San Francisco, is the city of bridges, Victorian and modern architecture in California. Iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Oakland Bay Bridge are the main attractions. Golden Gate Bridge seen in many movies and of course ‘Fullhouse’ serial of 1987, carrying those memories in my mind, this time our Thanksgiving break travel was to San Francisco.
I carried my Moleskine pocket sketchbook, Pentallic Aqua Journal, fluid block and Stillmanandbirn Beta series sketchbooks. I know, I carried lot of stuff, but according to available time & mood I select my sketchbooks. Recently, I read Mike Daikubara’s book ‘Sketch Now Think Later’ and in entire travel of San Francisco it motivated me to sketch first. A must read for sketchers!
The weather was bright Sunny and break from Seattle’s grayness. My first sketch on Day-1 was at Fremont, where we stayed with our relatives. The bright sunshine welcomed us and we enjoyed our tea in the backyard. The day followed by visiting the vista point of Golden Gate Bridge. The blue sky with yellow sun rays illuminated the red bridge. Unfortunately, because of Thanksgiving, Crissy field point was closed except for buses. The view from vista point was spectacular and I sketched it in my Pentallic Aqua Journal. I was thrilled and excited while sketching this icon. People were taking pictures, couples romancing, kids running behind birds, all happening at vista point.
Next we covered the Battery Spencer trail to get another view of bridge. The trail was steep with steps. Before I could finish the sketch weather became cloudy and started drizzling. I completed that sketch after reaching home. The cool breeze and beautiful view of this massive suspension bridge is worth experiencing.
On Day-2 we headed for the scenic 17-mile drive in Pebble beach. The sky and Pacific Ocean showcased their best colors and more than 250 years old cypress trees enhances its beauty more. I did pencil sketching and quick washes on fluid blocks and spend quality time with my family members. The 17-mile drive is mesmerizing along the coastline, with some of golf’s greatest landmarks.
Day-3 was adventurous and most awaited visit of downtown San Francisco. I usually have this notion, to know a place better, is to view it, through commuting by public transport. Our stay was at Fremont and we took BART from Union city to Embarcadero & later to Fisherman’s wharf. We decided to take Hop on Hop off citysightseeing tour bus because of time constraint and traffic in downtown. It was fun sitting on top of the bus, hearing commentary by guide and clear glance of buildings around. The first hop off was at Crissy field, Golden Gate Bridge. We walked on the bridge and I again illustrated the icon. While sketching here, many people saw my sketches and without getting distracted I completed the bridge from different angle.
The next visit was at Golden Gate Park. The bus ride was roller coaster for me, cool breeze and all the time guide used to say, ‘watch your head’ being hit because of cables, wires and branches of trees. This Park is hub of Japanese tea garden, De Young museum and California Academy of Sciences. Being Saturday, the crowd was more and long queues to enter. We walked around here, people were renting bikes, segway, music performances, foodstalls indeed a happening place.
Later we headed to Victorian architecture i.e. ‘Painted Ladies’. On the way to Alamo square I did a quick sketch of the arty wires and cables hanging on the pole. The streets were steep and parallel parked cars with wheels away from the curb. Its amazing to watch people parking cars here. Painted Ladies stand like postcard motif ready to click picture always. It was indeed great and tiring day and this was my last sketch of the trip too. It was challenging to sketch and see the tourists spots. The evening ended by spending time at Union Square where huge Christmas tree was decorated. Still more to explore in San Francisco, may be in next visit!