Scheduling our annual USk sketch outing at the University of Washington Quad was dicey this year. The cherry blossoms were finally close to 100 percent, but the forecast was iffy. We picked the day most likely to be dry, and the mobs showed their appreciation with their presence.
I’ve sketched blooming trees at the Quad so many times now that I try to use different media or approaches each time, and it’s always a challenge capturing that spectacular sight. This year I brought along a 9-by-12-inch watercolor pad to see if it would help to have larger paper (at right). I splattered on some pink gouache, but I’m not too pleased with the way it came out. I think I do better when I stay small.
I like the one I did in my usual A5 Hahnemühle sketchbook better. A girl dressed in a shimmering lavender quinceañera gown was having a photo shoot. Although I knew my cherry tree would look too much like a jacaranda, I took inspiration from her gown for the blossom shadows. (The fact is, the variety of cherries at the Quad has blossoms that are nearly white, not pink, so everyone who sketches them takes liberties with their hue.)
I spent the rest of the sketch outing time (which was short, since I had arrived late) taking in the wondrous fairyland that appears on the UW campus for a few short weeks each year.