Riding West, Facing East

On the verge of comprehending that I may never see my students again this school year, I headed out toward Ocean Beach down Moraga Street.

The day was clear but extremely breezy. It normally takes 25 minutes to reach the sands of the Pacific but somehow, with my heavy mood and the western wind pushing again me, I think it really took 30 minutes.

I had done two recent sketches, facing west, looking out to the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, the Farallon Islands and container ships on the horizon.

Instead of doing that view, I turn 180 degree from whence I came and wanted to sketch Moraga Street, climbing up to Grandview Park and Sutro Tower.

This street (as all east/ west streets in the Richmond and Sunset Districts) is named after Spanish Explorer. José Joaquín Moraga  was part of the De Anza expedition force that came from Arizona to present day San Francisco in 1776. He stayed behind and helped to found the Presidio. In 1785, he died in San Francisco and is buried at Mission San Francisco de Asís (MissionDolores) which is the oldest structure in San Francisco.

Much of what I was drawing in the Outer Sunset was developed Post World War II, in the 1950s. In fact my day told me stories of coming out into this area when he was a child and playing amongst the sand dunes.

This was the second time I had sketched Sutro Tower on one of my “sanity walks”. It is the most prominent landmark on this side of town. The television tower was constructed in 1973 and at 977 feet, it was the tallest structure in San Francisco (Sutro has now been surpassed in height by the Salesforce Tower at 1,070 feet).

I plopped down behind a dune, on my Crazy Creek chair, and started to sketch. I tried to keep everything loose and not add too many details (sometimes I think I should have put the pen up five minutes earlier). I uses a lot of artist shorthand when sketching in the rows and rows of houses leading up the hill.

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