jacksonville on the fourth of july

Jacksonville Oregon

Jacksonville, Oregon. Click on the picture to embiggen it. Over the Seventh of April weekend (sorry, Fourth of July, I always get date-confused) we went up to southern Oregon to visit family, and on the 7th itself (sorry, the 4th) I was able to take a couple of hours in the baking hot afternoon to visit the historic town of Jacksonville, about five minutes away from Medford. I really love Jacksonville, and have sketched it before on several occasions (usually around Independence Day, which is particularly nice because all the flags are up). On this occasion I was desperate to draw a panorama, and so I did. I would love to draw this entire street, building by building by building. On the right there you can see a sketch I did exactly five years before (on 7/4/10), which was in black ink so noticeably darker values. In the panorama above I used dark brown ink. I did the penwork on site (except for some of the jacksonville, oregonmore repetitive brickwork), and did some of the colour too, to get the right shade for the hills and trees, but coloured the rest in a couple of days later.

Jacksonville was founded after the discovery of gold nearby, and retains many of its old 19th century buildings. One of the main pioneers was a man called Peter Britt. I am also Pete, a Brit. That’s a really good joke, huh, I do a lot of really good jokes like that. Anyway, Jacksonville was the cultural and commercial hub of southern Oregon  for a long time, according to their website, until the railroad was built in 1884 in neighbouring Medford, “when Jacksonville’s prestige began to wane” (anyone who visits Medford will see that Medford is clearly the more prestigious). Jacksonville still had cultural relevance though. Did you know for example that Goofy comes from here? Well not Goofy himself, but the guy who did his voice, Pinto Colvig, he was from Jacksonville. Gawsh! I met the real Goofy once at Disneyland, he signed my sketchbook. Evil Dead actor Bruce Campbell also comes from Jacksonville. Anyway, these days Jacksonville has somewhere under 3,000 residents, and the surrounding countryside with its vineyards and rolling hills is most pleasant.

After sketching, I popped into the Jville Tavern to cool off before heading back to the family get-together. The temperature was about 104 degrees (Fahrenheit, not Celsius).


bricks, guns, candy (and dollar bills on the ceiling of a bar)

jacksonville city hall

More from Jacksonville, southern Oregon. I sat beneath a shady tree and sketched the historic city hall. It is very peaceful around there, the chirruping of birds only broken by the families of visitors humming by on Segways. I sketched this with the uni-ball signo pen, and as I was about to add a tentative wash the pen said no, I will run. You can but but I can’t hide it. So it stayed black and white. You can colour it in if you like (just don’t use watercolours or sharpies on your monitor).  

far west gun exchangejacksonville candy machine

I had to draw this antique gun exchange. With all of the antlers and horns on the front of the shop, I wondered if it was really supposed to be a gnu exchange. You homo sapiens and your gnus. I also sketched a rather interesting candy dispenser, with glamourous looking shiny beads on it, in the window of a clothes store called La Boheme. It seems to fit nicely with the  clothes I sketched before.

Jville Tavern

When I came here on the same day last year, I finished up the afternoon by sketching in the JVille Tavern, accompanied by a nice local beer (Ashland Amber Caldera). I setched this bar from the other side last year. This one was sketched quickly in my small red moley, and spattered with some paint afterwards to add an interesting effect. Those things inexplicably pinned to the ceiling are dollar bills, not butterflies.

hit the road, jack

overlooking jacksonville, oregon

I had my bike with me in Oregon, so I cycled to Jacksonville. I went there on the same Sunday last year, and was retyrning to sketch the things I’d missed last time. It didn’t take long to cycle there, and it was a beautiful journey, much of the road running alongside a creek, with rolling hills, vinyards and even a snaowy peak popping out aboce it all. I had to stop at one point to sketch the view above, overlooking Jacksonville. As sson as I entered town, the sketching stool came out and I drew the First Presbyterian Church, a lovely wooden building which dates back to 1881.

first presbyterian church, jacksonville
Jacksonville church

jacksonville fire hydrant

And a fire hydrant; why not. More to come…

preachin’ to the converted

st.andrew's church in jacksonville
More from Jacksonville. There are so many interesting buildings to draw here, it’s impossible to know which one to choose. When in doubt, draw the church. Actually this was not as easy a choice as you might think, as there are several old wooden churches from the mid 1800s to choose from. I sat in the shade opposite the very classic Americana structure of St.Andrew’s church, originally built as the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1856. Picket fence, white wood, pointed steeple, all you need is a well-dressed bald guy with a pitchfork. How could I resist? 

I started drawing another church just around the corner, another one from the 1850s but this time for the Catholics, but only got a third of the way through before giving up – I had no shade that time. Sitting in shade on sunny southern Oregonian days is a good idea. It looked just like the one above, but had some windows, and a telegraph pole next to it. Just imagine it, I’m probably not going to scan it. 

Shade is good, but shade with fans and a bar and a cold beer is even better. That’s how I ended the July 4th sketching trip to Jacksonville, in the J’Ville Tavern. They have pool tables in there; I like the sound of pool, the kinetic crack of a break, the soft clunk of white potting black. I don’t hear it very often any more! They also have stuffed animal heads, lots of them in fact, and what looked like hundreds of dollar bills attached to the ceiling, for some reason (I didn’t ask; I prefer the mystery). Locals were very friendly though, and told me tales of historic Jacksonville. I guessed they tell them tales to all strangers.

J'Ville Tavern

drawn on the fourth of july

jacksonville, oregon
On a warm July 4 morning I was dropped off in Jacksonville – sorry, historic Jacksonville – just outside Medford, in the hills of southern Oregon. It’s a gorgeous little town, like the Old West, and Old Glory was draped up and down the main thoroughfare, California Street. And the cyclists! It was like the tour de France, so many cyclists, many of whom were on tandems – there was even a whole family of five on a single tandem bike, the tallest at the front, the shortest at the back (seems like it would make more sense the other way round). They received applause and cheers as they cycled south. There was a small British themed store, run by a woman from Yorkshire, and I bought a package of Yorkshire pudding mix (I love them!), which came with the warning that if I tried to make the puddings at any sort of significant altitude, they wouldn’t rise. I think I’ll be ok making them in Davis.

page one in jacksonville, oregonI opened up a brand new watercolour moleskine (number 6), drew a stretch of the main street, as cyclists and daytrippers whizzed and waddled by respectively. One passing woman stopped, asked me to remove my earphones, and told me that I should put my drawing on a t-shirt, Jacksonville needs that, “because you’ve probably noticed but there aren’t many t-shirts with drawings of Jacksonville on them.” I hadn’t noticed, no, I said, and put my earphones back on.