Tag Archives: erin lau

El Zócalo, Oaxaca, Mexico

29 Sep

El Zocalo © Erin Lau 2010

The Zócalo, or main plaza, in Oaxaca was peaceful and social in the days after the national Gubernatorial election of June 2010.The place was completely cleared of protesters and only a few stalls remained. It was back to the social life of lazy afternoons. They completely re-planted everything except the trees within two days, so it was an utter transformation. I wish I had also been able to sketch the protestors and their encampments, but I never got the chance.


Templo Santo Domingo, Oaxaca, Mexico

12 Aug

Templo Santo Domingo, © Erin Lau 2010

After a couple months back in the States, I grew restless again, and decided to go on a trip with my boyfriend to Mexico for three weeks. We stayed in Oaxaca for the majority of our trip and made a point to draw almost everyday, outside of taking four hours of Spanish a day. We both drew this, the beautiful, looming Templo Santo Domingo in Oaxaca, Mexico. It was only a three minute walk down the block from our homestay, and we admired it everyday. We loved how, unlike other cathedrals we saw in Mexico, this one had a raw quality about it, with chiseled greenish blue cantera stone. The plaza before it was always lively with activity, hawkers, cultural events, teenagers socializing. The amazing Ethnobotanical garden within its cloister walls completed it.

Accepting Commissions!

28 Apr

Now that I’m back home from my travels I will be accepting commissions for watercolors and  illustrations of your travel photos, memories or anything you would like turned into a painting or sketch. Here is a recent commission I received from someone who found my blog and wanted a memory of his trip to Vietnam, during which he lost his camera, except for some photos like the one the painting was based on.

Original Photo of Saigon at Sunset

Saigon at Sunset 2010

Assi Ghat, Varanasi, India

18 Mar

Assi Ghat is the largest and Southern-most ghat along the main artery in Varanasi. It is also the most touristy, since many hotels and guesthouses are located in this area. But it doesn’t feel deprived of culture, there is still a daily puja ceremony in the evening, chai wallahs, men hanging out together, cultural drama productions in Hindi, and a few dhobis washing clothes. I went there this one evening with a friend from the academy, and sketched casually as we swatted away  mosquitoes and moths. The sun was descending behind the city, and the Ganga was in shadow. I later painted my sketch, remembering a certain dusty rose hue that the city adorned at sunset, and a drab gray blue shade along the river bank.

Rickshaw Stand, Varanasi

17 Mar

At the Ralco cycle rickshaw stand, I watch the rickshaw wallahs come and go. When they have some spare minutes they stop to drink chai, or get their tires pumped. The older rickshaw drivers are incredible, with legs that are literally the size of my forearm, they routinely pedal whole families of four – and I think my arms are skinny. Most don’t fit their cycle very well, barely reaching the pedals with their stick legs, and straining so hard you think the chain will surely snap. But in India anything is possible, “Bharat me, sab kuch milega“.  It is definitely only a viable industry in flat cities, something I thought about a lot, being from hilly Seattle. Despite the hardship on the drivers, it really is an efficient eco-friendly way to cart multiple people around. Not that we don’t have ‘pedicabs’ in the States, but they are pretty restricted to tourist areas. All I know is that if Seattle were flat, I would have a rickshaw. I bet they could become trendy in Portland.

Sunset at Ganga Bank, Varanasi

16 Mar

View from Ganga Bank Guesthouse, Varanasi © Erin Lau 2010

It was Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, known for its raucous misadventures in covering people in liquid and powder color, but I had been spared. I had pretty much stayed in my room all day, because the people at the academy warned of such horrid misbehavior by drunk or drugged men (its mostly men out there) so it was pretty easy to avoid the color snipers on the roof and the ground color grenade throwers. At the same time, I kind of feel like I missed out on a really potentially fun festival. Nevertheless, I decided to go to the roof of the nearby Ganga Bank Guesthouse to soak up the colors of the evening sunset, and watch the city, sleepy from the daytime celebration, fall into shadow as the sun sank behind the temples and mosques.

Halong Bay, Vietnam Oct 28 2009

5 Nov

Lost in Halong Bay, watercolor and ink. Erin Lau © 2009

Aboard a Chinese Junk, the four of us plied the emerald waters of Halong Bay, skirting the Karst outcroppings, stopping to kayak, swim to secluded beaches, feast on fresh seafood, and sleep under the stars on the deck (by our request). In the middle of the night I crept downstairs to splash and oar through the magical phosphorescent water, and though tempted to swim, decided to let my half-asleep body go back to star gazing.

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