Cherry blossoms in the rain

Each year, the Portland Urban Sketchers go out to sketch the cherry blossoms at the Japanese Memorial on the Portland Waterfront.  Each year it's a challenge to get it right - we can't tell for sure when the trees will be in bloom, and sometimes the rain washes all the fragile flowers away before there's much time to sketch them.

This year we were a little early; no blossoms yet, just pinkening buds.  It was raining and every surface was sopping wet.  Luckily one of the sketchers works nearby and was able to invite us to sketch from his office.  From that distance, the trees gave an appearance of pinkness so it was almost better than being closer to them! We had great views up and down the Willamette.

I used the gray day as an opportunity to experiment with water-soluble graphite using a water brush.

Burnside Bridge over Japanese American Historical Plaza
Portland Convention Center over Japanese American Historical Plaza

While we had over 300 people on Facebook indicate they were going to attend, and over 3000 interested, I was relieved we got fewer than 10 sketchers. With a mix of new and familiar faces, having a small group made it easier to get to know each other, and we generated some lovely work. Wish my overhead shots of the collection came out better; I'll be working on that!

Many thanks to Jason for sharing his office space and offering us great hospitality!