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The Seattle Sketcher

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

January 31, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Museum stands out in a park of attractions

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Sketched Jan. 28, 2014

The Seattle Asian Art Museum location in Volunteer Park may be both a curse and a blessing.

Its splendid art deco building is a perfect match for its setting high on Capitol Hill. But the grounds are so beautiful that you may lose track of time climbing up the Water Tower or peeking through Isamu Noguchi’s “Black Sun” sculpture before you go into the museum.

Now that I finally stepped inside, I realized what I was missing. First, a rare taste of ancient art I know little about, from Chinese paintings (don’t miss “Hawk pursuing pheasant”) and sensual statues of goddesses to fabulously-drawn Japanese woodblock prints that make my sketches look so rough in comparison. Second, a peek into the city’s history, as this was the original home of the Seattle Art Museum before it moved downtown in 1991.

The museum kicks off the beginning of the Lunar Year today with an activity right up my alley: A “Year of the Horse” drawing demonstration led by local artist Janet Fagan.

Since it’s also a Free First Saturday, I can’t think of a better day to visit this enlightening 81-year-old landmark. Just the temporary exhibit of oil paintings and journal sketches by Chinese artist Liu Xiaodong who, like me, paints his subjects on location, made my hike up to the park well worth it.

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Comments | More in Buildings, History, Museums | Topics: Capitol Hill

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