Sketchcrawl 27: Getting There & Getting Started

Sketchcrawl 27: Getting There & Getting Started

For Worldwide Sketchcrawl 27 today I headed to San Francisco on BART  for a 10:30 meetup at the Ferry Building, sketching along the way. The couple at the top of the picture seemed to be on an unsatisfactory date. The woman seemed passive-aggressive: she’d gone along with bringing her clunky bike on BART and her stupid, ancient, ill-fitting helmet, but wasn’t going to have fun. Her date adjusted her helmet straps for her but while he kept his on all the way to the city (complete with duct tape patch), she wouldn’t put hers on.

The guy in the middle above is Pete Scully, sketched outside Peets’ Coffee at the Ferry Building. I had a great time sketching with him and my friend Sonia and other sketchcrawlers wandering the Financial District of SF.

Waiting for Sketchcrawl to Start at Ferry Building, ink & watercolor

Waiting for Sketchcrawl to Start, ink & watercolor

There were too many people at the Ferry Building, shopping at the upscale foodie shops, being annoying tourists, and/or waiting for ferries. I waited in a line of 20 women for the restroom and didn’t even bother trying to get a cup of coffee at Peets. While we waited for Enrico to give us the “Go,” we sketched the scene. Yes, I exaggerated the crowds and the closeness of the Bay Bridge.

There’s a clarinetist (see Sketchcrawl 21 sketch) who is a permanent fixture at this spot, playing annoying screechy “music” that he segues into “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or “Popeye” whenever a kid approaches. Moms and their tots stop and dance while dads take photos and stuff money in his case.  I couldn’t wait to get away from the crowds.

View of Ferry Building from Atop Hyatt Regency

View of Ferry Building from Atop Hyatt Regency

Pete had the brilliant idea of going to the top of the nearby Hyatt Regency Hotel to sketch the view from above. We tried to go to the top floor (17) but the elevator would only take us to 14. We met a bellman on 14 and he said you had to have a key card to get there. I brazenly asked if he had one and he said yes. “Could you take us there?” I asked. He opened the door and swiped his card and sent us on up. What a sweetie! I wish I’d thought to tip him.

When we got off the elevator a gentleman informed us that the 360 degree-view-Regency Lounge was only for Regency Members and asked if we were members. I said no, but asked if we could just look at the view and draw pictures. He asked “For how long?” and I said “Oh, about 10-15 minutes” and he said OK. We were there for nearly an hour and nobody bothered us. We did tip him when we left and he invited us to help ourselves to any of the complimentary food and beverages but we declined.

Cable Car Turnaround, Drumm & Market

Cable Car Turnaround, Drumm & Market

Sonia and I were hungry so while Pete started sketching a cable car we bought lunch at a deli across the street. We ate sitting at a bus stop, the only seats around. People kept coming up to us and asking about buses. Then I tried sketching the cable car and the hill it goes up and down. I was doing pretty good until I somehow planted a street light in the path of the street car.

Pete Sketching in front of McDonalds

Pete Sketching in front of McDonalds

Heading north, Pete sketched an old German hofbrau that didn’t inspire me (though his sketch did, which I will link to when he posts it) so I drew him from across the street, sitting on his stool in front of McDonalds.

Victoria's Secret Window, Embarcadero

Victoria's Secret Window, Embarcadero

I was tired and about ready to call it a day but managed one more sketch. I was more interested in the almost spiral staircase, the shadows, and odd architecture than the mannequins in their jungle print undies. I’m not a fan of the Victoria’s Secret brand or their ads and I think maybe it shows in the way I subconsciously made the mannequins look like they were giantesses, trapped in the store window and trying to get out.

It was 4:00 and although the end-of-Sketchcrawl meetup was happening at 4:30 in Union Square I decided to just go home and relax rather than head towards more crowds. It was a great day!

Drawing, Ink and watercolor wash, Landscape, Life in general, Outdoors/Landscape, Painting, People, Places, Plein Air, Shop windows, Sketchbook Pages, Sketchcrawl
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Join the conversation! 19 Comments

  1. Great sketches, Jana. I especially like the crowd–wonderful wash– and bridge at the ferry building. Your fine persistence paid off to get you all to the top of the Hyatt Regency.

  2. Hey, we were in the same city at the same time yesterday. We went to see The Giants play and took BART over.

    Great sketches as always. I particularly like the caged mannequins.

    • I bet it was a great day for a game! I hope your team won (or at least that it was a fun game!) I like the way you put it: Caged mannequins! Nice. Jana

  3. Wow fabulous results Jana.

  4. Wonderful sketchcrawl pictures! You guys really do move around lots during the hours that you spend together.

    • Thanks Shirley, Even though I’m a fiercely independent person, for some reason when it comes to sketchcrawls I enjoy tagging along and letting my sketching buddies make the decisions about which way to head. We really didn’t walk all that far on Saturday, probably less than a mile each way.

      I just about finished another journal and was just rereading all my wonderful Shirley notes in preparation for binding again. Each time I do a little more to better organize my notes and directions until eventually I’ll have a nice simple checklist. Do you know an easy method for determining the width of the gap between book boards and spine? Jana

  5. So Sketchcrawl. WHAT is that again?
    I loved the top of the building story. Way to go.

    • Hi Ginny, Sketchcrawl was named after pubcrawls where drinkers go from one pub to another together, sampling the wares. With a sketchcrawl you just go from spot to spot sketching within a designated area, and then meet up again at days end to pass around sketchbooks and see what everyone did. Jana

  6. Jana, what a wonderful day! Thanks for sharing these. I particularly like the cable car sketch. It has wonderful movement. Didn’t even notice the street lamp!

    • Thanks Ed. I’ve been enjoying your posts from the trip down to Hearst Castle and the ones of the paintout and painters. I love the idea of making the trip a slow one, stopping along the way to paint. Jana

  7. I love these, and the narration that accompanies the sketches.

    Funny that you painted the mannequins as giants, I might have drawn anorectic, scrawny scarecrow types.. guess you’re not the only one with issues about VS!!!

    • What really delighted me was that I started with an attitude but no plan and my attitude just flowed out of the pen and when I saw what I’d done I had to laugh (always a good thing!) Jana

  8. You may have exaggerated the crowd, but you did a fantastic job of capturing the busyness of the area! That one is my favorite. I love how you left out the details and washed them all with the violets and blues. I’m amazed how well that works! The rest are wonderful too, of course. It is always amazing how much you get done!

  9. How prolific you are, and what a super way to look at a streetscape. I did this kind of ‘crawl’ one time with a writing group I was leading. We walked down one narrow street in Geelong, writing little observations, poems, ideas for stories on the way – New Age shops, dolls, eateries, alleys, etc. A week later we went to the railway station. Next, to the former gaol – now that was scary!
    This is better than staying with a landscape for hours and hours.

    • Your crawl sounds really interesting and so different from urban San Francisco. And I’m with you on the wandering being more fun than standing in one place doing one landscape for hours (though I have enjoyed doing that too). Jana

  10. A wonderful series of sketches, Jana. I bet you’ll never forget that day. I would have loved to join you! x

    • Thanks Gillian, I wish you could have. I’m sure I’d have been inspired and learned from you. I followed your link to your blog and fell in love with your watercolors and added a link on blogroll. Jana

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