Jose Theater is now the home of San Jose Improv. The original theater was built in 1904, but I have no idea how old this neon sign is…
And step away, down the same street is the sign for Zanotto’s Family Markets.
I photographed this piece as I worked on it. Initially, I wanted to go right to watercolor with this one, but decided it was wise to add in a quick pencil underdrawing to make sure I didn’t misspell Zanotto’s as I painted in the shapes. With light colored lettering, I like working this way: as negative shapes and shadows that come together to form the letters.
Zanotto’s no longer operates at this location, and as I sketched, a lady passing by told me it was going to be gone soon, so I decided to do a super-quick piece that captured where this sign is located. It’s pretty amazing when you get two beautiful old signs in one sketch right at the heart of downtown San Jose.