|3/27/13 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor, Uniball opaque white marker, Stillman & Birn|
When Greg and I traveled to Japan in 2007, it was late-March, and the whole country was on high cherry blossom alert. Similar to leaf peepers on the East Coast who track the color of maples as it moves southward, the Japanese media were reporting early sightings of the pale pink sakura blossoms beginning on the southern end of the islands and moving northward. We had to leave before the peak, but we still enjoyed many flowering cherries in Kyoto.
Although I’m generally observant of seasonal changes, I have to say that I’ve become more sensitive to tiny hints of spring since I became a sketcher. It’s been a long, wet winter as usual, and last Friday’s freakish snowstorm was a rude turn. Maybe that’s why it was such a shocking delight to find that so many cherry trees at Green Lake had suddenly blossomed this week. When I spotted this one (only a couple blocks north of the bare trees I sketched a week ago), I was so eager to sketch it that I slammed on the brakes rather abruptly and probably parked a little closer to a stop sign than was legal.
For the Japanese, the brief appearance of cherry blossoms each spring symbolizes the fleeting bittersweetness of life. I’m not quite that poetic or philosophical, but maybe for me, cherry blossoms symbolize the fleeting bittersweetness of outdoor sketching weather.