We went to the Archaeological Monument of Xochicalco, which features the ruins of a huge commercial and religious center of the Olmeca-Xicallanca people. There is a museum and extensive excavated ruins of what once was a very large town constructed mostly of stone. Portions of the ruins are reconstructed and visitors are allowed to climb on these parts. The monument was filled with families and tour groups. My goal with this sketch was to communicate what an amazing place this is and the appreciation people seemed to feel for it.
This was a challenging composition and I drew it several times before I was somewhat satisfied. There were many people visiting the monument and at first I put in so many of them that the pyramid was overshadowed. Additionally, the now faded relief carvings on the side of the pyramids are important in signifying the importance of the site but when I painted them as they seemed, the pyramids were understated. Eventually I reduced the number of people and then both abstracted and emphasized the carvings and stones, and that seemed to communicate my feelings about Xochicalco better.
This is a pastel and gouache sketch on black paper.