specs and the city

Specs SF smClick on the image for a larger view. One of the reasons I came to sketch San Francisco’s North Beach last March is because I wanted to sketch this old bar – Specs, just off Columbus. I’ve been here before and it’s a sketchers’ delight – memorabilia covering the walls and ceiling, a small narrow bar area full of friendly atmosphere, and a healthy smattering of artists. That evening I wasn’t feeling too well, and went back to my hotel for a rest, but I forced myself out because I was going to get this sketch, goddammit! When I arrived, the place was pretty full, but there was a space in the middle of the bar area, so I parked up there and got the sketchbook out. I had no stool, so I had to stand, but I didn’t care. Behind me, an older fellow was sketching bar patrons in a big sketchbook, while further inside another man was painting oil on a large canvas. Definitely an artist-friendly bar. The last time I was here was back in 2010 with my friend Simon, visiting from England, and we played chess and traded Brick Top impressions and had beer and whiskey into the wee hours (well, he had the whiskey, I had the beer). This time around, I drank my Anchor Steam slowly and sketched quickly, getting as much of the two spread panorama as I could. I wasn’t feeling much better to be honest but was pleased when a stool became available. This took me all of two beers, my second coming courtesy of the house (cheers Specs!), in a time of around an hour and a half. I really sketched fast. Upon finishing up, I stopped off for a freshly made doughnut on Columbus to eat back at the hotel, which actually made me feel a lot better. After a long day of sketching, I was happy for the rest.

5 thoughts on “specs and the city

  1. writingbolt says:

    You draw numerous bars, don’t you? I may have commented on one of your previous–yellow?–drawings. You blow me away with this. WAY too many little details for me to reproduce:P If someone ever put this in a How to Draw book, I think I’d roll over and die:P Draw THAT?! In how many steps?! [clunk.] It just boggles the mind. Throw in some splashes of color to capture mood/time of day, and it’s a keeper.

    • pete scully says:

      It’s just a game of observation really, it’s fun lining things up and drawing them in the right place, and if it’s not right it doesn’t matter, it’s right later when you look at it. Bar drawing is a challenge but a lot of fun.

      • writingbolt says:

        Well, then it’s a game I fear I’d lose quickly. All my observation skills seem to be paltry compared to such handiwork. I try to draw everything in place, and it usually turns out misshapen or out of proportion. Sigh. I’d have to spend a day at the bar to finish that drawing, at least. It might take a few days with noise and people traffic. And, even then, I wouldn’t be sure why I am drawing it.

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