Architecture and Urban Planning, Urban Sketching

Just a quick lunch time sketch in front of the Valley Life Sciences Building (read more about the history of the building here).  It’s a little slow on campus right now due to it being finals week.  I chose this spot because of the shade more than anything else, but I was able to catch a few students coming and going from where I sat.

UC Berkeley Valley Life Sciences Building

 

Photo and Sketch

Lunch time sketch – Valley Life Sciences Building

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Architecture and Urban Planning, Culture and Religion, Urban Sketching

So my local SF Bay Area Urban Sketchers group met up at the Cathedral of Christ the Light (Lake Merritt – Oakland, CA) on May 1st.  I’m not a practicing Muslim, but I couldn’t help but think, “this should be interesting.”  Let’s face it when you’re looking for stunning works of religious architecture in the US, it’s not going to be a mosque.  But who knows what’s in store for future generations?  Perhaps our children or their children will be sketching in spaces where architecture and spirituality come together in ways that are beyond our imagination.  All that aside, I have to say that I found myself in peaceful bliss as I sketched the body of Jesus as I sat in the pews of the Cathedral of Christ the Light.  The moment made me pause and wonder why my mother left Christianity and chose Islam when I was a child.  In the midst of my feelings of bliss and spiritual thoughts, I found myself awkwardly looking up at the image of Christ.  I realized I was sitting in a spot that none of the other sketchers chose.  Perhaps because the perspective felt awkward, a little like an IMAX film.  But I didn’t want to move.  I wanted to try and make it work.  I remembered that I saw a couple of other sketchers turn their sketchbooks at a 45 degree angle so that they could capture the as much of the horizontal and vertical views as possible.  Here’s my attempt.

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Mohammed sketching Jesus

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Urban Sketching

April 11, 2014 – UC Berkeley.  Here is another lunch time sketch from the Cal campus.  The Campanile (Sather Tower) is synonymous with UC Berkeley and it’s effort to constantly push the envelope and strive for excellence in academia.  If you’re in the area tomorrow (April 12th), come and visit the campus on Cal Day and get a free view from the top of the tower.

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The Campanile is free on Cal Day 2014

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Urban Sketching

Sometimes the best urban sketch is right in your own backyard, or neighborhood park.  For me, this is Terrace Park, now known as Jewel’s Terrace Park in honor of Jewel Okawachi, a dedicated mother, board member and leader in the Albany community.

These homes sit on the eastern edge of the park.  On any given sunny afternoon, one can enjoy the color, textures and shadows of their exteriors along the fence.  As my son rode his bike round and around the park path, and played with kids who came in an out of the frame, I felt at ease, as if I was in my own back yard.

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The Homes of Jewel’s Terrace Park – Albany, CA

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Architecture and Urban Planning, Urban Sketching

I have to admit, I was both excited and nervous about sketching this famous UC landmark.  I didn’t feel worthy.  Sather Gate was built in 1910 in memory of Peder Sather, a benefactor of the University.  If it could speak, I imagine it could recall the events of the Free Speech Movement, the songs of graduates passing underneath it and the director’s yelling “Cut!” from the movies filmed under its arches.

Sather Gate Sketch

 

Sather Gate and Sketchbook

I don’t always pass by it as I walk though the campus, but when I do, I have to pause and study it.  On this particular occasion, it was the end of Spring Break and no students were around, not that it mattered to me.  😉  I hope to sketch it again from a different perspective.  I often wonder if they know what a true rite of passage they’re experiencing while attending the University.  When the students walk through it, taking their selfies in front of it, observing its awkward copper corrosion from the corner of their eyes, are they truly aware of it.

Sather Gate

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Architecture and Urban Planning, Urban Sketching

The College of Chemistry is close to my office and has an inner elevated courtyard that offers a secluded vantage point from which one can see and hear all the activity below while remaining virtually unnoticed. It was mid-term week and the students were hurrying in and out of the buildings to study groups, cafes and more classes. I overheard bits of conversations that represented the social mosaic of student life. One girl cried out, ”I’m so not prepared for this test.” Another, whom I could not see, but could discern that he was on his phone, was making plans for a week of partying on the beach. There were also several conversations in Spanish, Mandarin and Russian.

College of Chemistry

Berkeley Means Chemistry

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Art General, Urban Sketching

South Hall Road, Univ. of California, Berkeley – March 18, 2014. I tried to find a place that allowed me to sketch the campus tower and the students at the same time.  The long cement bench facing South Hall Road was a good compromise.  I was able to get the lower half of the tower and Le Conte Hall as well as a sprinkling of students reading, studying and conversing in the mid-day sun.

 

South Hall Road and Campanile

South Hall Road

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