The Berkeley Public Library is a beautiful old building that was lovingly preserved and added on to a few years ago. We met there to sketch last Tuesday night, enjoying the ambiance and craftsman furnishings in the lobby of the old section. I experimented with trying to get the perspective from where I sat in a room filled with wood, metal filigree screens, brass door frames, carved ceilings and handcrafted furniture.
I asked Cathy to take a picture of me sitting in the high-backed chair with diagonal arms so I could sketch it later. I messed up my face (in the sketch) so I just pasted on a fresh piece of watercolor paper and did it again.
When the library closed at 8:00 we headed across the street to Peet’s Coffee, hoping that their manager (who looks like Harry Connick Jr. and dresses in fancy 1950s suits and ties and an Elvis pompadour) would be there for us to sketch. He was there but he was wearing a different costume: suspenders over a tight white t-shirt and a fedora. I asked him why he wasn’t wearing a suit and he said he hadn’t known in advance he would be working that night so wasn’t dressed for work.
Last time we were there I asked him if he was in a band and why he dressed so cool. He said he just liked to, and that years ago when he was in a band he dressed much more sloppily. (My dad was famous for starting up conversations with strangers and asking similar questions which used to embarrass us kids but I guess I inherited his curiosity.)
The manager never stopped moving and was often out of my sight but one of his buddies who seemed to be channeling Keith Richards (only looking much more alive) hung out for a while and he at least stood in one place long enough to sketch him.
Cathy was facing a tiny, ancient man in a weathered, WWII leather aviator cap who parked his 1940s era bicycle behind me in the store’s entry way, giving her a perfect view for sketching him and the bike. He was selling bike parts to a young man. When he left she showed him the sketch of his bike (but not of him because it was just too funny) and got the information about his bike for her sketchbook.
Before they closed at 9:00 I was able to get in a quick sketch of these people at a nearby table.