Drawing Life in general Sketchbook Pages

Oakland Federal Building

Oakland Federal Building

This was sketched from a sunny bench in the little park just outside the Federal Building in Oakland. That tall thing in the foreground is a stone statue etched with a bit of a face, some lillies, and some extra eyes.

I’d gone to the Federal Building to cash a check at the credit union on the second floor (payment for a painting I’d sold). Inside the building there are guards, metal detectors and x-ray systems just like the airport. As I was about to go through the metal detector I remembered my new Swiss Army knife in my backback.

It was new because my old one was confiscated at the airport when I flew to Los Angeles to visit my mother in May. I’d forgotten it was there so it set off alarms going through the x-ray machine, winning me a detour to the place for naughty people where I was given a pat-down search, and every item in my backpack was thoroughly inspected.

The Swiss Army Tinker model which I’ve carried for years has knives plus a Phillips and flathead screwdriver, a can and bottle opener, a nailfile, toothpick, and tweezers, and has come in handy many times. I convinced the nice guard to hold it for me while I went upstairs to the bank.

They should have a system at the airport to store people’s illegal-to-carry-on but otherwise innocuous items like little pocket knives and now, TOOTHPASTE, DEODERANT and SUN TAN LOTION! How hard would it be to have a “coat check” system where you get a receipt for your item and pick it up when you return for a small fee?

I feel sorry for all the people at the airport today who had to discard everything from bottled water to expensive wine and cosmetics just in case they happened to have put liquid or jell explosives in there. I hope that at least the minimum wage airport custodians and security screeners were able to take those things home to use or sell on EBay rather than everything going into the trash!

Brown Micron Pigma in Strathmore 6×8 sketchbook that lives in my backpack too.

7 replies on “Oakland Federal Building”

You have captured an amazing amount of detail in this sketch! I like it just in line work.

I am with ya on the receipt system for personal item that were okay two days ago and not okay now. I have always thought it just wasn’t right to confiscate personal item like pocket knives and such. Yeah, we may need to keep them off the planes but they shouldn’t have the right to just toss them. Some of those things may have some pretty strong sentimental value


I know I have to stop doing this Jana — but I want to tell you that I WAS THERE at the federal building — yesterday. Having a lovely coffee date with a friend. I feel like you’re illustrating my life (I know you’re acdtually illustrating your own life…but still)

I love the way this skeitch looks — and I agree with you about how callous and arrogant the whole airport thing is. I work in a courthouse in San Francisco and every day when I leave work, I glance at the clipboard by the metal detector where the securiy people keep this very interesting log of what they’ve had to confiscate. One boa constrictor, one pair of manicure scissors… Why the federal government couldn’t do the same is beyond me.


I really have enjoyed your blog. I especally like this drawing because I attempted to draw something similar. I have a difficult time with perspective, so I really appreciate it when I see someone’s efforts in this regard.


Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I
clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not
writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say superb blog!


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