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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

May 11, 2012 at 8:11 PM

A venerable tree that catches your eye

cityhallmaple-m.jpg
Sketched May 7, 2012
I rarely make trees the focus of my drawings, but the centenarian Japanese maple in front of Seattle City Hall is not your average specimen. Think of it as a fine piece of public art.
The unusual tree, bigger and older than any other red-lace leaf maple you’d see around here, was brought to Seattle in the late 1990s by local landscape contractor David Ohashi. He found it in Portland and used a semitrailer escorted by pilot cars to get the oversized load up Interstate 5.
The tree drew oohs and aahs at a garden show and eventually caught the eye of then-mayor Paul Schell, who bought it for $35,000 and later raised private contributions to pay back the city.
Since it was installed at the new City Hall in 2003, Schell’s maple puts on a colorful show throughout the seasons, attracting downtown workers — and even this sketcher who doesn’t really like to draw trees.
What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!

Comments | Topics: Downtown

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