Sketching at 1837 MASL

Before I started painting with watercolor a few months ago, I have always loved sketching using ink pens (and still am doodling and sketching on table napkins, paper place mats, and practically on anything). I carry with me notebooks, both big and small, everywhere I go because important moments should always be recorded in their pages. That’s all I need.

I wrote a post about our trek to Mt. Polis in my travel blog and I was unable to mention the “other” things that we did in the summit. The essay was purely a narrative of prose-poetic sentences that emphasized my feelings – oops! You won’t read much about art or sketches there but you will however read about that unique experience during the climb.

Knee-shaking view atop Mt. Polis

Knee-shaking view atop Mt. Polis

While up there, most of my companions were busy taking photos of birds flying around, stunning indigo mountains, and generally the breath-taking view before us. I had my little notebook on hand and a small pen.

“What to sketch?”

Under the shade of our tent, I began tracing the outline of the mountains from afar, the rice terraces below, and quickly outlining my friend Emman’s back (he was mentioned in this post) while he was sitting on a rock. His movements bothered me a lot and I could not just say “Hey, please sit still” because that will ruin the mood. So, despite the changes, the lines and crosshatching and whatever “style” I could think of, carried on.

Quick on site sketching at Mt. Polis, 1837 meters above sea level.

Quick on site sketching at 1837 meters above sea level.

At some point, when I browse through the pages of my travel notebooks, those significant memories sketched and doodled all over its sheets would simply play back on repeat – like movies carefully selected for us to reminisce.

To me, sketching is powerful because it does not need any words to describe it. The strokes, the pressure of the pen, the unnecessary marks, the tiny mistakes, they are the elements that make a simple illustration come to life, thus, telling the story.

The feeling of creating something atop a mountain, surrounded by nature and the beauty of Mountain Province, is incomparable.


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