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Friday, December 30, 2016

Melancholy in Pioneer Square

12/30/16 Pioneer Square Christmas tree
You know Christmas is over when the large tree in Pioneer Square comes down. Meeting with Urban Sketchers Seattle for the last time of the year, feeling a bit wistful as I always do when I know the holiday season is coming to an end, I sketched the workers cutting off the branches and taking down the shiny ornaments.

On the other hand, I was thrilled to be able to sketch outdoors, however briefly. Although I didn’t paint it into my sketch, a large part of the sky was actually blue this morning!

After 20 minutes in 40 degrees, I retreated to the warmth and pastries of Grand Central Arcade. While I enjoyed sketching a silhouette of the main entrance and its beautiful arched windows, and while the cinnamon roll from Grand Central Bakery was as delicious as ever, I was again struck with some sadness about how the Arcade seemed dark, somber and empty. When I worked downtown decades ago, the Arcade was a favorite lunch break getaway (I already had my nostalgia fest the last time we sketched there), and it was full of interesting shops; its many tables were always crowded with people. Today there were more “for lease” signs than occupied spaces, and the homeless seemed to outnumber the employed (though not the sketchers).
12/30/16 Grand Central Arcade

Finally, my third reason for melancholy today was that we had to say good-bye to Ching, who is moving to the Bay Area. She’s been a very regular, enthusiastic urban sketcher the past seven months, and we’re all going to miss her.

We'll miss you, Ching (second from left, front row)!

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