Finding a Different Kind of Beauty

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We were in Hualien the last few days, which has incredible mountains in Taroko Park with breathtaking views. The landscape is so completely different than anything I’ve ever seen, and it is amazing to see.

You would think these views would inspire me in terms of drawing, but I’ve been finding that I don’t have any interest in drawing these quintessential views of the country.  Perhaps because I feel that my drawings cannot compete with the real thing?  Either way, I’ve been much more attracted to small moments that I’ve discovered down the road from where we are staying, or somewhere across the street.

Compared to where I live in the US, the small towns we’ve been visiting are pretty run down.  The streets aren’t maintained at all, and it’s not uncommon to walk down a road and see a rusty, abandoned bicycle on the sidewalk or random pieces of broken wood and tires. Despite how dilapidated a lot of these areas are, I find them very beautiful.

These scenes are also a big challenge to draw, everything is so cluttered and unkempt that there’s no logical form or structure that you can follow. Although occasionally you can spot a bicycle wheel or a rope in the pile of objects, most of what you see is so cluttered that it just looks like a decrepit pile of undefined objects. I have to squint a lot when I draw, observe the forms really carefully, and be okay throwing down marks that really don’t seem to make any sense in the context of the drawing.

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