(Updated) We met at the newly remodeled Shattuck Plaza Hotel in Berkeley to sketch on Tuesday night. The lobby of the historic building has been transformed from an old-fashioned residential hotel with good”bones” to something entirely different. The walls are covered in a variety of black and white patterned wall paper from florals to paisley to stripes that seems to vibrate. The floors are a patchwork of checkerboard marble in between sections of rug the designer describes as “red and mauve 1960s flower-power pattern”. There are two huge crystal chandeliers, a red one that was newly created and the other, an original, that is 100-years old.
I was going to try drawing all of the different patterns on the walls, floors and furniture, but couldn’t stand looking at them, as reminded me of watching the patterns behind my eyelids during my migraine of only a few days prior. So I sketched a few of the lamps, sconces and furniture I could see from where I sat. Then we headed out into the cold for our next stop.
We went to Peets Coffee across the street and relaxed to the classical music while we sketched people. The monk knew we were drawing him and when they were leaving, came over and asked to see our sketches. I told him he had a beautiful smile.
He looked a bit embarrassed by my comment, but said thank you, and told us he doesn’t usually get out much, that he was here visiting with his grandmother and brother after living the past ten years in Thailand. He seemed so genuinely happy and at peace and made me want to return to my long-neglected Zen meditation practice