Improving Area Knowledge

Went walking in Wenjiang. There was a leather store I wanted to see if I could find, based on my memories of the drive a couple of days prior. And a gate – I bet that the gate would lead somewhere cool.I haven’t really been walking around much in my immediate area.

I found the store – a place called Bull Heaven. I like this – being made into a travel ready camera bag is every bull’s dream! After pricing some bags I had seen before, I bought a little field journal type thing. I already have a journal for writing/whining, and I have this blog, but nothing for sketching or doodling. Now I do – and it looks pretty cool. It has a sailing ship on it – one of my mantra images.

The spring fashions are out in Wenjiang – riotous color and patterns seem popular, as do very short skirts and pastel lace. A few stores still have out the charcoal grey and black with metal accents. The fashions here are a little hodge-podge. Like the driving, it’s a “whatever I like” deal. So women were knee high boots with gold bows on them, bubble coats and Technicolor skirts. Colors clash all over the place – I sort of like it, in a weird way. It’s carefree. I will not be buying the rainbow prints – no jacket covered in baby photos for me! But it’s nice to walk – I have my music on and the weather is pleasant and I’m getting an idea of costs of things. Food is cheap, dental floss is expensive.

And I found the gate, and I was correct – it did lead someplace cool, the Wenjiang Cultural center. On the second floor I hear a children’s choir concert. Outside are some Tae Kwon Do toddlers demonstrating for their parents. A man explains the museum to me in English (he works for an Israeli company, which is how he learned), and I make up a passport number so I can go in. The translations were not very helpful, but I got to learn a little about what art and burial goods had been unearthed in the surrounding area, and see some more cool traditional architecture and sculptural work. They are not afraid to use color in their carvings! Dragons are blue, white, gold, and green, and multicolored cloud motifs swirl around them.

Feeling carefree myself, I decided I would try to sketch. I am a terrible illustrator – I can never achieve with my hands what my eyes see. I appreciate, however, that the only way I’m going to become better at drawing things is by practicing. So I plopped down and broke out some paper. My subject – a dragon carved into the stairway.I started off by myself – that’s why I chose the spot to draw. But soon I had onlookers – a few people standing right at my shoulders, watching me draw. I felt embarrassed – I was doing a great injustice to my dragon subject already, and now I was feeling performance pressure. I get like this when I feel I’m being judged on talents in which I have less faith – drawing, for instance, or playing my violin. I know I could be better and I’m not, and I feel it. I turn to the boy who has decided to sit next to me, and hold up my dragon drawing. I point to the stone carving, then to my drawing and the space where I made a glaring mistake, and make a face. He smiles and drifts away.

Mom would tell me not to think about these people, and I try to take her advice to heart.Perhaps this is a good opportunity to practice not thinking about what others think about me. Double skill improvement!

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