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Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Rooster Crows

Seattle's International District is probably my favorite place to sketch. Somehow when I roam the streets and alleys I feel the history and get a sense of a thousand, thousand stories. When the lunar new year rolls around I love to take in the extra-colorful, extra-loud festivities. The noise and color is a stark contrast to some of the history that immigrants experience to get to this place physically and metaphorically. This year celebrating the strength and diversity of our communities seems more important than ever. 

I got there early to secure a spot under the covered benches at Hing Hay Park, but by the time our group was supposed to meet, that spot was like an overflowing can of sardines so I had to give up my front row seat to catch up with the group opening, thus missing a prime view of the opening lion dance. I did manage a few views of the crowd. 

I stood at the corner of Maynard and Jackson taking in the crowd. Frank Ching and I leaned against the same telephone pole swapping comments about just how long our fingers would stand the cold. 

After we met up and had our throwdown, I couldn't bring myself to leave without committing the lion dance to paper. By that time a smaller team of dancers were processing from doorway to doorway along 7th Avenue. The guy in charge of firecrackers laid out a big pack of probably 500 crackers just before the dancers arrived. As I stood in front of Deng's Studio and Art Gallery, they lit the crackers at my feet. I could feel the shredded remains as they flew astray like shrapnel - but, thankfully much safer. 


It's interesting to me how my style changes with different pens and paper combinations. The first were drawn with my Lamy pen on Shizen paper that's very absorbent and slows me way down. The lion dances were done with my Sailor bent nib on an unknown brand, but really nice watercolor paper. It was the first time I used my Sailor with the ink cartridge that shipped with it. Turns out it isn't waterproof, but adds a really different fluidity. 

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