When traveling in a foreign country, so much of what happens is completely out of your control. Which means that when you’re trying to draw on site, pretty much everything is out of your control, even when you think you’ve found a relatively “stable” site to draw.
In the B&B we stayed at in Taitung, there was a house with a pile of random clutter on both the left and right side of the house. I was excited, because if I sat on the steps of the B&B I had a perfect view of the site and could work on the drawings during down time.
My family left one afternoon to go to the hot spring down the street, and I had the rare opportunity to stay behind and work on drawings by myself. I sat myself on the steps of the B&B, confident that not only would I have plenty of time to draw, but that the scene was a stable one that wouldn’t change.
How completely wrong I was! I went to get my brush pens, only to realize that my family had taken my small travel bag with them, the one that had the set of brown brush pens I usually use! I brought many brush pens, but the ones that were left behind were super bright colors that I didn’t want to use, and black ones, which I don’t like as much because they are very bluish. I was annoyed about not having my brown brush pens, so I settled for the black ones and a warm yellow one.
After drawing for about 30 minutes, I realized that it was starting to get dark, so my “stable” site for drawing quickly turned into a completely different scene. All of the objects I had spent time articulating disappeared into the darkness and I couldn’t believe my bad luck between this and not having the brush pens I wanted!
I’ve learned to accept that this is just the way it’s going to be when drawing and traveling, so instead I embraced the darkness of the scene and created two night scenes: one of the house and another of a street lamp which was a few feet downwards.
Looking at these 2 night drawings, I’m actually glad things turned out the way they did. I don’t think I would have elected to 1) use my black brush pens or 2) draw a night scene on my own. Most of the brush pen drawings I’ve done on the trip so far have been pretty light, or had a full range of tones. Being limited to so many dark tones was a challenge, and I’m glad that I had this experience!