Our first day in Oaxaca we set out for the Zocolo, sketchbooks in hand! Kate gave us the assignment to look at the darks and lights, the positive and negative spaces created by all the dynamic elements of this great location. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Oaxaca, this large square is full of huge trees (I wish I could have identified the variety) that perhaps 6-8 people could lock arms around the base of their trunks! There are gardens throughout with benches and people of all walks of life strolling, people watching, reading, enjoying the sun, mariachis playing – and surrounded by outdoor cafes and stores.
At first, walking around I was a little overwhelmed. “Where will I start? What should I pick to sketch?” Eventually, I realized I was most taken by the trees – very curvilinear with huge strong sinuous trunks, and huge limbs breaking off at extreme angles. And then behind them, many layers of other tree branches with light and shadow – arched doorways in shadow. OK, here we go – let’s just dive in and start! And so to my delight, the two kind gentlemen that I began sketching in front of one of these huge trees, had the courtesy to continue visiting until I was almost finished with the sketch. This is certainly different than the pace people race around in our American culture!
After the first sketch, I walked around looking for something different to catch my eye – and ended up being completely taken with another one of the huge trees. And fortunately, a solo gentleman made a wonderful model, to help complete the exercise in scale!