I hadn't got to draw a temple after having sketched for a few weeks. I knew I would though because it's a ritual for me to go to Long-shan Temple for new-year praying. It is one of the most famous temples in Taipei, certainly worthy of being recorded in my sketchbook.
When I arrived at about four p.m., a huge group of followers were reciting mantra together. In the beginning I attempted to find my place in the crowds when worshipping the gods. A voice in me beckoned, "Hurry hurry hurry." However, after I sat down to draw, I succeeded in ignoring the unceasing footsteps by my sides. People in my image made a uniform gesture of holding the incense in their hands, but such a simple act, for me, had a very devout feel to it.
I hardly raise my head to look at passers-by who pause for a glance at my pictures. My sketchbook is always open, inviting those who are interested to join me either in silence or else. Since I started to sketch regularly in Taipei, I have found that people here are quite into drawing. In fact, I attract more attention here than in London.
When drawing complicated architecture, I have to rely on my imagination to fill in the details my eyes don't see well. Maybe my viewers, standing next to me, see a bigger picture than me. In the end when I lost track of what I was drawing, I still gained much praise. I ran into a lady today who asked me if I was drawing an illustration. She also draws, buildings in particular, so she loves my temple very much. She even asked if I have a business card so she can recommend my works on the Internet.
The night was about to fall. Sketching is racing against time and standing one's ground. When others compliment me, I always give my standard answer, "In fact, if you are willing to sit here for a while, you will come up with something similar too." I don't have answers to many questions, but there is one thing I am so sure of--as long as I spend time sketching, I won't fail to produce images.
I am halfway through the winter break. Over the past weeks, I have been sketching to accumulate mental forces. Now I have felt new determination rising. I guess I am blessed by the gods in many ways...