Our First (Full) Morning of San Fran Adventures

7:00 AM

First Lesson of the Day 

Do NOT stop in front of handy street maps that are placed in front of commuter stations in CA...unless you want every homeless guy in the surrounding vicinity to offer you "helpful" directions to your next destination.

This very situation brought about our hasty retreat up Stockton Street towards Chinatown. Turns out Chinatown was a bit further than we thought, but we were enjoying fabulous weather and just being out into the city. It also brought me to a shop that had shoes....comfortable, "looking" shoes.

Since the shoes I had on that morning were not all that comfortable, I decided to go in.

And walked out with a brand new pair of Keens (the blue you see is the color of my socks, not the shoes).
My new shoes (and blue socks)!
On our way again, it wasn't too much later and we knew we had arrived at the gates of Chinatown....

Chinatown

Chinatown Gate
I have wanted to visit Chinatown for a lifetime or so it seems. This place does not disappoint.

Beautiful, fresh produce was just about everywhere.
We saw several types of produce we could not identify.
Colors, movement, design, architecture, flowers, music, cars, horns blaring, barking dogs, laughter, folks speaking in foreign (to me) languages, merchandise tumbling out of stores onto the sidewalks, produce stacked precariously, food  smells, people taking photos, people arguing, streetcars whizzing by, people laughing, panhandlers begging, bicycles flying by...can you say sensory overload?!
This is the EastWest Bank...it looked like a little dollhouse
stuck between to big hulking square brick buildings
with no personality or design to them!
Busy, busy, busy!
For all the commotion, it still seemed more like organized chaos with a certain flow to it.
Clang! Clang! Clang!
If time had permitted, I would have loved to have found a quiet piece of wall to prop against and gotten out my sketchbook. Since it was the first day and we were fresh from a good night's sleep, we didn't pause for sketching.

Creating A Sketch For Chinatown

Arriving back home in Florida (and before I glanced through my photos), I reflected on the things that had impressed me most about our foray into Chinatown and decided to create a page of impressions because one sketch just couldn't do it justice.

Of course,  I fell into the details of Chinatown like a person on a carb-restricted diet falls into a plate of pasta...and devours it! This page was done in the studio where I could savor each small detail as much and as long as I wanted. It also caused me to fall away from sketching for a few days, but more on that later.
Chinatown Impressions
Watercolor and Ink
10 x 8 inches
All of the items on the page represent a memory or desire met. The swinging red lanterns, the street lamps, firecrackers, and architecture all contributed to the visual stimulation of Chinatown.
Loved all the textures in this guy. I would have
loved to have seen him roaring down the street in a parade
with smoke issuing forth!
Being that 2012 is the year of the Dragon and the fact that I happen to be born under the Dragon sign, it seemed appropriate to include a fierce looking specimen on the page.
Isn't he cute?!
This adorable little creature came home with me as a souvenir of my Chinatown experience. I am hopeful he will bring me wisdom. So far, he's just brought cuteness to the desk lamp from which he hangs in the office.

I painted him from memory rather than make the trek to the office from my studio (25 steps maybe) and it quite amused me to see that I had painted the details wrong! So much for my memory of something I see everyday!

Last but not least, I just had to paint some of those red lanterns and a street lamp!
Red "bobbles" dancing in the wind with
flags snapping—just a gorgeous day!
Such fun to paint!



As to sketching details....the Chinatown page was the first time I've indulged my love of details without restraint. I enjoyed. Immensely. Until it came time to create the next page....and I didn't want to. I was still "full" from the feast. It took several days before I felt ready to pick up the pencil, pen or brush and start another page. I'm finding that for me, moderation is key to continually sketching.

Next....Fisherman's Wharf! This post was meant to cover Fisherman's Wharf as well, but I figure this one probably long enough as it is without another romp.

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