Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Pink on Capitol Hill


3/24/24 Capitol Hill neighborhood

Until I had learned about it from my yoga instructor last year
, I didn’t know that this usually quiet street on Capitol Hill needed to be a permanent addition to my petal-peeping tour. I sketched there with a few friends then, but this year I felt greedy if I didn’t share it with USk Seattle. I even ordered up some sunshine that was delivered just in time for our outing on Sunday afternoon. The rain and wind the past few days had already sprinkled pink snow on the pavement, but we caught the blossoms just in time before they passed their peak.

To give gouache another try, I found a typical Capitol Hill bungalow framed by pink on this residential street (at left). Then I followed my ears to the other end of the block, where a teenage violinist was busking for all the petal peepers (below). From the looks of the cash in his violin case, he seemed to be doing a brisk business, and he certainly gave a pleasant soundtrack to our pink fairyland.

When I turned around, I spotted a sketcher dwarfed by an enormous cherry behind him (top of post). Frustrated (as usual) by the gouache and watercolor I had used previously, I resorted to my tried-and-true brush pen and watercolor pencils. (I’m not sure why I keep trying paints when I like the results of my “usuals” so much more.)

Although sketching the cherries at the UW Quad will always be a mainstay, I have to admit that I prefer neighborhood streets like this one and my favorite in the Sunset Hill neighborhood. There’s something special about walking slowly down the middle of a residential street (moving to the sidewalk when occasional cars come through, always slowly as their drivers and passengers take in the splendor) lined with these majestic trees on both sides. I imagine it must be especially magical for the residents who wait for their block to transform each spring.

Note: My sketch of these trees last year is dated April 13 – three full weeks later than this year. A recent article in the Seattle Times talks about how the dates of cherry blossom peaks are giving researchers data about climate change.



  1. These are great sketches! I can imagine standing there sketching while being seranaded by the violinist. He found a very good place for his busking.

    1. I think I scared him away, though, because as soon as he noticed me sketching him, he looked at his money and decided to pack it up! ;-)


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