You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
– Maya Angelou
The small sketchbook I carry with me every day is a way for me to record memories, the passage of time and fleeting thoughts I might want to revisit for creative projects.
After a busy day translating, I look forward to heading out for a walk to find a sketching spot. It allows me to reconnect with my surroundings and brings life back into focus.
Here are a few sketches from the city of Cuenca, Ecuador.
Of course, a café is a great location for sketching people. The challenge is to do so discreetly.
According to the psychiatrist C. Robert Cloninger, “Novelty-seeking is one of the traits that keeps you healthy and happy and fosters personality growth as you age.” (The NY Times)
Who wouldn’t want to be healthy and happy while developing a well-rounded personality?
There is a catch, seeking novelty involves embracing change. In my experience, it’s a conscious choice, rather than something that occurs by happenstance.
So, motivated by a desire to learn something new, I made my way to the crafts market and found senior Martinez, the flute maker, where I had purchased a flute a few days earlier.
In broken Spanish, I signed up for quena lessons.
It’s as if I have been given a blank canvas, new art material and a different palette. It’s exciting and unsettling all at once.
Most of us have noticed that when it comes to experiencing novelty, we are met with resistance. It sounds like that little voice that tells you that it’s too difficult, it will take too much time, the circumstances aren’t right, etc.
As my husband and I travel, one of my goals is to keep a sketchbook of our trip.
Sketching regularly is new to me. I’ve always written and drawn, but very sporadically. It’s not easy to set aside some time to sit still.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
It doesn’t have to be a big thing that’s scares you, but just enough to push you out of your comfort zone.
I’ve chosen sketching. I’m really enjoying these peaceful moments. As if I was meditating, the world around me fades away as I focus on the lines and contours of the building or scene before me.
You’ll notice some writing in the background of the above sketch. To me, sketching is an exercise. If I am not satisfied with what I’ve done before, the page may be covered over by another drawing, painting or some writing.
Cuenca, Ecuador, is an outdoor canvas for a wide variety of graffiti and street art.
As I discover my new neighbourhood and explore the city, I’m enjoying the many colour displays. Some represent abstract themes, others historical moments or cultural references. Street art transforms empty cement walls into bright displays and gives character to otherwise plain buildings.
Won’t you come for a stroll with me?
Calle Larga (long street) — an ordinary building in bold and bright colours.
Friendly and mysterious characters found along a wall on my way to the market.