the view from telegraph hill

SF view of Golden Gate sm
Here are the last couple from my day in San Francisco, and these are the bridges. Above, the view of the Golden Gate Bridge as sketched from Telegraph Hill. There are always a lot of tourists around the base of Coit Tower, and on this day the clear views of the Bay were incredible. Isn’t San Francisco beautiful? It’s amazing. I love drawing cities, and as cityscapes go this is iconic.
SF Bay from Telegraph Hill

I went around to the other side of Telegraph Hill to a quiet spot on Vallejo that I have also sketched before, about eight and a half years ago. The view has not hanged much (though if you could see beyond Treasure Island to the Oakland side of the Bay Bridge, it is now completely different – the old bridge has been almost entirely removed, with the new spacious modern bridge taking its place. This view however shows the classic San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge. This hill is so steep that it’s quite a climb to get up here. I couldn’t imagine living up here (what a view if you did!). Below, the first time I sketched this. I stood a few steps down, closer to the tree. I’m told there are green parrots in Telegraph Hill, flying free and wild. Telegraph Hill was known by the Spanish as Loma Alta, and later called Goat Hill by residents. It became known as Telegraph Hill due to the large semaphore tower erected in 1849 that would act as a signal to the city about which types of ships were entering the Golden Gate.
view of the bay bridge from telegraph hill//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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sitting here resting my bones

Reds Java House
San Francisco, CA: I walked along the Embarcadero, beneath the Bay Bridge, through South Beach, on my way to AT&T Park. I wanted to draw the ballpark because my wife is a big Giants fan. On the way, I passed Red’s Java house, which I have wanted to sketch for some time. I’ve never been in here (and my lack of cash meant I didn’t go in this time either, plus I’d already eaten at Gott’s), but I know it’s historic and I always like a well-worn building in my sketchbook. I seem to recall Anthony Bourdain popped in for breakfast in one of his shows. This place has been here for the best part of a century, serving the dockers, later the dotcommers and then the Giants fans. Beyond, in the turquoise bay waters, huge container vessels from Korea, China, the Rest of the World came in to dock on the far side in Oakland, Alameda, or wherever, unloading their cargo to be hauled across the United States and its big economy. Behind me, lycra- and iPod-clad joggers jogged on. The Java drinkers at Red’s presumably watched, and I sketched none of it. For me, the building is story enough.

san francisco, one morning in february

the golden gate bridge, from telegraph hill
First post in a few days, but I’ve got some drawing done… I went to San Francisco on Saturday for a whole day of sketching, because the weather was nice and it was nearly my birthday (in fact it’s today). The first thing I did after arriving at the Ferry Building was head straight up Telegraph Hill. Well no, the first thing I did was buy a walnut brownie, as I always do, but then I went uphill. I wanted to draw a big panorama. the problem is, unless you go up Coit Tower itself (and why would I do a sensible thing like that) the good views are mostly broken by trees. For the sketch of the Golden Gate Bridge above I had to stand on a wall besides quite a steep shrubby slope. But what a view! And no morning fog. the bay bridge from telegraph hill

I did much the same for the second one, looking in the other direction. That’s the Bay Bridge, with the Ferry Building in front of it, and the financial district overshadowing it. These were drawn in my Stillman and Birn sketchbook, the one I got from the Lisbon Symposium, but only just started using. It was very nice too. Watercolouring will take a little getting used to after so long with the watercolour moleskine (you can’t lay it on quite as thick) but it’s pretty nice with the pens, so far. These were done with a micron 01. More SF sketches to come…

life is never dull, in your dreams

sc31 bay bridge

I left the Mission district with ages to spare (BART being a lot quicker than I thought, for some reason) and hung out by the Embarcadero for a while, watching the sunlight fade, and sipping an Anchor Steam beer on the outside terrace of the Americana hotel. Proper San Francisco beer for the end of the day. I sketched the Fery Building, glowing in the evening sun, and as the lights went on on the Bay Bridge I sat by the water’s edge and used the white gel pen to capture it.

sc31 ferry building at sunsetsc31 anchor steam

On the Amtrak train coming home, I read the comics I’d bought and flicked through the day’s sketches. there was time for one more; so I looked at my reflection in the window and sketched that.

sc31 self portrait