Monday, February 23, 2015

Sketching with Sean

More of my work takes me to Kuala Lumpur these days and since Sean and Sara are studying and living in KL now - work combines with family life in a nice symmetry that I enjoy. When I was recently invited to introduce our practice to a client there, I use it as an opportunity to invite my favourite young man to breakfast and maybe a bit of sketching. Perhaps with me offering some fatherly advice on ink and wash (and life). We agreed to meet in the morning at 8 in order to give him time to travel to me by public transport.

View of KLIA2 from my window seat
But work first. I flew budget to KLIA2, the long journey and the waiting time gave me time to fill a few pages of my sketch book. My contact person in the client's company was a former trainee, now an architect working with this large property developer. Again, I was pleasantly reminded of life's symmetry - this young person whom I mentored and gave tips to about architecture is now (10 years on) giving me tips about my presentation to her bosses. The meeting was long but enjoyable and I felt a rapport with the people there, we agreed to put some thoughts on paper for one of their projects.

Seanie trying out my water brush
Sometimes, I visualise the outcome of an event; the sequence of conversation, the exchange of words and looks, a facial expression, a gesture. Sometimes the actual event turns out much like how I imagined it. I thought that the hotel breakfast would be mediocre and it was; that he would arrive a little late and flustered as he is prone to do when he arrives late; that he would eat little and talk even less until prompted.

Sean's sketch of a parapet detail
Then later as he cooled down, he also warmed up to the task of telling me about his recent field and listened to my suggestions about doing quick sketches and trying different media. While he concentrated on his sketches, I made the most of the hotel's buffet service and made us cups of tea with honey and toast with butter and jam.

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