Chinese New Year in San Francisco

Bookended by the rousing  and massively inspiring women’s marches last weekend was a S.F. Urban Sketchers meet up in Chinatown. Bob and I were staying in the city and taking buses to get around. So first of all I got to satisfy my desire to sketch on the bus!


fountain pen and colored brush pens and w/c in Stillman and Birn Beta sketchbook

The ride was short and bumpy so I plunged in with great trepidation. The squiggly lines tell part of the story. I kind of wish I could spend a whole day riding a bus and sketching til I got the hang of it. Laurie Wigham of SF Meet Ups fame has proposed this. I vote for that! I only stopped because I realized I was missing the terrific view of SF streets!


We met up in Saint Mary’s Square where the kids, dressed in drummer attire, were getting ready to march in the mini parade. The constant movement was a challenge! At one point a group of five boys came up within a couple feet of us to see what we were doing and were so intrigued with the paints and brushes that they looked like they planned to stay! Of course all sketching had to stop at that moment to enjoy their attention.


Next I stood by the older boys who do the dragon dance. Later I realized that this dragon looked like he would either eat the boy or the lollypop on the stick!

chineseny5One of our group, Liz, saw an opportunity for us to have a different viewpoint and we ordered tea at the Chinatown restaurant, sitting on the balcony above the stage, where speakers and drumming blared from the sound system for the next hour!


A dragon danced on the street below for a while.


Away from the noise (I thought) in an alleyway I situated myself across from this gentleman barber and rather obviously started to sketch. When he saw me, he went inside and came back with this instrument. I smiled in gratitude when he started playing rather loudly “My Darling Clementine”, stopping mid-song whenever a person stopped to take his picture. Then he would hold up a much used cardboard sign that said “Haircut and shave” and ask if the person wanted a haircut.


The heart of Chinatown. Can’t wait to go back.

Come join me this spring and summer for some sketching-on-location workshops!


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