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Saints Peter and Paul Church, Aquatic Park Bay Panorama: Sketchcrawl Part III

Saints Peter & Paul Church, viewed from Washington Square, Ink & watercolor, 8x5.5"
Saints Peter & Paul Church, Ink & watercolor, 8×5.5″

We brought our lunches from Molinari’s Deli to Washington Square Park where we sat in the shade of a tree to eat and then sketch Saint Peter and Paul’s Church. I started in a smaller sketchbook first (below) and then decided to start over (above) in the larger watercolor Moleskine I’ve been using lately.

Saints Peter and Paul Church, with rubber stamps, 4x4"
Saints Peter and Paul Church, 4×4″

Then we made the long walk to the Fisherman’s Wharf Holiday Inn for the Tease-O-Rama sketching. From there we walked down to Maritime Museum where I stamped the page (above) with their National Park rubber stamps when we arrived at Aquatic Park.

San Francisco Bay from Aquatic Park, ink & watercolor 16x5.5"
San Francisco Bay from Aquatic Park, ink & watercolor 16×5.5″

Above is the last sketch of the day, my view sitting on the stairs at Aquatic Park, across the street from Ghirardelli Square, the Sketchcrawl meet-up spot.

Golden Gate, Marin County and Aquatic Park (left side of spread)
Golden Gate, Marin County and Aquatic Park (left side of spread)

Above is a bigger picture of the left side of the spread, looking out towards the Golden Gate Bridge on the left, Marin County in the middle, and people playing at Aquatic Park.

Marin County, Alcatraz and the Balclutha (ride side of spread)
Marin County, Alcatraz and the Balclutha (right side of spread)

Behind the big ship Balclutha on the right (part of the San Francisco Maritime National Park), is Alcatraz. On the left is the ferry, taking people from San Francisco to Larkspur in Marin County. The bay was full of sailboats, kayaks and even people swimming on this unusually warm and sunny spring day.

I feel so blessed to live in such a gorgeous area with an incredible variety of people, places, and scenery! I’m also very grateful to both Enrico Casarosa who started the International Sketchcrawls and Gabi Campanero who created Urban Sketchers, and the opportunities their organizations offer for us to enjoy the art of sketching together.

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Sketching Burlesque Pin-Up Girls: International Sketchcrawl 35, Part II

Lady in Red at Dr. Sketchy's, ink & water-color pencil, 8x5.5"
Lady in Red, ink & watercolor pencil, 8″x5.5″

Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School was holding a free Tease-O-Rama drawing session during the afternoon of the Sketchcrawl at a Holiday Inn. The models, all burlesque artists, were beautiful, with surprisingly natural bodies from heavy to thin, and without any apparent enhancements except makeup and feathers (and maybe wigs; their hair was just a little too perfect).

They were in town for a burlesque convention so the hotel was filled with people from this interesting subculture. Some looked quite ordinary when they changed out of their costumes (I was in the restroom when two ladies did that). Others were extraordinary in a variety of ways, costume or not (head to toe tattoos for example).

First pose of the day, ink & colored pencil, 8x5.5"
First pose of the day, ink & colored pencil, 8×5.5″

They really knew how to pose like pin-up girls and hold that come-hither look. The poses were each 15 minutes which was perfect. There were about 50 artists in the plush conference room, sitting audience-style in chairs, so I couldn’t get out my watercolor set. I just had my pens and a red watercolor pencil I borrowed from Cathy.

Last pose, least favorite, ink & colored pencil, 8x5.5"
Least favorite model/sketch, ink & colored pencil

The model’s outfit above was actually white but so was her skinny body, which was kind of boring to draw. I used a Micron Pigma pen and black and yellow Pitt Artist Brush Pens and Cathy’s red pencil.

Miss Red, in Green, ink & watercolor, 8x5.5"
Miss Redd, in green, ink. (Watercolor added later) 8×5.5″

I was delighted to discover that I could to do a competent job at not only drawing the models, but also fitting them on the page. If you do any figure drawing, I’m sure you know how easy it is to end up with no room for the feet (or worse, the head)! Frequent drawing practice and study has led to my being able to better see the angles, shapes, negative space, and plumb lines within the subject, which makes drawing easier. Yay!

The next model was way too creepy for me: a guy wearing a rhinestone-studded gas mask, a sequined g-string and black leather body straps. My sketch buddy Cathy had left after the first model, wanting to be outdoors, and I decided this was a good time to join her.

More sketches from the beautiful outdoors in the next post.

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International Sketchcrawl 35: San Francisco, Part I

Waiting with flowers at MacArthur BART Station
Waiting with flowers at MacArthur BART Station (sketched standing on the platform and color added at home)

Sketchcrawl 35 was fantastic! The weather in San Francisco was unusually beautiful, warm and sunny and there was so much to see and do. I’m posting the sketches in three parts since what we saw in each part of the day was so different.  Part I covers the trip into the city through lunch.

Reading an Actual BOOK on BART
Reading an Actual BOOK on BART (paint added at home)

So rare to see someone reading a real book and not just fidgeting with their digital whatevers.

He reminded me of Jay and Silent Bob in Clerks
He reminded me of Jay from the movie Clerks

The guy in the sketch above reminded me so much of the slacker Jay from the movie Clerks I had to post this photo of him and Silent Bob below.

Jay and Silent Bob in Clerks
Jay and Silent Bob in Clerks

Thank goodness for the Internet or I would have been saying, “Doesn’t he look just like that guy in that movie….” and had no photo to show you.

Cathy and another sketcher at Caffe Trieste in North Beach
Cathy and another sketcher at Caffe Trieste in North Beach (sketched and painted on site)

Cathy was sitting at my sidewalk table sketching someone behind me so I sketched her while the group gathered at Caffe Trieste, the starting point for the sketchcrawl. There was scaffolding over the entryway, which provided an interesting drawing challenge.

Molinari's Deli where we bought lunch
Molinari’s Deli where we bought lunch (sketched in the store, painted at home)

Cathy and I bought lunch for later and then stood in opposite corners of the store to sketch the counter guys at Molinari’s Deli in North Beach. (Click the link to Molinari’s to see the picture prominently displayed in their store of their salame with the Pope). They turned up their radio for the end of the Barcelona vs. Madrid soccer finals. It was fun hearing the super-excited announcer yelling the play-by-play in Spanish as a player ran down the field, made a goal and won the game.

Part II will be my drawings from Dr. Sketchy’s Tease-O-Rama and Part III is more in North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf.

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The Drunken Boat, Burlesque Convention, International Sketchcrawl Reminder

Cathy Sketching at Le Bateau Ivre, Sepia pen and watercolor, 8x5
Cathy Sketching at Bateau Ivre, Sepia pen and watercolor, 8x5"

We had a wonderful Tuesday evening sketching and dining at Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat) in Berkeley. The ambiance and food are fantastic. We sat in the dining room with lovely brick walls and a fireplace. When we sketched there last year we sat in the café area which is equally charming.

International Sketchcrawl 35 is Saturday, April 21!

Here is a link to the Sketchcrawl website where you can find out if there is a group sketching near you (or start a location yourself).

San Francisco looks to be a particularly juicy sketchcrawl, starting in North Beach and ending at a free Burlesque Queens sketching marathon at a hotel at Fisherman’s Wharf, hosted by Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. The  burlesque performers are in town for the Tease-O-Rama, a “showcase and convention dedicated to the thriving neo-burlesque revival.”

Unfinished sketch of stuff on table with bits of business card
Unfinished sketch of random stuff on table with bits of business card
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Worldwide Sketchcrawl 31: San Francisco

View from Dolores Park, ink & watercolor
View from Dolores Park, ink & watercolor

Saturday was the 31st Worldwide Sketchcrawl and I joined the San Francisco group to explore the Mission District and sketch. I tagged along with my friend Pete Scully who had mapped out a route that included stops at two famous S.F. comic book stores.

Sketcher at morning meetup at Dolores Cafe
Sketcher at a.m. meetup at Dolores Cafe

While waiting for the crawl to begin everyone sat and stood around drawing everyone else. See Pete’s sketch of me seriously sketching here.

Pete Sketching atop stairs
Pete Sketching atop stairs

Later, while Pete climbed up a set of stairs to draw a Victorian house, I sketched him sketching and then picked up some lunch at a cafe up the street.

Fire Hydrant and Mission Dolores
Fire Hydrant and Mission Dolores

Since I was sketching with Pete, of course we had to stop and draw a fire hydrant (see Pete’s fire hydrant series here). I was amused by the similarity of shapes in the tower atop Mission Dolores and the fire plug.

Mission Mariachis hanging out
Mission Mariachis standing around

I don’t know what these guys were waiting for but they never did play.

Old "New Mission Theatre"
Old "New Mission Theatre"

The theater is defunct, the sign peeling and is dwarfed by neighboring Giant Value big box store. I bet the theater was beautiful when it was new.

Below, some BART people on the very bumpy ride to SF. I’m finding that as much as I love my fountain pen for its smooth flowing, I have less control, especially when drawing on transit or when standing.

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International Sketchcrawl #30 at Stanford University

Rodin Sculpture Garden Trees, Stanford, ink & watercolor
Rodin Sculpture Garden Trees, Stanford, ink & watercolor

It was fun to meet the South Bay members of our Urban Sketchers SF Bay Area group Suhita and John, and to meet some of the members of Sketchcrawl Silicon Valley at the Stanford sketchcrawl on Saturday. Cathy and I made the hour plus drive down there and met at noon. We started with lunch at the outdoor cafe with a view of the Rodin Sculpture Garden (sketched above at the end of the day after everyone left and it is my favorite because I love those funny, imperfectly groomed trees).

Sculpture of "Faith" in front of Cantor Center
Sculpture of "Faith" in front of Cantor Center

My first sketch was the one above, of a statue called “Faith” in front of the Cantor Center for Visual Arts. Starting with “Faith” seemed good, since it helps to have a little faith that the sketching will go well.  By 1:00 there were about 10 of us and everyone went off to follow their muses with a plan to regroup around 3:00. I followed Cathy who knew her way around, since my muse, like me, has no sense of direction.

Stanford Memorial Arch, ink & watercolor
Stanford Memorial Arch, ink & watercolor

The sign on the building said “Memorial Arch and Court Erected by His Mother, 1898 in Memory of Leland Stanford Jr. Born to mortality May 14, 1868…” I ran out of room to record his year of death but he only lived until age 16 so his mother donated the land Stanford was built on to create a memorial for her son.

Chapel and courtyard
Chapel and courtyard

From a distance the front of the chapel appears to be glowing gold but when you get closer you can see it’s covered with a stunning mural made entirely in mosaic. Coming from an urban environment where things are crowded, noisy and grungy, Stanford was amazing. The Stanford campus is tremendously spread out (over 8,000 acres), with most buildings only one or two stories, but massive nonetheless. Everything is immaculately clean, with amazing gardens, gazillions of trees (well, officially 43,000), and quiet. At $51,000 a year for tuition, room and board I suppose one should expect a lovely environment!

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Worldwide Sketchcrawl 27: San Francisco

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!