the sentinel building

SF sentinel building
At the end of November, I went to San Francisco for the day, just to sketch. It had gotten really cold in Davis, whereas San Francisco was about the same temperature, and therefore really warm. I understand that logic. I wanted to get back to North Beach, one of my favourite sketching destinations in the world (Strasbourg I think is top). I came down here at the end of last year and sketched until my fingers were too cold, and although it isn’t cheap getting down here on the Amtrak, it’s worth it just to be somewhere so different from Davis. Now I will post the building above is called the Sentinel Building, and has a special place in my personal sketching history. I remember coming here in late 2006 and sketching this on a postcard sized piece of watercolour paper, using just light pencil and watercolour paint. I remember a man asking if he could watch, and in those days I was so shy about my sketching I said no, and turned instantly invisible. I was however really pleased with the outcome, and figured that all of my sketches would be like that (when I discovered micron pens I went in a completely different direction). Here is that sketch, from nine years earlier:
on the corner of kearny and columbusIt’s still one of my favourites, and brings back warm memories for me. California was still so new, so much to discover. For example, I later discovered I got the name of the street wrong. I do wonder sometimes why I am drawn back to the same old spots, but urban sketching is about having a conversation with your surroundings (even if too shy to have a conversation with the people). Anyway, after less than a year of going out and about with new pens and new sketchbooks, I took my first of many Watercolour Moleskines back down to North Beach, and sketched the Sentinel Building once more. I remember that I used a Copic 0.1 multiliner, and a grey version of the same pen for the buildings in the background.
the sentinel building
Back then I was really into scribbly frames as well. This was another sketch I really loved, and still do. For a long time this was actually my favourite of my sketches. It was like, I was trying to get my sketches to be a certain way, and this was it, but it was just the sort of atmosphere I couldn’t achieve in bright, hot, low-level Davis – it was city-specific.

Back to the present…so the sketch at the top was done while standing up the quite steep slope of Kearny Street. I noticed that there is a lot of graffiti on the dome now. Here are my in-progress shots. Well, the above are technically “in-progress” as well! I’ll show you the other sketches from that day in a different post, but for now, here’s the Sentinel Building.


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