Category: travel

Sketching in Hot Spring Museum

wpid-imag3098It’s almost the end of another semester, so I figured I might as well upload one of the sketches I’ve done for the Architectural/Analytical Sketching class. I’m not very good at sketching, which was the reason I enrolled for the class, and I think I’ve picked up a few great tips from the professor. My work is of course a far cry from how my professor draws, but I think I’m starting to understand better the sketching process, like using prisms or solid forms as foundation of drawing details.

Actually today sketching session in Beitou Hot Spring Museum, the visiting tourists who saw us draw would often stop nearby and watch us draw. I was a little embarrassed of my work, but at the same time I felt good because people took notice of what we were doing. The first one to approach me was a Taiwanese lady, who asked which school we were from, and I replied that we were from NTUT. Then she asked if the lettering was done by me (I said yes), because she said the lettering and sketch were good. At the back of my mind, I was thinking why she’d think the lettering was good, but perhaps she did not realize I was a foreigner and can therefore read and write English more “naturally” than the local Taiwanese. I’d been speaking to her in Mandarin, so she might have assumed I was a local too. XD

Then there was one Caucasian guy who asked for my permission to photograph my work, even though I was only halfway through my sketches. Then a group of Koreans asked what I was drawing, and I answered that I was doing architectural sketches. They seemed somewhat “impressed” (for the lack of a more appropriate word) of what we were doing in the museum. Perhaps it’s not often that people sketch in tourist spots like the museum?

Anyway, it really did feel good to get some feedback from strangers. They were a great encouragement for me to keep on sketching until almost the end of the class. My own and other people’s perceptions on what qualifies as “good” work vary, and it’s a reminder for me that even if I can’t draw well now, I just have to practice more to get it right next time.



Love in Seoul Tower

I’ve actually written one draft post about the symbolism used in relation to love (which I haven’t finished writing due to insufficient research), and then I remembered some of the photos I took while on a family vacation to Seoul, South Korea in December 2011. We had visited N Seoul Tower in Namsan (South Mountain), the tallest point in Seoul. There we saw thousands of locks that hung from the fences, because of the custom that if a couple would lock a padlock together in that public space, their love would be “locked forever.” Well, I didn’t have a lock with me, so I couldn’t try that custom, but I think one of my acquaintances did put a padlock there when she visited with her boyfriend.




Me posing with the “tree” covered with love padlocks.

Apparently, some people also took to vandalizing objects in the area and wrote about their love. Since I can’t read Korean hangul, I have no idea on whether those characters are the names of the people who vandalized the binoculars. Yes, it might seem to be romantic to leave behind “evidence” that you’ve been to a certain place to declare eternal love, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to vandalize public property.



That’s my cousin (she can totally pass as a Korean, right?).


A giant metal heart sculpture. Really I’m surprised how they got that big object to stand on such a small base.

I actually find this love padlock custom interesting, because the couples who visit there are holding on to the hope that their love for their partner will last forever. The padlocks represent exactly just that—hope. The sheer number of padlocks to be seen there attest to the wishes and dreams of people who love (if not romantically, then at least for their family and friends), despite the possibility of losing the people they love.