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30 Jun 2016
Sketches from Chiang Mai

As I was saying, I spent about 3 weeks alone in Chiang Mai, Thailand last December. I just posted my sketches from the previous week in Singapore, and now here are the Thailand sketches! Honestly they're mostly a bunch of wats.

An ink and watercolor sketch of Wat Khuan Khama
Wat Khuan Khama (near some of the best khao soi in town, Khao Soi Khun Yai)
An ink and watercolor sketch of Wat Fa Ham
Wat Fa Ham (near the other best khao soi in town, Khao Soi Lam Duan)
An ink and watercolor sketch of a songthaew, which is a kind of red truck that functions as sort of a cross between a bus and a taxi in Thailand.
I got around mostly by songthaew. You hail these little red trucks and tell them where you want to go, and if you're lucky they say sure and name a price. It's usually ~20 baht anywhere in the old city, and more if you want to go further afield. This is a pretty great deal as compared to how much you'd otherwise pay for a tuk-tuk.
An ink sketch of a tuk-tuk, which is sort of like a Thai taxi
If you can't catch a songthaew, you take a tuk-tuk. On the plus side, it's just you and therefore goes exactly where you want with no side-trips to drop off other passengers. On the down side, it's an order of magnitude more expensive.
An ink and watercolor sketch of a mug of tea and a temple
Bird's Nest cafe was practically around the corner from where I was staying, so of course I spent lots of time there. Great tea, and a view of yet another lovely wat
An ink and watercolor sketch of Wat Pha Bong
Wat Pha Bong
An ink and watercolor sketch of Wat Pha Bong
Another take on Wat Pha Bong
An ink and watercolor sketch of a child playing the drums
There were a few kids playing music and accepting donations near the big Saturday night market.
An ink and watercolor sketch of Wat Fa Ham
I wish I could remember where this wat was.
An ink sketch of a temple
Or this one.
An ink and watercolor sketch of a woman cooking under a large vent
I kept going back to this lady, since she was willing to serve me food that was actually moderately spicy.
An ink and watercolor sketch of fish

29 Jun 2016
Sketches from Singapore

I went traveling alone last December, spending about a week in Singapore followed by three weeks in Chiang Mai, Thailand. (And then Dave met up with me for a week and a half in Taiwan at the end, but I didn't do much sketching there since I was with him.)

I tweeted my sketches as I went, but since it was such a fantastic trip I really wanted to gather my favorites together in one place here as well. (I'll post my Thailand sketches separately, soon!)

An ink and watercolor sketch of Abdul Gafoor Mosque in Singapore
Abdul Gafoor Mosque was just a few blocks away from my hotel!
An ink and watercolor sketch of a walking path I stumbled across in Singapore
Just a charming walking path I stumbled across.
An ink and watercolor sketch of a very nice stranger's motorcycle in Singapore
A very nice strangers stood quietly watching me sketch this motorcycle for a long while, then apologetically interrupted me and told me that he had to leave. I was super confused at first - I hadn't realized it was his bike I'd been sketching the whole time!
An ink and watercolor sketch of clothing hanging by HDB (public housing) in Everton Park, Singapore
A friend of mine insisted that I had to visit HDB (public housing) while I was there, so I got to sketch laundry drying in Everton Park.
An ink and watercolor sketch of a small red shrine in Maxwell Food Centre in Singapore
These small shrines were ~everywhere.
An ink and watercolor sketch of some pao (steamed buns) I ate in Singapore
I was obsessed with the coffee lotus buns at this one place over by Cassia Crescent.
Another ink and watercolor sketch of some more pao (steamed buns) I ate in Singapore
So obsessed. I should make bao more often now that I'm home!
An ink and watercolor sketch of dirty dishes
Since my Singapore trip was so food-focused, I feel I ought to end with these dirty dishes and birds that kept trying to eat them clean!

10 Nov 2011
Montreal sketches (September 24-27, 2011)

I did this sketch with a Pilot Varsity fountain pen at the Old Port (Old City?) in Montreal when I was there to shoot a friend's wedding, and finished it up with watercolor and a teensy bit of white jelly roll pen for the words:

I flew into Burlington, Vermont and then took greyhound to Berri-Uqam station in the middle of Montreal, on my friend's recommendation. When I got to the station, I found this guy sleeping behind a row of benches. People sat in front of him, totally ignoring him. He looked more like a backpacker than a bum.

(Drawn in ink on a sketchbook page I'd pre-splattered with coffee.)

I sketched this next guy in the airport while waiting for my plane to fly back home yesterday, which was crazy delayed. A TSA agent leaned over to look at sketchbook and complimented me profusely, which was a delightful change from my usual TSA interactions.

(Sketched with a pilot varsity fountain pen and noodler's heart of darkness ink, watercolor to finish, over a lightly pre-splattered page.)

06 Oct 2011
Still More Yellowstone

You have to understand, I just don’t know how to convey this to you. I want to, I’m trying to, I’m giving it all I’ve got. But we thought we were going to see dull geysers, still stumbling around cranky and exhausted from freezing-cold-camping-induced sleep deprivation the night before, and somehow we stumbled into seeing this sort of thing.

Bleary. Getting sunburnt around the edges of our layers. Mike in a hoodie, as you see. But astonished at what we’d found.

As Lisel Mueller wrote, “I tell you it has taken me all my life… to learn that the line I called the horizon does not exist and sky and water, so long apart, are the same state of being… What can I say to convince you the Houses of Parliament dissolve night after night to become the fluid dream of the Thames?”

And then, then, let us go to one of the deep green places of the world.

I kept wondering why so many trees were down, everywhere we looked. I later learned part of the complex answer - huge fires, blowdowns, pine beetles, the way forests change over time. But not the whole story.

The best is yet to come.

We walked a long, curved road through icy winds and hot steam towards the Grand Prismatic Spring. It felt like the hot springs in Costa Rica, where I spent a day alternating between searing my skin under a pounding hot waterfall and standing out under a light, stinging shower of cold rain. Like alternating between a hot sauna and a cold pool. The walk itself was a luscious physical sensation. Even now, the thought of it fills me with a deep sense of peace and joy.

And as we approached the spring, it certainly didn’t hurt that when the winds blew the thick mists away, we saw this:

It looked like a watercolor painting in real life, too.

One of the most incredible places I have ever seen. And yes, those colors were real, right in front of my eyes.

Mists and mists and ORANGE! and mists and mists and GLORIOUS WATERS.

Layer upon layer.

Can you see the blue in the mists over the center of the spring? When you look at it from above, you can see that color in that section of the waters. But even from the side, the color rose up.

And then we left. The rest of the world seems drab in comparison, sometimes.

(That’s when it’s time to get the paints out, or turn on the torch!)

13 Sep 2011
More Yellowstone

Prismatic pools what? I had no idea, going into Yellowstone. Just NO idea. I even looked at postcards at the gift shop and laughed at how the photographers must have amped up the color intensity for the commercial prints. Nope.

Not at all.

Oh look, there's Mike!

Misbehaving as always.

Gunslinger interlude!

Quick, someone splattered paint all over the landscape!

With clouds echoing the flowers below, writ large.

More microorganisms!

So much inspiration for next time I sit down at the torch to work with my glass!

There's more yet to come, of course.