Friday, May 3, 2024

Seattle Chinese Garden for International USk Week


5/1/24 Seattle Chinese Garden

When I looked at my blog to see when I had last sketched at Seattle Chinese Garden, I was surprised to find that it was six years ago. I think USk Seattle has met there since, but I must have missed that outing. In any case, it felt familiar yet fresh to be back there again with other sketchers.

Since the garden’s annual Peony Festival is next weekend, we were all hoping we’d see some blooms, but our recent weeks of cold must have discouraged the flowers. I know how they feel, since I was fully dressed for winter – sweater, down parka, gloves – and I was still chilly from the brisk wind, even though the sun was out. As a result, my choice of sketch subjects on Wednesday morning were determined by whether I could stand in the sun.

I began with a curved pavilion rooftop where Tom was sketching (upper right, top of post) and a peek of the “Dragon Seeker” stone sculpture (lower right), which was made in Thailand more than a century ago. (I sketched more of the carp the first time I visited the garden in 2015).

Wandering through different parts of the garden, I came upon a bamboo grove with lovely sunlight filtering through. Of course, a scene like this begs for watercolor, to which I sighed and conceded. As usual, I felt the obligatory tug to use a medium that would be a struggle but that also compels me (below).

Bamboo at Seattle Chinese Garden

Relieved to be done with that, I continued wandering the well-tended garden and made two more additions to my main comic-y spread. It’s always satisfying to put a few finishing borders and captions on.
I busted open a fresh Uglybook this week. The blue
pages are darker than I prefer for the toned way I like
to work in these, but my current comic format is more
flexible, so we'll see how it goes.

In case you cant read the sticker (made by Kate), May 1 – 7 is International Urban Sketchers Week (see the hashtag #USkWeek2024). Sketch groups around the world are having events this week to raise awareness of USk and, of course, to sketch together as we did.


  1. I think the blue pages look good with the white, black, and the yellow. That page is nicely composed and I think all the curves give it a special balance. The light-filled watercolor came out really nice! Happy International UsK week!

    1. Thanks for noticing my composition, Joan... I did think about how to use the curved rooftops, which are such interesting compositional elements. Happy USk Week to you, too!


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