Daily Archive for February 5th, 2008

Brave Voters Ignore Signage and Cast Their Ballots!

I went to my local polling place today and cast my vote in the ‘08 primary election. My neighborhood polling place seems to be in a different location every time. Once it was in a barbershop on Pico called “The Headmaster.” This time around it was in someone’s junky old garage. It smelled musty, it was loaded with different kinds of weird junk and what space was left over had everyone just short of being shoulder-to-shoulder. One of the funniest parts, though, was this sign hanging outside the door. Now, you’d think they could maybe take this down on election day. I mean, what kind of message is this sending to potential voters?

In case you can’t make it out, the hand-painted portion of the sign reads:

DO NOT DISTURB!!!
YOU AIN’T BEEN
COMING BY
DONT START NOW

César

The day after Sketchcrawl 17, I met with Martha of Trumpetvine Travels for a mini-crawl of sorts. We met up in North Berkeley, an area that Martha knows well and one I was interested in getting to know a little better. Even though I grew up in the city of San Francisco, I didn’t venture outside of it very often, and so it’s only in more recent years that I’ve gotten much of a feel at all for areas like the East Bay. There’s still plenty more in the Bay Area that I haven’t explored, but my brother lived in Berkeley for a while and my visits there helped me begin to get a sense for it. I like the slightly warmer weather (vs. the city of SF), the spacious laid-back feel, and the craftsman-style homes.

Martha introduced me to the area of North Berkeley known as the “Gourmet Ghetto” — primarily a one-block stretch of Shattuck Avenue lined with several restaurants, a.k.a. “Foodie” establishments, the star of which is Chez Panisse. Apparently, you have to book about a month in advance to dine there, so we went to the Tapas bar one door down called César. We spent about an hour chatting and sipping Cava (Martha knows how to start lunch right!) and munching on beet salad and little salmon sandwiches. Everything was quite good, but the little dish of olives they brought out shortly after we sat down was quite possibly the most delicious part.

At some point, and after ordering a couple cappuccinos, we figured we’d better get to sketching. I took a somewhat slower pace than at Sketchcrawl (it helped that I was mellowed by sparkling wine and good food and wasn’t freezing) and just completed this one sketch looking toward the bar:

The sketch was done in my “Frankenskine” sketchbook, pictured here:

…a Moleskine daily planner which I gutted and converted into a Watercolor sketchbook. The construction of this book was developed by Martha. She’s filled many of these modified Moleskines with her beautiful sketches. Detailed instructions and samples of her sketches are available on her blog. Here’s my account of the project.

Update: Martha has posted her sketches from our lunch over at Trumpetvine. Be sure to take a look! I love the way she uses negative space in her sketches and simply leaves things out. I have a hell of a time doing that (in case you can’t tell from my sketch, above). Her approach can lead to some interesting results. Organic sorts of compositions and non-rectangular framings. They’re not overladen with detail, and so they are very relaxing to look at and leave a bit to our imaginations. In that way, they can help transport us to the scene being depicted all the more, because life is like that. We tend to look at just one thing at a time, and often in an impressionistic way, feeling it, rather than looking at the minute detail, and objects in the periphery are frequently either vague or almost non-existent in our experience/memory. Also, another effect of her use of white space is the quality of light. Take a look at the second sketch in her post and you get the sense there’s bright light shining through the windows.

Also, more sketches to come from my visit to San Francisco…