Ink and watercolor wash Sketchbook Pages

El Volado, The Mexican Bus; plus 3 Museums in 1 day: Rembrandt, Vermeer and Wiley

El Volado the Mexican Bus, ink & watercolor, 8x11"
El Volado the Mexican Bus, ink & watercolor, 8×11″

There’s a non-residential street a couple blocks from my house where this bus and its two colorful sisters are often parked. I sat on the corner and sketched my favorite, named “El Volado, The Mexican Bus” (as is written on the bus) on the first page of my giant Moleskine. I did a little preliminary work in pencil to get the basic dimensions and then continued in ink and watercolor.

After spending yesterday traveling around on public transit, a bus seemed a good subject to post today. I took the subway and then a streetcar to visit a friend and her toddler in San Francisco. We walked from her house to the California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park. It was fun seeing penguins and beautiful fish in the huge coral reef aquarium through the eyes of a delighted 20 month old. At nap time I walked them home and then back to the park.

I ate lunch in the more peaceful atmosphere of the De Young Museum cafe across the plaza from the Academy which had been crammed with hundreds of noisy school kids on field trips. After lunch I visited the “blockbuster” Girl With a Pearl Earring: Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis and Rembrandt’s Century shows. The museum was fairly empty, with easy access to close-up views of all the amazing work.


After a brief, failed attempt at sketching in the plaza (just too tired) I walked back to the streetcar, stopping for a coffee for fortification along the way. My next stop was the Jewish Contemporary Museum downtown to see a show of portraits by Kehinde Wiley, who is known for his grand portraits of black urban men from around the world. This show, The World Stage: Israel features Israeli Jews, Ethiopian Jews, and Israeli Arabs and elaborate religious Jewish designs.

Kehinde Wiley, Portrait of Alios Itzhak
Kehinde Wiley, Portrait of Alios Itzhak

I had looked forward to seeing this show but was disappointed by how much the oil paintings looked like slick digital art, with no sign of the artist’s hand. That was validated when I found this article that says, “…his actual paintings are created by teams of assistants in China…But great portraits are not about formulae; they are about expressing something about an individual.” And hopefully there is something in them of the artist too, like the Rembrandt and Vermeer portraits I saw earlier in the day!

5 replies on “El Volado, The Mexican Bus; plus 3 Museums in 1 day: Rembrandt, Vermeer and Wiley”

Hello Jana,
I will be visiting family who live in Orinda from May 16 to June 18th and wonder if you can point me to some sketching, watercolor painting class/workshop opportunity in that Oakland/Berkley/Orinda area in early June?

I would like to have the chance to meet some fellow artists (although I am a relative beginner), to get a feel for the area to help decide about possibly being there for a couple months or so in the winter.

I am single, soon to turn 69, have been taking sime watercolor classes here in Vermont feom time to time and aketch casually on my own.

Other than that, I enjoy gardening, riding my bike in nice weather, walking, and generally enjoyimg the company if friends.

Any leads or suggestions greatly appreciated.

By the way, I ciontinue to enjoy your blog, aketches and commentaries! 🙂

Wendy Patterson


you were busy….when you said you walked back with your friend and her toddler for a nap, I was thinking YOU should be the one to take a nap. The bus is great and I believe I saw that Kehine Wiley show when it was here. It was great, right?

Love the Mexican bus! Vermeer and Rembrandt…ahhhhhh!


I definitely needed a nap too by the time I got home!!! I didn’t love the Wiley show. His work looked like it was done by computer and when I investigated further I learned he doesn’t actually paint his paintings, they’re done by a team in China. That totally turned me off. I wrote about that with links to the source in my post. Jana

Sketchblog: Website: UrbanSketchers-BayArea,


Thank you! And I apologize for the late response! I wish there was more time to do the painting and sketching and posting and responding to comments and looking at other peoples art. Jana

Sketchblog: Website: UrbanSketchers-BayArea,


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