Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Watercolor Travel Journal - Sketches from the Holy Land Part 1 Tel Aviv to Tiberias

My husband and I have planned to go on a pilgrimage trip to the Holy Land for years. Somehow, we ended up travelling elsewhere, concerned about safety and the threat to peace in the Middle East. But then, friends and family have  gone on similar pilgrimages and have come back safe and sound. So this year, we made a pledge to ourselves that we will not travel anyplace else until we go to the Holy Land. We booked a tour online with Israel Travel Consultants and added an optional tour to Jordan. We were so excited to finally embark on a trip to Israel with an added bonus of seeing Petra and other parts of Jordan. Our tour was called 'Footsteps of Jesus' and we were basically following Jesus' journey from Galilee to Jerusalem where He would die on the cross. The tour was designed so that we were on the same path and schedule as the last days of Jesus preceding His crucifixion.

I have been keeping a travel art  journal of the trips we make, and this was no exception. My journal consists of watercolor sketches featuring the places we visited.  I used Arches Carnet de Voyage with 140# paper in a ring binder.  I do a preliminary sketch with a pencil, then I would go over the pencil  sketch with fine tip black permanent waterproof inch pen and then apply artist grade watercolor (Schminke and Daler Rowney, this time). I do on site sketching,  but  most of the time  I use our photographs as reference for the sketches since it is difficult to sketch on the fly especially if you are in a group. On this trip,  I found finding subjects to paint  challenging and not as interesting because of the desert hues, which seemed monotonous and drab. So, I just gave it my best try. But then again, these are sketches and not meant to be masterpieces.

Here is the first installment of my journal.

After an overnight plane ride with a layover in Vienna, we landed at Ben Gurion airport in the afternoon and proceeded to our hotel on the Mediterranean coast of Tel Aviv. The next day we boarded our van with 10 other pilgrims with our  guide Yaakov and driver Isaac and started our pilgrimage which would take us from Tel Aviv to our hotel in Tiberias (on the shores of the Sea of Galilee).

Tel Aviv- Yafo
Our first stop on the tour was the Old port of Jaffa (Yafo) which is now part of Tel Aviv. This sketch is of the Statue of Faith on the highest point of Old Jaffa. It features Jacob's dream, the sacrifice of Isaac ad the fall of Jericho. We also visited St. Peter's Church nearby.
My pen sketch for the Statue of Faith

Statue of Faith in Jaffa

We drove along the coast to the archaeological site of Caesarea built by Herod the Great about 25-13 BCE as a port city. The city was the seat of Judaea Province during the Roman Empire. The ruins of the old city is now a national park.

Remains of the Roman Aqueduct serving the city of Caesarea

Our next stop was Haifa, Israel's third largest city and a major seaport on Israel's northern Mediterranean coast and home to the Baha'i World Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Baha'i World Center in Haifa

Mount Carmel (Muhraqa)
Then we went atop Mount Carmel to a place called Muhraqa,  where Elijah is believed to have resided and challenged 450 prophets to a contest at the altar to determine which deity was genuinely in control of the Kingdom of Israel. There is also a Stella Maris, Decalced Carmelite Sanctuary and Monastery on site.

Elijah's Monument on top of Mount Carmel
Tel Meggido (Armageddon)
We then proceeded to another World Heritage site, Tel Meggido, also known under its Greek name Armageddon. In ancient times, Tel Meggido was important due to its strategic location at the head of a pass at Carmel Ridge into Jezreel Valley.

Model of gate at Tel Meggido which I imagined overlooking Jezreel Valley

We drove southeast towards Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus and where Joseph lived and worked as a carpenter and the Virgin Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would conceive Jesus. It is a major Christian pilgrimage site and features the Church of the Annunciation and St. Joseph's Church, built on what tradition dictates as the site of the Annunciation and Joseph's house, respectively.

Church of Annunciation, Nazareth
with many depictions of Mary from different countries
Kfar Cana

Our last stop for the day before we reached our hotel in Tiberias was the Wedding Church run by the Franciscans in Kfar Cana or just Cana. Tradition places this site as where Jesus' first miracle of turning water into wine occurred. The Franciscan Church is steps away from the Russian Orthodox Church also believed to be the site of the miracle. Since they are so close together, one can assume that this is the general vicinity of the miracle.

Russian Orthodox Wedding Church in Cana

Next: Watercolor Travel Journal- Sketches from the Holy Land Part 2 - Around the Sea of Galilee and the Northern Border of Israel

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your sketches and your perspective of these important places in our faith history. It sure brought back memories of my pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I am looking forward to Part II.