencil and watercolor.

Day two of the Sketchwalk weekend in Bangkok was devoted to two suburbs of Thonburi, on the western undeveloped side of the city’s main river, Chao Phraya. The Buddhist theme of Saturday morning was taken up again in the afternoon of Sunday, but the morning was spent capturing the Portuguese quarter around the prominent Santa Cruz church.

Like the other great religious landmarks of the area, Santa Cruz has its own ferry wharf or pier. Those at Kuan Yu, Kuwatil Mosque and Wat Prayurawangsawas  are simpler and more intimate, but the Santa Cruz Pier is quite distinctive with its white woodwork and red-tiled roof. While the pier is visible in my sketch at left (with Bangkok’s principal landmark building, Wat Arun, in the distance), I was very taken by the suspended walkway from Memorial Bridge all the way to the next canal or klong, with its distinctive iron lightpoles. The walkway and lightpoles appear to have been completely revived in recent years, I daresay through the positive influence of the Art in Sois Festival, the annual event drawing attention to this historic part of Bangkok and the distinctive communities of which it’s composed. I have no idea if these footpaths, now pedestrian/cycleways, existed elsewhere in Bangkok.

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I tried to replicate the rose-coloured sky, heavy with air pollution. My nervy pencil sketching reflects the general congestion along the pathway, thick with sketchers. I’d seen a photo of this pathway in advance publicity associated with the Sketchwalk; it’s always nice to ‘recognise’ something in real life that you’ve looked at previously only digitally or virtually.

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