Tag Archives: nob hill

christmas at the cathedral

2012 Christmas Concert at Grace Cathedral
As mentioned in the previous post, I drew the cover for Grace Cathedral’s 2012 Christmas Concert brochure. Last Saturday my wife and I went down to San Francisco, and up up up Nob Hill, to see the wonderful show itself, courtesy of the cathedral. Naturally I took my sketchbook. While last year I drew the impressive vaulted ceiling all the way down to the singing choir, this year I took a panoramic approach; you’ll have to click on the image for a larger view, I’m afraid. I did all the penwork during the concert, and added the colour when I got home (from my detailed notes – shirt=yellow, hair=brown etc). I have drawn in here a few times now so i am getting used to this impressive space. It is always nice to draw with a cathedral full of singing all around you. The Christmas Concert at Grace Cathedral is a San Francisco tradition, and I’m very honoured to have illustrated their flier and brochure two years in a row. Here they are…
grace xmas programs 2012
The concert was majestic. I love all the old Christmas songs, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and all that; though I’m not a religious person myself, they make me nostalgic, somehow reminding me more of England than America, Christmas Carols, mince pies, junior school concerts, Harry Secombe on the telly, Shepherds washing their socks by night. There was, almost inevitably, one deeply sad moment: a verse of Silent Night, added to the set following the terrible event that happened the day before in Connecticut. It was a well attended concert, one of several that have taken place this month at Grace; this weekend there are performances of Handel’s Messiah performed by American Bach Soloists. Many thanks once again to Abby and Bruce for giving me this opportunity again. As I have said before, I do love drawing a cathedral!

http://www.gracecathedral.org/visit/concerts-and-events/christmas/

how sweet the sound

grace cathedral christmas concert 2011

This year, I was given the honour of illustrating the Christmas Concert Series brochure of Grace Cathedral, in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighbourhood. Last Sunday, with my Mum who was visiting from London, I went down to San Francisco and attended their show ‘A Cathedral Christmas’, performed by the purple-clad Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. It was a surreal experience seeing so many people clutching copies of a drawing that I had done! My Mum, as mums naturally do, pointed out to a few people, “he did that!” After being introduced to the Dean of the Cathedral, we took our seats and listened to the amazing concert, and what a location! Immediately I got my sketchbook out – it’s not every day I get to attempt a cathedral from the inside. I intend to go back and practise some more! I drew during all the traditional Christmas music, including some pieces by Handel (I’m no expert on this sort of thing, but it was pretty good; I also learnt from my Mum that Handel lived in Edgware for a bit, so we were near-neighbours, a couple of centuries apart) (Good job he never went to Edgware School though, with a name like that he’d have had a pretty obvious nickname).
grace cathedral xmas brochures

Many thanks to Bruce and Abby for this wonderful opportunity, and for inviting me to the show. Here’s the Grace Cathedral website: http://www.gracecathedral.org/. And here are the remaining concerts they have this Christmas season, click here. If you’re in San Francisco, I recommend it!

And Merry Christmas everyone! Just another week now, and last week I chopped down my first Christmas Tree (well I say ‘chopped’, I mean ‘sawed’) – there it is in the background of my photo above…

up hill, down hill

powell & california, nob hill

The cable car from Fisherman’s Wharf up to Nob hill cost me five bucks. Five dollars! (You don’t put bourbon in it or nothing?) So I turned the ticket into a piece of art. Well, I sketched on it. Not easy when you don’t have Pritt Stick on you to glue it down. I held it to the paper with my thumb as I sketched (harder than you might think, given it was a really windy day on top of a pretty windy hill), but I liked the image of the cable car so it became part of the sketch. this is the view down California, from Powell. I have sketched this spot before a few years ago in another odd fashion (I don’t seem to ever draw this view normally).

chinatown, san francisco

Down the hill we go, to Chinatown. It was Chinese New Year and there were lots of dragons and parades and celebrations going on down there. That was hours before I went, though, so it was much quieter while I sketched. I don’t come to Chinatown often (you go there lots when you’re new to San Francisco, but now I see it as a bit too touristy and cramped – hah, that’s rich after sketching at Pier 39). I like all the colours though, and there is always something to draw. Plus it’s historic, and you can’t beat historic. (Actually ‘cool’ sometimes beats ‘historic’, but this isn’t Top Trumps). This is my favourite spot, on the corner of California and Grant, by the Old St. Mary’s Cathedral.

And so I went shopping, and went home on the train, and had a nice cold beer while waiting to turn 35.

amazing grace, how sweet the sound

grace cathedral, san francisco

At the top of Nob Hill in San Francisco sits Grace Cathedral. Nob Hill is an interesting neighbourhood – full of big grand hotels and spectacular views, many years ago this windswept hill was too steep for regular San Franciscans to bother reaching, a place for hermits and rich mansion builders to live away from the rabble of the Barbary Coast. The cable car made it more easily accessible and it was by cable car that I made it up hill to sketch Grace Cathedral. I like this big cathedral. It has a labyrinth inside (it’s just drawn on the floor though, not with hedges or minotaurs, and the answers are at the back). That’s right – a Maze in Grace…

 nob hill house

I then sat in Huntington Park, in front of the cathedral, and noticed other people out drawing in sketchbooks. The weather was amazing, warm, golden sunlight everywhere, and people were out taking advantage. I sketched a smallish house which I found quite interesting looking.