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 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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14 Creative Thought(s)

  1. LOVE the sketches! So colorful and love the way you flowed the text around them... I see your trademark creativity continues!

    1. Thanks, T, it was hard to miss with Chinatown!

  2. I love your sketches Laure. They really bring Chinatown alive. The color, smells and sounds are amazing. CAn't wait to see what else you come up with. SF is a facinating city.

  3. Love the photos from your visit to Chinatown. Those colors, especially the reds, were tailor-made for you! Love your comfy new Keens, too.

    1. Hmmm, hadn't thought of it that way, Mary! Red does seem to be a theme around here!

  4. I live one hour from San Francisco... and this post informs me that in all the hundreds of times I have visited that great city as an adult I have never spent time in China Town. Hey, I've BEEN to CHINA! Now I must do China Town in SF. Thanks for the encourgement.
    Your journal pages are delightfully done.

    1. LOL, Lynn! I leave about an hour from Epcot, Universal, Disney and Sea World and I've only been to Disney about a hundred years ago.

      We'll have to connect on my next trip! Maybe we can go explore Chinatown together.

  5. Love the sketches! And the memories. I think your SF sketchbook is going to be one of your best!

  6. I love China towns wherever they are! Your sketches are super - the red is so eyecatching!

  7. I've never been to a China Town. It sounds much better than Disneyland! Your shoes are terrific and your other sketches just as wonderful. This is pure eye candy! It's the second post I've read in the last couple of days about details and maybe not indulging in them. I think you should! Maybe not all the time but in the words you give to your students on a great job - this SINGS! Who was it who wrote a book about her travels or the seasons (can't remember now as it is the sketches I remember) and had her wonderful sketches all through the book? Well, your sketches here would make one of those coffee table books. There are no calories when you indulge in this kind of candy!

  8. Wow! This is a fantastic page!! So full of memories and all so DETAILED! I'm betting your shoes are really pretty and, I hope, comfortable. I'm looking forward to hearing more!

  9. What a beautiful post, Laure! Your journal pages really bring your visit alive. And I'll just have to find me some Keens too, they look great.


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