Friday, March 22, 2024

The Pink is On!


3/18/24 Maple Leaf neighborhood

Last weekend, all the cherry trees in town started exploding with pink! Our recent spate of good weather pushed them along nicely – just before several days of rain. Seeing the forecast ahead, I went out Monday intent on catching pink wherever I could.

I didn’t have to go far: On my morning walk, I found this old tree just a few blocks from home. I walk that route frequently, and it seemed to have bloomed overnight.

That afternoon, I went on a scouting mission to Sunset Hill, a favorite stop on my annual petal peeping tour. Those trees are usually a week or two behind the University of Washington Quad’s cherries, which were nearing peak at that point. I was surprised to find them closer to peak than anticipated – perhaps only a few days behind the Quad. Expecting to come back later, I decided to sketch them then and there, just in case the rain kept me from them before the petals came down.

3/18/24 Sunset Hill neighborhood

For the Sunset Hill sketch, I brought along my gouache and watercolors – contained in yet a new palette (a post on that coming soon)! Painting on location is always a more troublesome event than using my tried-and-true watercolor pencils, but every year the cherry blossoms push me to try it. This year I’m inspired by this YouTube video from Harumichi Shibasaki (Japanese with English subtitles). My jaw dropped when I saw how dark he makes the shadow areas – much darker than I would normally dare to use, especially with such pale pink blossoms – but his result is astoundingly beautiful. Emulating his example, I went as dark as I dared (though certainly without his elegance). More attempts in tomorrow’s post.

Sunset Hill: Not quite peak, but close enough!


  1. I love how you added the darks. It really makes the light blossoms stand out. His video was great. I'll have to try that when our trees finally bloom.

    1. Looking forward to seeing your interpretation of his technique!


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