We parked at the Presidio near the Golden Gate and took off walking without a plan, which is unusual given that I married a man with a degree in planning! We lucked into a sunny day, not much wind, and nowhere we had to be. It was midweek so our companions were mostly professional dog walkers with their packs of pampered pooches, and honeymooning couples. It’s impossible to watch dogs running without feeling your spirits lift, and it was sweet taking photos at the couples’ requests.
Wandering along the waterfront led us to the Palace of Fine Arts, its gold dome gleaming above a construction site. I was amused by signs at the entrance warning against “agressive raccoons on the grounds” (I was picturing that toothy raccoon with the submachine gun slung over his shoulder from the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy”). No raccoons in sight, so we pushed on. Looking up, I was fascinated by the classical sculptures of women at the top corners of every building. They slumped over the edges, as if staring into empty wells…
I suppressed the urge to shout, “Don’t jump!” I found a bench and began sketching as Griff wandered in search of racoons. The closer I looked, the more I thought they might be talking on their cell phones… all of their faces were hidden, but all of their heads rested on one hand. I did some research once we got back to our AirBnB lodgings, and learned that these are known as the Weeping Women, created in 1915 to express “the Melancholy of Life Without Art”… so not cell phones after all! The sculptor certainly nailed the melancholy, but apparently he was also really good at sculpting buns. Turns out the same sculptor created the Golden Pioneer on Oregon’s capitol dome – I’ll have to remember to check out those pioneer buns the next time I’m in Salem!
We continued along the marina, up a hill, and down into Fisherman’s Wharf. Suddenly it was like we had fallen into a giant flea circus – so many people! So few restrooms! We spent the rest of the day in various cafes sketching and enjoying some intensive people watching. Also sea lion watching, which I didn’t sketch because a) the page was already full, and b) from my vantage point they just looked like monstrous floating cowpatties, sprawled motionless on their special little “reserved for sea lions” docks below the restaurant. I was pretty sure we had walked at least 5 miles, but it was probably only three-ish. Still, taking a taxi back to the car seemed like a good plan, and we could watch the city lights in comfort. Now I have dozens of photos, just begging to be turned into sketches and paintings… here are a couple more winery sketches from the week: