Beauty, elegance and intrigue resonate as I walk throughout the rooms, courtyards and around the rock formations. The fish and I moved freely among the raindrops and found myself in a maze of ornately designed structures. As the wind increased, the scent of the gardens permeated the courtyards and when the sun diminished, the design of the interiors became more prominent.
The Yi Fang room was my place of solace from the torrential rain and most importantly, a source of inspiration. The room was designed to create the illusion of a boat floating and moving along the shore. How Appropriate! The ambient light was reflecting the warm tones of the wood and the rain created a curious backdrop to draw/paint. I focused on the rhythmic patterns, strong rectilinear lines and concave shaped clay roof tiles.
My 2 hour respite provided opportunity to meet people, ages 8-80 with thought provoking conversations on neuroscience, travel and the arts. As I painted, onlookers commented in Chinese, Russian, French, German, Scandinavian and English. Even though I could not understand their comments, their body language conveyed curiosity and appreciation. FYI, I spent my downtime from teaching at SIA-Shanghai to creatively immerse myself in Chinese history and culture.
top image: Yu garden – watercolor pencils to sketch and a wet sable brush to release the pigment from the paper.
One of the highlights of the day were 2 young boys who sat by my side (literally) for approximately an hour. They seem to be more curious on how I was going to interpret the environment then joining their family meandering through Yu Garden. Our body and facial gestures were our language of choice and they spoke volumes.
As I was leaving Yu Garden a quiet moment presented itself. It was inspiring to draw on a hot, humid rainy day. Stephen Ang