Here are a few drawings from my very brief trip to San Francisco this week. Most of these are from my Sketchbook No. 62 – except this one below, which I did on watercolor paper:
I painted this one (these two?) at Fort Mason (or the hill above Fort Mason – not sure if that’s just a part of Fort Mason or not.) It was an incredible view… but a crazy windy area, so kind of a headache and plenty of small glitches due to wind. The contrast was funky… the water was so bright, shimmering reflected light – so the hillsides looked almost featureless black against that. So I think I ended up making the hills a little too dark… and the colors are slightly more subtle than what the scan shows…
From Sketchbook 62:
I took the train up with my niece and nephew – above is one sketch I did of my nephew Owen – while we were on the train.
The above was more-or-less my warm-up sketch on Monday, the day before yesterday, the one full day I had to explore and enjoy and sketch the city. It’s a Simon Bolivar statue that’s just across from San Francisco’s City Hall.
This is a fairly quick sketch of three (well… two and a half) homes on Steiner. I was looking to do a sketch of some S.F. homes that weren’t necessarily incredibly wonderful, but good representative examples of the sort of things you see in lots of places in San Francisco. I was going to draw in the electrical wires, but ended up deciding not to (basically because I didn’t have all that much time.)
When I turned in my rental bicycle, I took the F-train back toward the civic center. When I got off the streetcar, I looked up and saw a massive handsome historic building. At first I was thinking it was too complicated, and I didn’t have time to draw it… then I decided to just go for it. I think it turned out really well. The main building in the drawing is part of Hastings Law School. According to Hastings website, it’s McAlister Hall and was formerly the Empire Hotel, at one time, the tallest building in the city.
Overall I really like this drawing, though the roadway itself is a little funky… I think I should have left it just white. Also the fold fell funny – right at the top of the four-story building in front. I am pretty sure that this is the first time I’ve drawn a vertical two-page spread in my sketchbooks.
And then there’s the journey home…
Here are people waiting at the Oakland Amtrak Station. It’s often a good place to sketch people – sitting and waiting – though it seems like they’re all sitting around using electronic device these days… which is fine – it means they basically hold still.
I did a few drawings on the train ride home… some good, many not. Here’s one train drawing that I like:
This one is rather unusual in that it’s in pencil (actually a color-pencil that’s black.) I don’t often use pencils for sketching – most of the time I just work directly in pen. This pencil media means that it’ll probably get all messed up – the way I treat my books will result in enough rubbing that it’ll never again look as clear as it does in this scan. (any suggestions?) I think it looks good… I should pencil-sketch more – though I sharpened the pencil about 20 times over the course of this one page.
I had already drawn the man who had the seat closer to me. When, in late afternoon, the man went away somewhere, I drew the legs of the woman next to him… when she’d put her feet up on the serving tray. She had very nice legs… so I figured I’d draw them/her… and all the context of train seating, windows, etc.
I need to trick myself to doing more sketches like these, while I am in Los Angeles… I do good work when I leave on vacation (for example good work recently in San Luis Obispo here and here) and I draw and paint less here… and do much less actual in-the-field art.
And if you liked these, see some 2011 San Francisco sketches here.