The lovely thing about Urban Sketchers is that they are everywhere. I wasn't sure about China though, given they are so cut off from our social media. But it turns out there is indeed a very healthy Beijing chapter, run by Flora Wang. I managed to hook up with them and we went out sketching together on two different Saturdays while I was in Beijing.
The Chinese parks are beautifully laid out and kept spotlessly clean. I sketched two views from more or less the same spot, first in watercolour, then in my Koh-I-Noor 'magic' pencil:
Then I spotted sketcher, Peggy Wong, in front of me with an extremely cute, baby bunny in the crook of her arm. After I had stroked it's unfeasibly smooth head, I had to try and capture the memory in my book:
Pi Pi turned out to be the pet bunny of this little girl. It was REALLY tiny. She carried it around in this cute rabbit-cage handbag. It seemed perfectly happy in there.
A bit later, on my way to try and find the loo, I chanced upon a small group practising a kind of Tai Chi. They were moving slowly, turning circles on the spot but twisting in dance-like actions.
Then it was time for lunch. We all went to a café together and, after we had eaten, they asked me to talk to them a bit about my work and my sketch kit. Flora translated very patiently for the rest, who mostly didn't speak much English.
Then they took me to a massive art materials shop (where you could buy all our brands from home). After hearing my usually enthusiasm about Inktense pencils, a couple of people bought sets.
After the others had headed off, I went back to the park on my own, where I rounded off the day with a lovely encounter. I spotted a painting lesson going on under the trees, with lots of kids at easels.
It amused me to paint the painting and, of course, I was eventually spotted by the art teacher. She spoke no English, but we did lots of smiling and exchanged websites. Then we took this photo together:
What a lovely sociable day!