Sketchbook: Loose Park Rose Garden

I’m going to go out on a limb (pun intended) and make a statement that some may find controversial: Kansas City has an under-appreciation of its park space. Sure, there are parks scattered here and there, but stop by on a weekday afternoon and you will find most completely empty. I think there’s a very good reason for this. Many of us have our own personal green spaces. Many folks have yards. Even in our modestly sized yard we have three garden beds and a patch of grass. What a luxury! Sometimes I look around at the outdoor space I have at my fingertips and think about how jealous the New York City me would have been.

However, there is one park we, as a whole, adore. Loose Park! Loose park has a little something for everyone—a playground, a pond with ducks, a walking path, tennis courts and of course, everyone’s favorite: the rose garden. Formally named the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden, it was dreamed up in 1931 by the Kansas City Rose Society. It’s one of the most coveted outdoor wedding venues in KC. The 150 different varieties of roses bloom throughout the summer, so no matter when you visit, you’re likely to take in some good smells.

Last Friday was absolutely gorgeous here in Kansas City, so I treated myself to a morning of sketching. As I sat there drawing and sipping my coffee I realized that I’ve unintentionally made this a biennial tradition. Posted below is my sketch from last Friday, one from 2017 and another from 2015. It’s interesting to see my style evolve. While I do appreciate the techniques used in each piece, I find it interesting that over the years I’ve grown to appreciate the interaction between the flowers and the structures in the garden more than just the plant themselves. Roses are such a beautiful flower, but I love how they have their dark (and pointy!) side as well.