This morning I was roused from my slumbers at 5-30 and the sun was shining, so I went out to do some painting. It’s still cold here, but I took some tea to drink whilst the washes were drying and all was well with the world.
This was the second sketch of the day. I crossed the canal and ventured towards Clieves’ Hills – an area I paint a lot.
Here are some earlier sketches I did when we had a warm spell in April. They are up on the Cumbrian Coast in the Lake District. It took us an age to get there and on the way back the car started to do some very strange things. We limped home but it wasnt a happy day.
This is a view of the area as we climbed the hills behind Ravenglass.
This was a view over the River Esk as it comes to the sea at Ravenglass. The gorse was in full flower with bright burst of yellow all over the hillside – though from the sketch above you might think that they were daffodils.
Another of the street food series. I liked the oranges against the blues. I couldnt quite decipher what the stall was selling but the poses of the stall holder and customers was interesting. I’m still exploring the subject at the moment and even deciding what medium to use, though with pastel I seem to be getting a dynamic effect.
I have been a bit busy sorting out things for my exhibition which I am going to set up tomorrow. This morning I decided to do a sketch from our last day in Bangkok.
We weren’t leaving until the afternoon and as we had held our room we took the boat up to the main riverboat and rapid transport terminal of Sathorn and walked around the streets and alleyways that surrounded the terminal.
The whole placed teemed with activity and industry from cafes to engineering workshops. You get the feel that the skyscrapers are slowly taking over and there were building sites with lorries squeezing into them delivering materials and everyone worked around each other, all quietly going their own way and all the time the highrises crept forward.
All day long trains of barges carrying the city’s rubbish (I’ve been told) are towed down the main river, seaward. The barges are low in the water as they depart the city ( see a train of them below the reflection of the tall building) and then they return. bouyant, like corks. I must find out where it all goes to.
Up at 4-30 today to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat – along with a few thousand others. Waiting for the light I was able to sketch the outlines and make some colour notes. Probably not the most spectacular sunrise, but it was comfortably cool at that hour.
The day before we had tramped through the searing heat and visited some of the other temples in this massive complex. In the 12th century it was reported to be the biggest city on earth. Cracks and leaning buildings are testament to war, not earthquake. The displays of carving are exquisite and there are so many of them.
Moving further south in Vietnam we arrived at Hoi An. There was quite a lot of charm about the place, but you still dont escape the crowds and hard sell. The town is situated on Bon river 4 Km from the coast. It is an old trading post with many influences and a number of old houses.
We walked through the very busy market, where fish and squid were being landed off boats and chickens were being taken away for the pot and walked along to the old French Quarter by the waterside. Here pleasure boats and fishing boats were moored and for once there were very few people. A great place to paint.
In the afternoon, after sitting in a cafe and watching a monk come in and scrounge some cornettos for him and his mates we crossed the river and I sat on a shaded bench and painted the waterfront. Mid way through an old woman came by. It was obvious I had taken her favourite siesta spot, but I wasnt moving, so she made do with an adjacent bench.
I did most of this by the banks of the river at Hue. Scooters and small motorbikes are a major form of transport here and there are lots of them. The group of people changed in this one, but the woman in the sunhat stayed. They were a family or group trying to sell tourists trips on dragon boats and boy did they try – though they left me alone – perhaps they thought I might sell them a picture.
The land in Vietnam from north to south is heavily utilised. There are paddy fields everywhere and quite a few water buffalo. Many people work on the land. It looks like hard graft – reminds me that there might be some gardening to do when I get home.