reinvent the wheel

1904 ford model B
On Saturday, a sunny but breezy February afternoon, I took the bus over to Sacramento for an afternoon of sketching. I had heard about the California Automobile Museum, but had never sought it out, until now. Not far down the river from the Tower Bridge, but still a bit of a walk for my aching feet, the Museum is set into a large warehouse building and jam-packed with amazing historical cars. As someone who likes to draw classic old cars but is frustrated by the samey-samey beige vehicles and unnecessarily testosterone-powered SUVs of the 21st Century, it’s amazing I’ve never been here before, and wow what a find. I will be coming back here again. I wanted to draw everything, so started in chronological order. I didn’t draw the absolutely oldest things on show, but drew the 1904 Ford Model B touring car, above. I say ‘car’, it is a lot bigger than it looks, with a roof straight out of a Great Plains Wagon. It’s intersting to see the evolution of automtive design – many of the touring cars there are larger than a standard SUV of today, but still resemble high-end horse-drawn carriages, where the horse is a long engine in a box at the front.
1914 hupmobile model 32 touring
Here is a slightly smaller vehicle, but still sizeable, the 1914 Hupmobile Model 32-Touring car. I kept thinking of Mr.Toad, “poop-poop”. I loved the hand-cranks on the engines, another reminder of old movies. This was accompanied by an exhibit about the Lincoln Highway, one of the great roads that was built across the United States in the early twentieth century, the age when the motor-car allowed the idea of America’s Manifest Destiny to truly become reality. There was an exhibit about Camp Curry, Yosemite, and that big tree you could drive a car through. No need to go around trees any more, we can just go through them. With our motorcars, we are now the Masters of the Universe.
1938 buick special

Here is a later one, the 1938 Buick Special, when cars became great design masterpieces, curves and shine and power. I sketched some more, to follow in the next post. Even by this point though, my aching feet were joined by an aching arm as my sketchbook-holding left arm was starting to feel tired from my standing posture, while I rushed to draw as many as possible. But there was so much to draw! More to come…

you better slow your mustang down

1967 ford mustang

We went to the Sonoma County Harvest Fair at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds this weekend, to see the Grape Stomping (some people are very serious about that), the Pumpkin Tossing (actually I didn’t see that this time, but my son did some pumpkin bowling), make scarecrows, and of course draw old antique cars. I love drawing old cars, but don’t do it very often – last year’s Harvets Festival was in fact the first and last time. I chatted with some of the car owners, one of whom was an artist of cars and buildings himself. I started off drawing a red 1967 Ford Mustang. It reminded me of 1970s cops, on the edge. Even though this is so very American, I kept humming the theme tune to the Professionals. You really need to screech up a kerb and knock over some bins before sliding across the bonnet and taking out some crook with a couple of right hooks with a car like this, don’t you. You see all these SUVs and Hummers and trucks these days, but those are just compensating, macho nonsense; none of them say ‘tough guy’ like a car like this does. Anyway, it was fun to draw.

mustang 1967