My California Adventure

Hi everybody!

As I had mentioned last Monday, I was out of town most of last week for the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in San Diego. While I was there, I presented a paper on 17th-century Dutch dentistry scenes (seriously, this was the topic of my Master's qualifying paper. I'll post about it here sometime). I also listened to many other intriguing papers about Renaissance art, literature, and thought, and of course made time for exploring and sketching around San Diego. Today I'll share with you some of the pictures I took and drawings I made.

I arrived in San Diego on Tuesday night. Since the conference didn't start until Thursday, I spent Wednesday exploring the waterfront and Balboa Park.

Sea dragon sculpture on the waterfront, near the U.S.S. Midway.

The Star of India

Across from Balboa Park is a desert garden. All the plants here reminded me of Dr. Seuss's illustrations.

Exploring Balboa Park.

The tower and dome to the Museum of Man, Balboa Park.

On Thursday and Friday I was inside a hotel attending paper sessions, but during the evenings I enjoyed walking along the waterfront.

Different period ship, not the Star of India.

The U.S.S. Midway

San Diego by night, seen from a pedestrian footbridge.

The Gaslamp Quarter by night. This was the part of town where I stayed.

On Saturday, my last day in the city, I decided to go on an adventure and visited the San Diego Zoo:

A red panda. You can't see the face too well here, but I assure you that it's adorable.

This unusual-looking creature is a tree kangaroo, a highly endangered species.

I can't remember what species of parrot this is.

I also had my sketchbook with me, and took plenty of sketches. I don't know whether any of these will ever be used in a finished print, but sketching animals in action is always an excellent exercise. Here are a few of them:

I've always liked giraffes.

This panther paced constantly.

I find elephant faces make for especially emotive drawings.

I almost never get this amount of completion in an animal sketch, but this sleeping rhino let me linger.

All in all, it was a fabulous trip, and I'm really glad that I had the chance to go. Huzzah!


  1. I remember that Desert Garden from the time I visited San Diego a few years back. Since I've mostly lived in the East, it was pretty otherworldly. Beautiful.

    The sketches look pretty great. You really should do something with that rhino.

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  3. Thanks! I was admittedly thinking of Durer and his famous rhino when I decided to sketch it, but the skin folds also reminded me of Netherlandish drapery (probably because I'd been listening to renaissance-themed papers for two days). I'll definitely consider your suggestion of doing something more with it.


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