Sunday, October 17, 2010

sketchcrawl #29

National Cathedral 

Holly tree sketch Bishop's garden

We regrouped and posed for a group photo at noon and headed off for lunch then headed off down the hill on Mass. Avenue towards DuPont Circle. We stopped at the Finnish Embassy to see if it was open but were disappointed to find it closed up. Along the way we discovered a little memorial park across from the English Embassy and everyone split up to draw for about an hour. I chose to go into the wooded area at the back of the memorial because there were trees there in the forest setting. 

Erin sketching at the memorial 
My woodland sketch at the memorial

Islamic Center's courtyard 
From the memorial we ambled down the road talking and visiting until we arrived at the Islamic Center on Belmont Street NW. It is a mosque and community center with a book store and ATM! We decided to look inside cautiously feeling a little unsure if we would be welcome. At first it seemed quiet deserted almost. Signs say please enter with head covered for women and everyone must remove shoes. So we took off our shoes to go all the way inside. It was elaborately decorated with Islamic motifs of plants representing nature long hand like a calligraphy. It is a small building with a dramatic sort of fantasy, giving a feeling of grandeur as you stand in the courtyard. We
Looking up at the tower from the courtyard.
spread out again and everyone began drawing different parts of the building. I felt tired and tried to draw the arches in the courtyard but soon found it was much more complex than my patience could cope with so late in the crawl.

While we were seated drawing there a group of men & boys in colorful caftans arrived. Next thing I knew there was a big white stretch Humvee at the gates and a party of women and girls disembarked stealing my attention from the architecture I was struggling to draw. I was shy about taking pictures but suddenly I saw the group's photographer and realized that what I was seeing in shades of turquoise and pink were the men and women of a wedding party. Someone reported that they were from Sierra Leone and this was clearly an African display of colorful costume on a very special occasion. I enjoyed watching them and wished there was a way to make this a water color on the spot. Full sun and blue skies gave all the colorful dresses full expression of joy and celebration. 
This is the second time on a sketch crawl I have had a first. Last time it was the delightful Brazilian all female drum corps practicing downtown on a Saturday morning in Farragut Square. This time a first time in a mosque and a first time to see a full wedding party in African wedding costumes. Both well worth the trouble of getting up early and walking for a long afternoon around town with a bunch of very nice artists. My drawings are not as rich as the experience and I always feel like I should have done more or had more color or like something was missing. It is hard to slow down and draw what you see and to do it all day is pretty draining. My pal Vincent confessed to being pretty drained after our third stop. We made it down to DuPont Circle and threw in the towel and hopped on metro and rode home together.

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