San Francisco Sketchcrawl Part 2: Ferry Building, Ferries & Ladies Room Lines

Ferry Building Clock Tower, ink & watercolor, 7x5"

Ferry Building Clock Tower, ink & watercolor, 7×5″

While I waited for the Sketchcrawl to begin I started drawing the Ferry Building clock tower. The clocks weren’t really set for different times. It looks that way because I drew what I saw: by the time I got to the right clock it was 7 minutes later.

Sketchers Sketching on the Embarcadero

Sketchers Sketching on the Embarcadero

Next I tried to draw the sketchers on the little plaza across from the Ferry Building (above). My perspective got way wonky on the street on the right. Although there are many hills in San Francisco, this street is actually quite flat.

Marin Ferry, ink & watercolor 5x14"

Marin Ferry, ink & watercolor 5×14″

Behind the Ferry Building I watched the huge Marin ferry arrive. I knew I only had about ten minutes to draw it while passengers got off and on. I nearly finished the drawing before it headed back out so added the colors I remembered afterward.

Standing in Line for the Ferry Building Restrooms, ink & watercolor 7x5"

Standing in Line for the Ferry Building Restrooms, ink & watercolor 7×5″

I’m glad I didn’t wait until the last minute to use the restroom in the Ferry Building. There were 35 women in line for the ladies’ room and only about 3 for the men’s. Why? It was interesting drawing the women right in front of me because of the odd foreshortening I perceived looking down their backsides. Next time you’re waiting in line, try to draw the person right in front of you and you’ll see what I mean.

Later someone gave me a valuable tip I’ll share with you: there’s a little used ladies room on the second floor of the building. I wonder why the Ferry Building management doesn’t include that information in the signage directing people where to stand in line for the downstairs restrooms.

 

Sketchcrawl San Francisco Part 1: Coit Tower

Coit Tower, from Levi Plaza, SF Sketchcrawl 40, ink & watercolor 7x5"

Coit Tower, from Levi Plaza, SF Sketchcrawl 40, ink & watercolor 7×5″

The San Francisco Sketchcrawl was so much fun and had a great turnout of around 75 people. It was great seeing old friends and meeting new ones. This was actually my last sketch of the day, finished just before our 4:00 meetup.

Micaela and I were going to walk the hundreds of stairs up to Coit Tower to draw it but got distracted by all the other events going on along the Embarcadero on our way. We realized there a was a great view of the tower from inside Levi Plaza, a beautiful, somewhat hidden park that I’d like to return to for more sketching.

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.

maurits2

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!

S.F. Cable Car Museum Sketches

Sketch of Ticket Machine and Street Lamp, ink & watercolor, 8x5"

Ticket Machine and Street Lamp, ink & watercolor, 8×5″

We rode BART and a cable car to the Cable Car Museum in San Francisco to sketch. I  had to first draw some of the antique street “furniture” on display—an old Cable Car Ticket Machine and a street lamp with cable car line sign on it (California St. Line). The tickets were only 25 cents then. Now they are $6.00 a ride!

Cables that still power the cable cars, ink & watercolor, 5x8"

Cables that still power the cable cars, ink & watercolor, 5×8″

I was surprised to discover that the museum was built around and above the massive cable system that still runs the cable cars. The guy in the sketch above stands on a platform about 20 feet up to supervise (?) the cables that run through multiple sets of huge gears in the basement level of the building and then go out under the streets to pull the cable cars up the steep hills.

Cable Car Museum, ink & watercolor, 8x5"

Cable Car Museum, ink & watercolor, 8×5″

It was extremely LOUD in the museum since it’s on a second floor mezzanine completely open to the cable machinery (see picture) so it felt great to get outside again and sketch the brick museum building from across the street. It was a grey, drizzly winter day but never outright rained so we had a great walk back to BART up and down the hills.

For more sketches of cable cars and the museum, click here to see Cathy’s.

Rigoletto: SF Opera at the Ballpark, ink & watercolor

San Francisco Opera at the Ballpark

Rigoletto: SF Opera at the Ballpark, ink & watercolor

Rigoletto: SF Opera at the Ballpark, 5×8″, drawn in ink then watercolor (and a bit of digital paint) added later. NOTE: Flags at half mast for slain diplomats.  Also, appalled by all the corporate advertising, I replaced their signs with generic ones.

My first trip to the S.F. Giant’s ballpark was for a simulcast of the San Francisco Opera’s production of Rigoletto. Our plan was to sketch this annual tradition where 30,000 people attend the opera for free and picnic on the field or feast on hot dogs, beer and garlic fries in the stands.

Public transit was jammed. I stood all the way to SF on the BART (the subway), then we transferred to a SF Muni streetcar so tightly packed my bag got closed in the door and my big feet barely had space to stand. Read More

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

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.

Waiting with flowers at MacArthur BART Station

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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