Near, Middle, Far

In this view of an art museum in Palermo, I am looking from an upper level, through a staircase in the middle ground, to a courtyard beyond. To convey a sense of spatial depth on the page, I attempted to use relative values and value contrast to suggest what is near, clarifying what is in the middle ground, and again merely suggesting what is far away. In the image below, I have stripped away the color to show the equivalent gray values of the sketch.

An American Austin

Came across this old car in southern Washington on a road trip a few years back. It’s a bit worn, having seen better days, but it still stands proud.

My best guess is that it’s an American Austin from the 1930s, a version of the English Austin 7 that was produced in Pennsylvania. The body of the relatively small, compact car was designed by the Russian-American industrial designer Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. Its short wheel base made it a popular choice for conversion into hot rods and drag racers in the 1960s. The Packrat nameplate on the grille might refer to a customizing shop in California.

Xia-Hai City God Temple

Xia-Hai City God Temple, built in 1856, is nestled on Dihua Street in the Datong District of Taipei City. The temple hosts statues to the City God, the Chinese Cupid, and hundreds of other deities within its 152 square meters. In Chinese mythology, the City God originally protected the wall and moat of a city. Later, it became a deity who protected against natural disasters and administered to the spirits of the dead.

On the 14th day of the fifth lunar month each year, the temple hosts a City God Birthday Procession, which includes lion dances and other theatrical performances. In 1985, Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior designated the temple a historical monument.

A Kyoto Scene

The Deva Gate on the left leads up to Kiyomizu-dera (Pure Water Temple), a Buddhst temple complex on the mid-slope of Mt. Otowa, in the eastern part of Kyoto. A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, the temple was founded in 778 by Sakanoue-no-Tamuramaro. Most of the present structures were rebuilt in 1633 after a fire. Notably, the Hondo (Main Hall)  and the wooden viewing stage that juts out from it were constructed without the use of nails, just the art of Japanese joinery.

Happy Lunar New Year!

In the Chinese Zodiac, this is the Year of the Ox, beginning on February 12, 2021. The ox is an animal valued for its role in agriculture and for being honest, hardworking, and reliable. Those born under this sign are said to be strong and independent, but may also be very stubborn. Famous people born in the Year of the Ox include Napoleon, Vincent Van Gogh, Adolf Hitler, Walt Disney, Richard Nixon, Saddam Hussein, and Barack Obama.

Shakhari Bazar

A narrow street in Old Dhaka, densely lined with decorated brick buildings and artisan shops specializing in the crafting of jewelry from conch shells. The following images show the evolution of the sketch, from a stream of consciousness approach to the overall composition, followed by the application of darker values that begin to define major shapes, and finishing with a few inked lines to suggest certain details. I definitely prefer laying ink lines over a watercolor rather than laying down watercolors over inked lines. The former technique fosters a freer approach to the laying down of color and value.