Kyoto sketchbook (and “canvas”!)

I can’t believe we are going to Singapore on Sunday. I haven’t felt this sad to leave a place since we departed Reykjavík last October, and for the same reason: I feel there is so much more I could create and learn here.

Since the last time I wrote, we’ve visited more temples, parks, and gardens, some of them famous. We’ve gone to a sushi party and met new people. I went to the baths last night just before midnight, and I spent this morning at an antiques market. And there will probably be similarly fun activity in the coming week, along with all the usual errands that seem to pile up right before we leave a place. But at the moment the only thing I want to show you is my drawings. Here they are in chronological order.

15-minute sketch of Kamogawa (Kamo River), done to pass the time before a haircut appointment

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Sketch (in stages) of the view from the Zen sand garden at Ginkaku-ji Temple

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Sketch (in stages) of a flowering ume (Japanese plum) in the Imperial Park

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Sketch (in stages) of the fir tree next to the ume

I’m still not sure whether it was a good idea to add the trunk.

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Sketches during the sushi party

With watercolor pencils and waterbrush, in a new sketchbook

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With brush pens, in a Moleskine given to me by Bri before we left last year (same book I used for the other sketches)

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adventures with ink and brush

One of our new friends came over today and was kind enough to bring over calligraphy supplies for us to play with. (Also kinako cookies.)

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I did take a calligraphy class through Chinese school when I was probably about 10, but I never got the hang of it. But our friend said to just make whatever we felt like. Then she taped everything up in the courtyard. “Garden gallery,” she said. (Anyone want to guess which pictures are mine and which Erik’s?)

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She also brought a big piece of fabric for me to paint on. I think it’s cotton muslin. She and a friend put it up for me (and tied the little tree’s branches out of the way), and then turned me loose.

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I’ve never painted anything so large, though I’ve been wanting to for months and months. The corrugated wall made for an interesting painting surface.

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Our friend and her friend pronounced the painting wabi-sabi, which makes me very happy. It’s still hanging in the courtyard as I type this; I can see it through the glass panes in the sliding doors.

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