29th January was sunny, chilly Sunday morning. We headed towards the Chinatown International District by Bus no. 522 from Bothell to Downtown Seattle. The best way to explore any city is to travel by its public transport. Packing our favorite tuna sandwiches and cottage cheese rolls, we were set to explore Chinatown and Hing Hay Park. To capture the moments of Lunar New Year celebration and to draw live sketches for the occasion. Being my first time with Urban Sketchers Seattle, I was enthusiastic, nervous to sketch and meet all new people. Though Architecture is my background but almost for 10 years I was focused on Product designing and detailing. Going back to the roots and feeling the composition of blocks(building structures) around, overwhelmed me. My perspective turned from products to building elevations and Urban planning.
The grand entrance to Chinatown welcomed us with massive colorful gate. The lamp post with dragon caught my eyesight. The Urban sketchers meet was at Hing Hay park. Unfortunately I missed the first meet with sketchers but later saw many of them engrossed in capturing the moments on paper. I too grabbed my spot, at the corner of Hing Hay Park and started with my work. It was heavily crowded and no wonder to stand for hours at one spot in cold and scribble on sketchbook was bit challenging. Kids were either standing on trees or on shoulders of their dads, to get the perfect view of happenings.
Though I took glimpse of Lion dance but glued myself to sketching. The experience of involving yourself into your creativity is like meditation. My husband and daughter too accompanied my passion and left no chance to traverse and enjoy new experience. They tried to capture Chinese cultural dance by Tanya woo and Japanese Taiko drumming. The beats of drums motivated me, getting into rhythm of sketching. The firecrackers were giving festive feeling. My first sketch was of the notice board where all the schedules were tagged and surrounded by dozens of people. Though it was sunny in the morning but as the day was passing it became cloudy and windy. Many eyes were viewing my sketches, though awkward state but deep inside was feeling happy and contented. The popcorn smell, hot corns and lemongrass barbecue was tempting me, but hands and brain was simply drawing.
The dragon mural on the buildings took my focus and I tried to get every bit of it. It was difficult to change my perspective and position to get better wider views. The Chinese dragon is a symbol of power, strength and good luck for the people. The Hing Hay park structure is a combination of yellow(gold) and red. Red symbolizes joy and good fortune while yellow is a beautiful neutral color. The entire town was lit with red lanterns. There was huge queue at food stalls.
The temperature was dropping and hands were getting numb. I winded my sketches by single liners and texting, as we were to head Starbucks for the Urban Sketchers meet and exchange views on our drawings. It was incredible experience to view so much talent and meet different people from different background. Each sketch was special and different. Use of various mediums, thought process, lettering skills, literally bowled me away. I am feeling fortunate to get associated with them. Meeting new people through your travel and listening to their views truly inspires.
Xīnnián kuàilè!!2017(Happy New Year in Chinese) a wonderful experience indeed and perfect way to start truly my New Year with Usk Seattle.
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” – Michael Palin.
The most awaited day came to an end with lot of motivation by genius people and doodling again with new thinking hat.