Friday, April 7, 2017


4/3/17 brush pen, water-soluble colored pencils, ink

Earlier this week we had a brief moment of blue sky and sunshine. Even though I’d heard that the blossoming cherry trees in the Sunset Hill neighborhood weren’t quite at peak, I thought it might be my only dry opportunity. (My prescience paid off – it’s been raining ever since.)

While the University of Washington Quad’s famous cherries attract hundreds of people for an informal hanami celebration each spring, I prefer the much quieter show in Sunset Hill for two reasons: A different variety than the ones in the Quad, which are nearly white, these trees have truly pink blossoms. And for an introvert like me, Sunset Hill is a joy: Except for a couple of dog walkers, I’m almost always the only one there.

4/3/17 water-soluble colored pencils
 A block of old cherry trees transforms the neighborhood into a fairyland (as my friend who lives nearby calls it) for a few weeks each spring. I like to walk slowly up and down both sides of the street, marveling at the fluffy pink clouds overhead. Wider than they are tall, the canopies tangle with utility wires as they reach in all directions. The trunks, though, tell the full story: While people delight in their brief magic each year, those stout, gnarled trunks show that they’ve seen more than a spring or two. A moment of beauty is supported by decades of deep, quiet growth.

Some years I like to take a wider view, but this week I was more interested in the trunk of this particular tree than its blossoms. After sketching it from across the street, I walked up close and noticed that small clusters of blossoms were growing out of the side of its trunk, so I put that into the sketch. Finally, I walked around the tree to find a branch where I could get a good look at individual flowers and buds.



  1. Lovely sketch! I love the pink cherry blossoms and the canopy of blossoms. We've been watching the interactive map of the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens to time our visit there. We have a hard time decided if we want to see the blooms by the Japanese pond or the cluster of trees that form an alley of blossoms. Hopefully our weather will cooperate.

    1. Thanks, Joan! Here's hoping you get a lot of opportunities to sketch the pink! We're having a big wind and rainstorm here today that will probably take all the petals down.


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