Gouache Ink and watercolor wash People Sketchbook Pages Subway drawings

Subway Sketches: Pigeons, People, Shoes

Shoes on subway, ink & watercolor in sketchbook
Shoes on subway, ink & watercolor in sketchbook

I’m really enjoying sketching anywhere and everywhere lately. Here are a few sketches with watercolor added later from BART stations and trains this week.

In His Own World, ink & gouache in sketchbook
In His Own World, ink & gouache in sketchbook

These pigeons were doing the Romeo and Juliet thing in the BART station. BART put up mean wire pigeon preventers everywhere that makes it hard for them to perch anywhere. But these two found a dark corner to bill and coo. I know next to nothing about birds, but Romeo was puffing up his (?) neck as he made his croohoo noise and canoodled with Juliet who kept sticking her feathered hiney up in the air.

BART Station Pigeons, ink & gouache in sketchbook
BART Station Pigeons, ink & gouache in sketchbook

I added the gouache on the last two at home, not on BART, since I usually only have a few minutes for each sketch.

8 replies on “Subway Sketches: Pigeons, People, Shoes”


These little sketches/watercolors are probably my favs of all your work so far. Your work is always good, but these are better. It’s like just this week at the gym, I noticed one girl who has been there every time I have over the last year at least. She is somewhat pear shaped and perhaps 25 pounds overweight….but “suddenly”, I can see that she is starting to evidence the result of that consistent work. Her body is definitely trimmer and her waist is becoming defined!

I can’t tell you how often (actually, most of the time) I have my sketchbook with me but do NOT take it out. Still dealing with how to do that without stopping in the middle of the sidewalk or store or airport, etc.

Once again, you have motivated me. Thanks!


Thank you for your enthusiasm — what a gift your message is! I love the
analogy of the consistent effort paying off, and had a real experience of
that today, out plein air painting for the first time since fall. I was in a
location I’d painted last year where I’d made one of the worst plein air
paintings ever! I could really see the progress today. (Now if I could just
get back to the gym and take off 10 pounds, your analogy would feel even

Thanks again Rita. I sure hope you get out that sketchbook and have some fun
with it! Don’t worry about blocking sidewalk traffic. My experience is that
people are uplifted by seeing an artist at work and always smile and say
nice things (even when I know what I’m doing is a big mess!)


Oh, I love feet…And especially yours, Jana. When I lived in New york City in ancient times (*S*I*G*H*) I rode the subway and sat in the side seats just so I could watch body positions and especially feet. People forget about their feet once they get off them. And here would come a dapper, buttoned up gentleman, who would sit down so stiffly and neatly, fold up the Wall Street Journal into a long neat, oblong, and proceed to read. It was then that one shined shoe climbed up on the other and there they snuggled.


Thanks Annie! What a great story and a wonderful image. Spoken like a true
artist with that finely honed artistic eye! I lived in NYC in ancient times
too, but don’t recall ever getting a seat or being able to see through the
jammed in crowd on the train to actually see anyone’s feet. Jana


What wonderful stories these are. And I loved the notations on the elegant, mysterious, funky black pigeons–butt up. Jana, you should consider illustrating books. You inspire yarn spinning. I think that would work for you because I enlarged the picture of your oysters a few weeks back, to study the colors. Then impulsively I thought about the Walrus and the Carpenter. I digitally snipped them out of a file of Tenniel’s ALICE work and set them among the (enlarged) oysters, and it was a zany hoot.

I would love to see your version of the snark, the boojum, or the jabberwock.


Hi Chloe,
I wish you had a blog so I could see your work on a regular basis. That
sounds like a great creative and playful moment — the best kind! I don’t
think I’ve ever seen Tenniel’s illustrations. Are they online somewhere do
you think? I do like illustrating things, but mostly stuff from my own mind
or dreams. I have a friend who is a wonderful children’s book illustrator so
I know how much work it is! Jana


Jana! What juicy, fun, exciting sketches! I love it when you’re in your Jana mode! And the dream of naked people was one of those sketches par excellence!
Thank you so much for your comment about broccoli and painting ;D. It made a huge difference!!


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