VSW: Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco

The inspiration for this virtual walk came from a Preservation Leadership blog on
Early San Francisco Parking Garages
.  I love funky old buildings, and these are anonymously designed (in some cases) and I don’t want them torn down!
To see the walk we took, from Haight and Schrader
to Frederick to the Richard Gamble Memorial Dog Park, go here!

 W15 10 HAIGHT 021W15 10 HAIGHT 002For my take on the sixties walk in 2015
I wanted to convey a bit of whimsy,
and to also remember the counter-culture
that I really was not able to experience,
being either too young (teens) or too responsible (I practiced architecture there for IBM).
I was in love with San Francisco as a kid,
when my mom and I would go and explore the wharf, eat crab in front of Alioto’s, dink around in Chinatown and Christmas shop.  In my teens and twenties, when it was the city of love, and the culture defined the meaning of colorful.

W15 10 HAIGHT 037 copyAs a young woman I had a romance both in the city and with the city, and would shop at City Lights Bookstore or William Stout Architectural Books for hours,
lost in heaven, then eat at the street vendors in Chinatown.

If I was eating after work I went to the Tadich Grill, where a woman could sit at the bar, talk with others, and it was cool without being weird.  Breakfast was at Cafe Trieste
or Buena Vista if I had time and a friend with me.  I’d shop across the street at the Pier stores and found my first Mei Fa Stix in the Haight.

I spent many weekends in San Francisco alone, and if my career teaching had taken a different turn might have moved there, but I
ended up teaching at UCLA.

As a Californian Gurl, I also wanted to make sure to include my beloved palms, which are everywhere in the city, and range from scruffy short stubs to majestic anchors.

W15 10 HAIGHT 012
I did the two-page layout in pencil, and sketched rough guidelines before inking
using a Platinum Carbon Pen for all the black inks except the lettering.

These simple penciled guidelines allow me to remain truer to the perspective,
but also are a way of me getting to know the way the buildings are built.
Do the windows line up?  Are the floors level or split level?
Is the street level or going up or down?

I liked the clean inked version of this layout so much I decided not to use
colored inks or watercolors.  I’ve always loved inked drawings,
and was never happier than when I was inking a large formal drawing at school.

Plus, it is INKTOBER!

The walk:

Moleskin 8×11 watercolor journal,
Pentalic HB woodless pencil, Platinum Carbon pen.


I started a closed Facebook group page (you must join to view) to allow everyone
to comfortably post their virtual sketches, and also where we will,
from time to time, take virtual sketch walks together.
If you want to know more about what a virtual sketchwalk is review my first post.

I also created an accompanying Flickr group!
Don’t forget you can also post your images on Flickr!

Come join us On Facebook if you are inclined!
There are a few more notes/pointers on our first walk through Laguna Beach, California.

virtual sketch walk banner


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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in architecture, art journal, challenge, commentary, drawing, painting, pen & ink, pencil, process, sketchcrawl, virtual sketching, watercolor and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to VSW: Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco

  1. sandidureice says:

    Thankyou. A lovely post. As a beginner, I have found the only way to work on perspective is to put those lines in. And the only way to do that is to not think ‘finished’ piece, but ‘practice’ piece. I know there has been discussion before on the value of practice, however it is very difficult to change the habit of one’s thinking. With Nicolaides’ book (thankyou) and Scheinberger’s (thankyou again) and a couple of Craftsy classes – one with Shari, and one with Marc, I am finally loosening up my line and attitude.
    Love the old buildings too.


    • I still put them in as part of my thinking process unless I am really rushed (I will post two of those for inktober). BTW, if you are on Facebook the best thing about it is Artists Journal Workshop. THE. BEST. I learn so much from so many. https://www.facebook.com/groups/artists.journal.workshop/


      • sandidureice says:

        Thanks for the suggestion about Artists Journal Workshop. However I am not on Facebook. I do too much on the computer already. So I thought it was about time I practised all the theory I have learnt and I finally went out with Melbourne Urban Sketchers last Saturday. Yay! I took the tram to a place in Melbourne I’d never been to before – so I was being a tourist too. We met at wharf 2 at Victoria Harbour and sketched a 100 year old schooner that had been built in Australia. It is now being fixed in dry-dock, well up in the air and very easy to see. I practised simplification. I practised seeing big shapes. I practised lights and darks. And perspective. And there was no strolling public to look over my shoulder, so I was very, very happy! I also scribbled Nicolaides-style. I practised ‘seeing’ for so long I can still see that vessel in my mind. And when I look at my scribbles, they take me back there. That’s nice isn’t it.
        I can’t make the next outing because there is an annual book fair I-just-have-to-go-to! I shall be going to the next urban sketch-out soon after that.
        Thanks for your help and suggestions.


        • I love it!

          I use FB 99% for art thangs and then I also stay in touch with high school friends scattered everywhere. I think that AJW has been one of hte most informative groups because of the mix of serious professional artist and beginners, everyone sharing, and no ads. I may nto check in with anything else, but do visit Cathy Johnson’s group daily, and have made flesh and blood friends from there. (If we lived closer you might be one!)


  2. Sammy D. says:

    Great San Francisco vibes in your sketches, Katie. In my next lives, I want to spend my 20s in San Francisco, then again in New York – both fabulous cities in certain (prior) decades. I vusited each iften and, like you, fell in live in and with the cities 😊💖


  3. Oh, to be able to hang those two pages from your sketchbook on my wall! I LOVE THEM!!! They would make me smile every day, as I hope they do you. 😀


  4. joantav says:

    Wow! You’ve done so many sketches for this sketch walk. I’m exhausted just looking at them. Great job!!!


  5. Pingback: Inktober, Week Three | D.Katie Powell Art

  6. What amazing ink drawings! They are so lovely!!


  7. Dena Ann says:

    These are fantastic, really. They have personality and sense of affection for place that really shines through.


  8. Beth says:

    I loved your reminiscings. And your artwork is so fun. Your perspective in the drawings of the buildings is just spectacular. You are a wonderful artist.


  9. I adore these… one of my biggest desires is to be able to sketch architecture one day, and to sketch it like you do would make me beyond happy. And reading about your time in San Francisco was wonderful… but your drawings are breathtaking


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