Monday, April 28, 2014

View from "Le Croissant"

When I first began working in Burlingame about 5 years ago, I would always pop into Calvin's cafe. It is now the last privately operated coffee shop on Burlingame Ave. and has held onto his business despite the introduction of a Starbucks, Pete's and finally, the La Boulange within a block of his shop, "Le Croissant". His method is that he is his business, he and his wife know the name of every customer, their kid's names, their grandkid's names, the family pets etc... He knows because he cares about people and represents the kind of mom and pop businesses that originally built the small town charm that is Burlingame, and countless other suburbs like it.
    Sadly, with property values surpassing the 2007 housing bubble level, rents have gone up, and in his case, the most recent one will likely be what closes his doors. And what will replace him? Another franchise? The city has made a good investment revitalizing the avenue and I believe this is a wise and lasting improvement. But what good will that do if the street ends up resembling an outdoor mall employing a revolving door of people who are not connected to the community in the way a small business owner is?
    Until then, stop by Calvin's while he is still here. He will know your favorite drink, where you work, what you do and offer his food and drinks at a more than fair price.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Carolands Gate House

Got some early  morning light out here at the Carolands Gatehouse in Hillsborough CA. I got to meet two of Hillsborough's finest as the site of a guy sitting on the roadside is unusual in this community. I painted with Emery Miller, a friend and fellow Petaluman Artist who finds himself working down on the peninsula.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Counter Sniper Operations

Here is a cut-away view of a typical Iraqi cinder block construction building which lines main supply routes through the city of Mosul. Inside a sniper has created a fireing position from the 3rd story, looking down through a curtain and out a 2nd story window. This position allows him to place fire at traffic moving up the route outside, without giving away his position as his muzzle flash would not be visible to counter snipers who might be in other buildings in the area.

A SEAL team that was working in our Area of Operations found this sniper in short time. they located him using the sound of his shots and eventually circled around behind him and neutralized him in his sniper hide.

Japanese Tea Garden

After getting indoors with this one, I can see the values of the darks are kind of all over the place. Once the sun moves, if you are no longer in the shade, painting on a digital tablet can be very difficult do to the glare, the only real drawback. Perhaps I will have to go with a more robust set up, umbrella, chair etc.. and do it right.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Burlingame Post Office - 94010

Got a 1 hour study of the Burlingame Post Office sketched out. Every time I look at this building, it serves as a reminder of how much times have changed. In most small towns, the Library, City Hall and Post Office are some of the nicer looking buildings and symbolize the might of the government and its ability to provide services at the local level.
Burlingame is a fine town and looks well kept in most regards, but the Post Office has fallen into a state of decay. Since I have lived in the area, I have watched the chipped and cracked exterior lose even more of its paint and the sewage has been leaking on the rear lawn facing Lorton street for a couple of years at least, resulting in a patch of lawn that stinks and can be unsanitary for kids to walk through.
The worst thing is the Colors that fly on the flag pole are tattered and wind whipped so that the ends of the stripes are frayed and separated. I think this has been replaced at least once, but not enough.
The interior has nice features and if restored would be quite nice, but the need for this large of a building has passed with so many of us using digital media.
I am sure the city or a private developer has eyes on the property, and I hope that it will continue to have some public space no matter what they do with it. Perhaps it can continue to honor the spirit of it's former use and let people have a patch of grass and some benches to enjoy the rest of what the town has to offer.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

sketch a day 38 Presidio

Really nice day in the Presidio. brought out the cintiq and did a plein aire looking over Crissy Field toward Alcatraz from the Presidio Promenade. For many reasons, this Park is my favorite place on Earth.

Friday, April 4, 2014

sketch a day 37

picked up a sketch i started yesterday, trying to create an interesting comp.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

sketch a day 34 - Ol' Muni Bus Yard at Dawn

Study of a photo I took of a sunrise over the Muni Bus Yard on Geary. The mornings there were incredible.