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.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Watercolor Travel Journal -Sketches from Jordan

On a recent trip to the Holy Land, we added Jordan to our itinerary. Jordan is a beautiful country bordered by Israel, Syria, the Palestine Territories, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It's terrain is very similar to Israel and Palestine with which it shares the River Jordan and the Dead Sea. The history is also quite similar.

As has been my habit of late, I keep a watercolor journal of our trips as a remembrance.  I find that doing so keeps the memories fresh and more vivid.

I also posted three blogs about our experiences in Jordan:

(Click on link to visit)
A Journey to Jordan Part 1 - Jerash and Amman
A Journey to Jordan Part 2 - Petra
A Journey to Jordan Part 3 - Madaba and Mount Nebo

I start by sketching in pencil. I normally like to do this while I am at a site but this time our travel and sightseeing is so fast paced, so I just took pictures of what I might want to include in my journal and sketched from the reference photos. After I was satisfied with the pencil sketch, I went over it with a waterproof, fade proof fine point pen. My favorite is the Micron .05 but I also like to use the Pitt XS. I then erased all the pencil sketch with a kneaded eraser. For this sketchbook, I used a 7" x 10" spiral bound Strathmore watercolor field book. It had a sheet of paper in between which I also used for sketching. I like the spiral bound because it lies flat. I normally use the Arches Carnet de Voyage spiral bound watercolor journal but I could not find it anymore. I think I may make my own journals so I can use my favorite watercolor paper. After the pen sketch, I was ready to apply my watercolors. This time I used Schimenke  and Daniel Smith watercolors. I found it a little bit daunting  to paint my Jordan subjects because most of the subject is stone work and desert, so with some of the paintings I took some artistic license with the colors.

Here are some sketches inspired by the places we visited:


Sketches of Jerash Archaeological Site

Pen sketch

One of the structures at the crossroads of the Cardo where travelers would place images of gods to pray for thanksgiving and protection

The Temple of Zeus

A Bedouin taking a cigarette break  at one of the niches at the Amphitheater

One of the backdrop niches at the Amphitheater

The completed journal page for Jerash

Sketch of Amman

A view of the Amman from Citadel Hill



Sketches of Petra

First View of the Treasury from the Siq
El Khazneh or The Treasury, one of the most beautiful structures in Petra. For more details on this structure please click on The Treasury  link
Pen sketch of camel riders with the Royal Tombs in the background

The completed sketch. These are camels for hire that takes you around the site. In the background, carved on the mountain side is the Urn tomb.

Pen sketch of view of Royal Tombs from Colonnaded Street
Completed sketch. From left to right is the Urn Tomb, Corinthian Tomb and the Palace Tomb.



Sketches of Madaba

St. George Greek Orthodox Church where the Madaba Map is located. The Madaba Map is a fascinating mosaic made in the 6th century that represents the bibilical land from Egypt to Lebanon. It decorated the pavement of a Byzantine Church  in Madaba.

Madaba Mosaic Artist  at work. I really enjoyed all the mosaics we saw, particularly the ones from the Byzantine period,; so much so that I will try to find a class where I can learn more about Byzantine mosaics and maybe how it is done.


Sketches of  Mount Nebo

The Brazen Serpent Sculpture representing the cross, Moses' staff and the bronze serpent found on top of Mount Nebo.
"And The Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live." (Numbers 21:4-9 RSV)

Bedouin shepherd with his flock
The above picture brings to mind this Psalm

~Psalms 23:1-6~
The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not  want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Amen.

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