Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Book Club of California

The calmest place we have ever sketched! And right in the middle of downtown San Francisco. The quote by Sven Birkerts that is painted above the bookcases: To shut the book and step into the day is to make one kind of passage, and to pull away from the day to enter the book is to make quite another.— Cathy McAuliffe

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Peace of Mind at a One Hundred Year Old Book Club

If you have a love of real paper books you might consider visiting the California Book Club of California. It is the most peaceful place in all of downtown San Francisco. -- Vivian Aldridge

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Rocket Man

"The Eagle has landed"

Another sketch from our Friday night outing to Oakland's Chabot Space and Science Center. This is an empty astronaut's suit from the Apollo 11 mission. You can slip into it from the back, poke your head into the helmet and have the ubiquitous photo opp.

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the Moon . . . Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the lunar module, Eagle on July 20, 1969. 

--Susan Ford

Monday, January 8, 2018

BIG Telescope

As Vivian posted, we went to the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland. Great place! I too spent the whole time with the telescope and the volunteer astronomers who kindly answered all our questions. Volunteer George had the best outfit, much of the solar system on his tie! We will be back on a clear night to see the telescope in action. — Cathy McAuliffe

It was a foggy night so I used my Scientific problem-solving to dry our sketches:

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Observing Rachel

Met fellow sketchers at the Chabot Space and Science Center on a rainy winters night. Spent most of my time in the observatory sketching a telescope lovingly nicknamed “Rachel.” Believe it or not, she was commissioned in 1914 and is still used today!
— Vivian Aldridge

Monday, January 1, 2018

Resilience in 2017

For many 2017 was one tough year and yet we are given the opportunity to see the
resilience of the human spirit.  This is a sketch I made of a display I found at the Windsor Town Green in Northern California. This display was to give thanks to the fire fighters that fought the Atlas fire in Sonoma County.  -- Vivian Aldridge

Monday, December 18, 2017

Pollinator Procession

Pollinator Procession in Oakland brought to you by Extinction Awareness, Giant Puppets Save The World and Pollinator Posse. Wonderful and colorful gathering at Lake Merritt and Lake Merritt Gardens to celebrate pollinators and raise awareness of how much we depend on them for the food we eat. — Cathy McAuliffe

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

4th street holiday light show!

I admire my fellow-sketchers for night-time sketching with paper, pen and watercolors! I'm afraid I didn't feel up to that challenge and "painted" on my iPad instead. Starting with a dark background, all I had to do was put in the light. So, it feels like cheating but it's fun and it's easier to be loose with it as you're not "wasting" paper no matter what you do!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Holiday Sketching Tradition

We always go to Fourth Street in Berkeley to sketch the holiday lights. It seems that there are more each year! — Cathy McAuliffe

Friday, December 8, 2017

Holiday Lights on 4th Street in Berkeley

Every year that I go to 4th Street in Berkeley I see more and more lights. Next time
I am bringing sunglasses. Happy Holidays! --- Vivian Aldridge

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Crab Catcher

Over Thanksgiving I visited Ukiah (northern California) and was taken to a place that sells
 live crab out of a tent. Because I am such a city girl I was quite enthralled by the whole
 experience. Those crabs were fighting mad, and the gal had to use big rubber gloves so she
 would not get bitten. Despite the carnage that crab was the best I have ever eaten --Vivian Aldridge

Monday, November 27, 2017

Public Night on Fourth Street, Berkeley

Thursday, December 7th, 2017
6:30 - 8:30 pm
4th Street lights in Berkeley
Fourth Street & Hearst, Berkeley

Meet at 6:30 near the Apple Store, and we’ll agree upon a place to meet at 8:30 to share sketchbooks

Check for bus schedules. Otherwise, parking is pretty easy in the evening.

Fourth Street at this time of year is festooned with lights of all kinds—wound around the tree trunks, draped across the street, in many shapes hanging from the branches—capture the glow and fun of the holiday mood! Store fronts have interesting displays, and sometimes there are musicians playing on the street near Peet’s (they could always use a tip!).

There are a number of places to eat, Tacubaya is one of our favorites, and is a relaxed place to be inside, eat, and sketch if it happens to be inclement weather outside. Zut! which is charming with trendy Mediterranean food is sorta reasonable if you share, and has lots of people and a bar to sketch. 

See you there!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Urban Sketching at an Urban Farm

At the corner of two very busy streets in Albany California is the UC Gill Tract Community Farm. We sketched at the farm last week. It is the end of the season for many of the crops but there was still alot to draw. The land has been used for agricultural research by UC Berkeley since the 1930s. Today volunteers are striving to establish a community-managed food system centered around local, organic, agro-ecological farming practices. – Cathy McAuliffe

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

UC Gill Tract Community Farm

According to the website:   “Occupy the Farm, a movement to “take back” the land under development at the Gill Tract and establish a community farm, began in April 2012.   During this three-week encampment with over 200 activists, 15,000 seedlings were planted.  As of 2015, approximately 18,500 pounds of produce was grown and distributed to the surrounding community.”

I sat down in the medicinal garden circle and drew sections of a Fire Wheel Bush used medicinally and to attract hummingbirds and the Wild Dagga Lion's Tail plant, usage sacred.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Steep Coffee Shop

Hopland is one of those towns tourists pass through on their way to Mendocino, Ashland, or some other popular destination. But the small town is worthy of a day trip in its own right. Don’t miss the new Italian restaurant Piazza De Campovida that has been garnering great reviews. There’s also the perennial favorite Blue Bird Cafe, wine tasting rooms, and this delightful coffee shop, Steep. If that's not enough to pique your interest, there's Real Goods, the original purveyor of off-the-grid living supplies since 1978.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Public Night at Whole Foods

...the vegetables and fruits were very good models. I wanted to keep it short and loose so I used watercolor pencils and a waterbrush, and gave myself no more than 20 minutes per sketch.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Día de los Muertos Festival

Sunday was The Unity Council Día de Los Muertos Festival in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood.
This was the 22nd year of this festival which included altar artistic installations created by community members paying homage to los muertos. As well as live music, Ballet folklorico and Aztec dancers. There were sugar skulls and faces painted to look like skulls. Marigolds were everywhere, bright yellow-orange to guide spirits of loved ones to the celebration. – Cathy McAuliffe

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Flowerland - Unseasonably warm afternoon

Cape Rush in mustardy colored pots

Day of the Dead Marigold

Flowerland Nursery

Another beautiful afternoon sketching at Flowerland in Albany. Everywhere you look there are beautiful things to sketch. And the staff is very welcoming to our sketch group1 Perfect. — Cathy McAuliffe

Friday, October 27, 2017

Flowerland Nursery, Albany

Watercolor, InkJoy pens, white and grape colored pencils, brush pen

How do I define "heavenly"? 
A warm, sunny late October afternoon at Flowerland Nursery, 
sipping iced Highwire Coffee from the onsite Airstream cantina, 
admiring the colorful plants, pots and outdoor furniture,
chatting with fellow Urban Sketchers,
sketching a succulent bowl.
Thank you, Flowerland Nursery for the opportunity. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Return to Orcas by Sonia Tamez

I've been going back to Orcas Island, WA for about twenty years. The ferry carries me away from the urban tempos to a slower heartbeat. Thank you Moran State Park, San Juan Land Trust, Warm Valley Farm, Warm Valley Orchard, Girl Meets Dirt, and others who welcomed me to sketch and paint. Here are some of my sketches from my stay.
Ferry view below.

Moran State Park above.
East Sound hydrant.
Warm Valley Farm apple tree and strutting turkeys below.

The Warm Valley Orchard Truck carries an amazing variety of goods for the body and soul.  

I love Warm Valley Orchard's sheep and they love munching grape leaves (Thanks M).
Girl Meets Dirt transforms the bounty of Orcas orchards into jams and other  delicious items. Preserving Orcas  heritage fruit, one jar at a time! Thanks for letting me sketch there!