view counter

The blog serves as a collection space for a variety of musings and observations of the world around us...through the use of sketches, drawings, photos, images and videos...intended to be shared and to stimulate thoughts, ideas and inspirations...douglas wittnebel

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ginkakuji temple in Kyoto, sand garden setting..."sea of silver sand"

The Silver pavilion's two stories are constructed in two different architecture styles and within there stands a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.  The interior of the pavilion is not open to the public.

The Silver Pavilion was never really covered in silver like the Golden Pavilion.  More likely the thought is that the name arose as a nickname more than a century after the building's construction to contrast it with the Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion in western Kyoto, or it might have been that moon light reflecting on the structure's dark exterior (which used to be covered in a type black lacquer in the past, love to have seen that) gave it a kind of silvery like appearance.  A setting in front of the pavilion is an expansive, meticulously maintained dry sand/gravel garden feature known as the "Sea of Silver Sand", with a massive and perfectly formed truncated sand cone named "Moon Viewing Platform". 

On the day of my visit, it was hot, very hot.  95 degrees and the sun was intense.  Around the base of the trucnated cylinder and around the base of the whole sea of sand, there were small holes created by digger wasps, creating harbors in the sand for their future offspring.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ninna-ji, Kyoto, Shoro belfry, Japan

The temple of Ninna-ji was built at the end of the 9th century. At first it was Monseki-jiin, which also served as the residence of a member of the Imperial family who had entered the priesthood. Presently, this temple is the center of the Omuro sect of Shingon Buddhism.  

To the west of the Kondo temple building there is a beautifully large and imposing vermilion tower with a bell Shoro Belfry tower, a fine example of the bell towers built in the Edo Period. It is said to have been built in the Kanei Period and it has been designated as an important cultural property. The watercolor sketch shows the vivid vermilion and black colors of the bell tower structure, a favorite combination of colors of mine. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Daimonji Gozan Okuribi, Daimonji Bonfires, August / 2014

I never imagined I would be able to witness or document this once in a year or lifetime event.  As a part of the events of Obon,  the recognition and awareness of the return of the ancestor souls, this memorable evening was framed by rainstorms before and after and heavy mists that lifted before the lighting of the fires at 8:00 P.M. lasting for over thirty minutes.  
I painted the upper view and my daughter painted the middle and lower Kanji characters in yellow for "Dai" or BIG! 
"... The Daimonji Gozan Okuribi (Daimonji Bonfire) is an event held every year, rain or shine, on the evening of August 16th, when gigantic Chinese characters and other motifs are depicted by fires lit to illuminate the surroundings for patrolling on the slopes of the mountains surrounding the Kyoto Basin. It is a famous for evoking the image of a Kyoto summer.
Although there are several interpretations as to the origins of this event, it is generally regarded as a fire set alight at the gate for seeing off the souls of ancestors after commemorating the welcoming of their souls.
The character of "dai" (meaning "large") on Mt. Daimonji, and those of "myo" and "ho"which make up the word "Myo-ho" (wondrous teaching of Buddha) on Matsugasaki Nishiyama and Higashiyama mountains are famous..."

From the gallery level of the Tokyo Sky Tree in Oshiage, Tokyo, looking down on the shadow cast to the eastern edge of Tokyo

An amazing experience looking down from the sky tree to the urban fabric of Edo below...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer sights and sounds in Tokyo

Two of the many sights and sounds in Tokyo, the brrrrrrrrrringgggg of the cicada, Semi, sounding through the city and the trees.  And the bright green leaves of fresh Shiso growing in the gardens and pathway edges. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bound and Tied Palms

Notes about the bound and tied palm trees that can now be seen at the Bay Bridge approach from the Oakland side.  I could not resist trying to capture the unique image of those towering trees. 

Palms have a relatively shallow root system for a tree their size. The leaves or fronds are tied up after transplant with biodegradable material to prevent the wind from knocking them over (the overall surface area is larger for untied palms than tied palms).  Once the roots become more established, the ties can be removed and the fronds/leaves can be free.

In addition, the tied up fronds/leaves lose less moisture than freed ones. Water is very critical right after a palm is transplanted, and leaving the leaves tied up helps to conserve the palm's moisture levels.

The ties rot after several months, by which time the tree has established enough roots to fully supply its water needs.

Friday, July 25, 2014

DFW terminal E Gate 9, 95 degrees in July...

...some layover time spent at DFW on the way back to Cali, spotted an open mouthed jetway connector gasping for air in the 95 degree heat of the Texas July sunshine.

Monday, July 21, 2014

drawing double, the digital and analog world of drawing...

a capture of an razorpoint pen ink drawing on tracing paper image used as the layer within the sketchbook ink app on the iPad to illustrate the tech stylus drawing of layers...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sentinel crane, Port of Oakland

 More time spent down in the port of Oakland area and West Oakland, more time spent capturing the essence and image of the container cranes by the water edge...mix version of apps, adobe ideas and sketchbook ink and procreate apps on ipad

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Japanese wooden bath stool, sketches and prototype...

conceptual design sketches and constructed prototype of the wooden bath stool, typically used for Japanese bath ofuro...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bonus Day afternoon under the green grape vine vaulted trellis ceiling at the Concannon winery in Livermore

A perfect setting for an afternoon party celebrating the bonus day at Gensler.  The San Ramon office ventured over to the Concannon winery in Livermore for some wine, food, bocce ball and relaxation.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bank of Oakland Building on Broadway

This building sketch/painting of the former Bank of California building.  this was featured in the article from Urbanist magazine, published by SPUR.
At the corner of 12th Street and Broadway stands the original headquarters for the Bank of Oakland, a unique combination of lower masonry block muscle and a taller decorative tower. The main building went up in 1907, and the tower portion was added later, pushing up to the height of 225 feet (18 stories). Now the bank occupies the building with other tenants and histories. A series of Corinthian columns and pilasters support and frame the top levels of setback windows. The top-level spaces must have terrific views of the adjacent Tribune building. Perhaps the two towers wink at each other in the early morning hours.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DOM, Diocese of Monterey, St. Vincent dePaul Church in Davenport, California

The church building is standing at the end of the Davenport Avenue in the town of Davenport.  Built from concrete and cement supplied from the Cemex plant just north of the town, the church has stood since 1914 and was also apparently a subject of a photograph by Ansel Adams...have not found the image in my interent search...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

post it note sketches unbuilt and a quote from John Singer Sargeant

you can draw and sketch on many surfaces, and sometimes the closest thing within reach will do when you are ready to sketch an idea before it flits away...another sampling of small sketches done on post it notes with red pen... unbuilt...

"You can't do sketches enough.  Sketch everything and keep your curiousity fresh." 
John Singer Sargeant

Grand Canyon Sketches 2009

Grand Canyon Sketches 2009
a selection of sketches from the Grand Canyon