Peace Pagoda, 30th World Wide Sketch Crawl

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This weekend, about 100 local San Francisco artists met at a cafe near Japantown for the 30th session of the World Wide Sketch Crawl, led by and organized by Enrico Casarosa of Pixar. Although the idea is to sketch around the chosen neighborhood, I thought I would spend my day studying the beautiful monument at the Japantown mall plaza, the Peace Pagoda.

It was a challenge, to be sure. I have always admired the structure; now that I've attempted to construct it, my appreciation of the architecture has deepened. All of those ellipses stacking up toward the heavens...each entity existing in it's own harmonious and continuous form. I wonder if the artist meant to suggest that all of them together, stacking up in diminishing degrees, points toward a greater peace.

This plaza was filled with the hectic noise and bustle of the city. I edited out bus stops, street lamps, ugly steel fences and even edited out the large crowd. I felt this structure, the Peace Pagoda, deserved to be honored as it's own statement as a focal point. Although, I couldn't help myself - I took a few irresistible artistic liberties with the top, simplifying and exaggerating the shapes. They reminded me so much of the kind of thing the great Mary Blair would have designed. Fitting, I thought, as it really is a small world, after all.