Allen's Zoo


Travel Sketching

AG

I had 15 minutes to sketch before the library opened.



Managerial Material

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I was sketching employees (middle management?) at a now familiar place for me.



Dawn of the Raccoon 

beautifulmorning copy

I painted this during my usual crazy early hour of the morning walk. You can see that it was pretty dark. After sitting there awhile, I heard a kind of purring sound. It reminded me of the sound that dinosaur made in Jurassic Park before it attacked Newman. I didn’t move at first, then I turned and clearly saw a raccoon standing up looking at me not three yards away, and another scampering away. I said softly, “It’s okay.” I said it not only to calm the raccoon… but also to calm myself. Then I turned and deliberately walked away.



Asserting Control with the Killer Elbow
August 17, 2015, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Photo's, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

At the same bus stop I talked to a cute little girl only a week earlier, I had an experience as different as you possibly have. As I rode up on my bike, I noticed a guy standing off to the side of the bus stop, his bike on the ground. Someone else obviously not alright was sitting in the bus stop on the bench. He didn’t acknowledge anyone and had dirty, worn clothes. Not long after I sat down I smelled a cigarette. He’d lit a cigarette butt he had. I got up and moved just out of range from the smell. The guy off to the side said, “Schizophrenic. That’s not right he smokes there.” “Mmm,” I acknowledged. I got out my sketchbook and began drawing. He said, “I draw, too”. “Oh?”, I said. He said, “Yes, in prison”. He began telling me how a lot of people drew there. It brought to mind once during life drawing in college, one of the models mentioned just that. I was going to tell him…I stopped myself. He started to explain how he survived being in, “The most dangerous prisons in the world. California prisons.” While he was explaining this he moved in front of me and started telling me how he keeps himself in shape. He went on to say how he killed someone in prison with his elbow. He lifted his arm up to show his elbow. I have to admit, it looked dangerous. He continued to say how he was better than me (and others) because he controlled his surroundings. He then went back to his original spot. A guy with sunglasses on walked up and asked me the time. After telling him he walked around to the back of the bus stop. “The killer” continued talking. He told me how he occasionally likes to come to this area he calls, “Whiteland.” Then I noticed “the killer” had gone from my peripheral vision. After a while I heard something in back of me…in back of the bus stop. It wasn’t loud, it was barely above a whisper. Then “the killer” and the guy in sunglasses came out from behind the bus stop. The guy in sunglasses was half-yelling and half-pleading for “the killer” to leave him alone and stop talking shit. This went on for a while. Then “the killer” came back to the bus stop near me and leaned on one of the pillars of the bus stop looking over to the far side past the bus stop. After a while he started calling to the sunglass guy who was there, “a faggot!” Every few moments he would yell, “Faggot!” Then after a while he stopped and moved back to his spot on the side. I actually thought, I’d prefer he was talking (or yelling) where I could see him. It seemed less ominous. During all this, I was sketching. My bus arrived. I was gone. The experience brought to mind something a friend said about the possible hazards of bus travel a couple of weeks before.

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Taken from my balcony yesterday around 5 something am.



Sketching Around Town

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On the promenade…
Maybe I should explain this sketch done below on the promenade yesterday. A family slowly gathered near the palm tree I was shading. A little girl of around 4 or 5 years from the family took interest in what I was doing. Shortly after her sister came over and they wanted to join in, asking for pencils which explains the inverted name the guy is calling. Which coincidentally is exactly what happened that moment, as the family was going.

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While traveling you can learn a lot from kids and dogs
July 27, 2015, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Photo's, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve been riding a bike and the town’s shuttle bus quite a bit lately. Yesterday I rode my bike to the bus stop and sat down. Invariably, there’s a mom with a little girl at the bus stop or on the bus who starts a conversation with me. She whispered loudly to her mom, “Why isn’t he talking?” Such are the beginnings of conversation. The talk evolved to, “My grandmother’s name is Shelly.” “Her last name?” I asked. “Yes,” she said. I said, “Oh. Do you have a great, great, great-grandmother who wrote a book called Frankenstein?” No response to that question. Then she showed me illustrations on her lunchbox. She asked if I knew who it was. “Minnie,” I said. I asked her if she knew who Minnie’s boyfriend was, she did. I noticed her last name written on the bottom of the lunchbox with marker. “McQueen…that’s your last name?” I asked. “Yes,” she said. I asked her if she had a great, great-grandfather who’s first name was Steve? Her mom started laughing before I got halfway through saying it. The girl asked what bus I was going to take. I said, “A red and green one. Here it is now.” We said our goodbyes.

I put the bike on, got on the bus, and sat down. The bus just started to move when someone said, “Wait! People across the street.” They were waving to get the drivers attention. The driver stopped. There’s a big family, seven children including a child of about five with moms’ standing at the edge of a sidewalk on a very busy four-lane street. They aren’t going to…before I could finish that thought, sure enough they all ran across the street. “Dangerous,” I said. The bus driver said, “Don’t try this at home, kids,” as they got on. They had been to the McDonald’s across the street and had drinks from there. She warned them if one of them spilled, they all had to go. They became quite vocal as we started moving. I noticed the five year-old girl sitting in the window seat next to her mother kept looking back at me. During the twenty-minute ride, her mother took three photos of the girl from her phone. Each time, her daughter dutifully affected a smile. As we neared my stop, one of the women in the group sitting in the seat in front of mom turned around and started talking with her. The mother was telling her about when they walked her dog, it would only bark at the men and not women. “I wonder why?” the woman said, with an acknowledging look. I had realized then the girl’s looks. There…she looked again, half-hiding behind her mother. I remembered a documentary I watched a while ago. Nova’s Decoding Dogs/ Understanding the Human Dog Relationship. The documentary explained how dogs were very adept at reading unconscious visual and verbal cues given by their owners and would thus react. The documentary shows interviews later with dogs beside their owners. The owners spoke of their dogs’ amazing ability to know exactly what was on their owners’ minds. I saw my stop coming up. I was glad to be home…and safe.

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In SF
April 24, 2015, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Photo's | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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via Russian Hill

During my travels in San Francisco I climbed Russian Hill. I took these photos below there. Upon taking them I sat on a ledge of a planter that had a hedge in it before heading down again. While leaving I realized my day planner was gone. I then remembered I used it as a cushion on the ledge. Within an hour of realizing this my daughter received a message on her phone. On her phone the message and the accent indicated they were from Alabama. They said they found my planner on the ledge and hid it in the hedge where only I could find it. I found it the next day. I was not only thankful but also impressed with their integrity and resourcefulness. I still don’t know how they found my daughter’s phone number.

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