Saturday, February 6, 2016

Rockridge Bart Station

On a rainy day, it was good to have a little shelter when sketching at my local BART station.

Alviso and Alviso Slough

I made my yearly trek to Alviso two weeks ago fro some plein air/urban sketching. This small community in San Jose   reflects the passage of time with its historic cannery industry established in 1906 and the slough itself which was part of the shipping activities from the 1800's. The cannery has the remains of painted images of the people who lived and worked in the area, including Ohlone Coastanoan Indians (signed by Hollis Krob), and those who appear to be of Asian and European descent. Sketches from my previous trip can be found in my May 2014 post. 
There are small contemporary portals on many of the hiking trails. I'll be returning to sketch again. I'm also looking into the increasing high tech related development in Alviso and the implications for the protection of the architectural and natural resources and the well-being of Alviso's community. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Super? Bowl 50

The Super Bowl 50 is being played in San Francisco. Well actually it is being played in Levi Stadium the home of the San Francisco 49ers and it is located 40 miles south of SF. So the Super Bowl is not actually in SF but the fans coming to the Super Bowl are. So to keep everyone busy leading up to the game they have built something called Super Bowl City near the Ferry Building in SF. It is billed as: free-to-the-public fan village designed to celebrate the milestone Super Bowl 50 and to highlight its unique place in the Bay Area. What they do not say is that it blocks off a large area of downtown and necessitates re-routing of many bus lines and pretty much make a mess of driving in the city for 3 weeks. I went there as it was being setup and decided I would not need to return when it opened. There are golden 50 signs everywhere. (This is the first time that the game number is not in Roman numerals, Super Bowl L just didn't have the same ring to it!)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thanks Berkeley Hort

Berkeley Horticultural Nursery a community gem! Thanks for all the years of beautiful plants, wonderful staff and great advice. Always a pleasure to shop here or just walk through. And thanks for having the sketchers in the nursery.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Berkeley Horticultural Nursery

Family owned and run since 1922, Berkeley Hort is a community institution.  I've bought countless plants and a pile of gardening supplies there over the years--as well as asking countless questions of the knowledgeable staff.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Trader Vic's-a 60's experience

I love going to Trader Vic's, it represents for me a plunge into the days when hand-crafted art was collected as odd and intriguing keepsakes. This place has wonderful things in every corner.

Trader Vic's

Woman enjoying several tropical drinks...
Fish sculpture hanging from ceiling

Friday, January 22, 2016

Trader Vic's, Emeryville

Trader Vic's is a tiki-filled outpost of south seas decor and island-style cuisine on the San Francisco Bay.  The establishment began in 1934 as "Hinky Dink's" on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland but was transformed into a tropical hotspot after the owner's trip to Cuba.  When we sketched there last week, Judith's drink had an umbrella in it--and Ken's sported a parrot!

Our neighbors in the bar were sipping from the same huge drink through three individual straws.

Part of the great collection of masks in the back rooms.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Drake's Three

I loved Drake's! The atmosphere, the food*,  and the fact that they are part of revitalizing Oakland and adaptively reusing a historic part of Oakland's Auto Row . (*My husband enjoyed the Amber Draft). Please see previous sketches of Drake's.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Chateau Montelena WIne Tasting

In honor of Alan Rickman, here's a sketch from my new book “Impressions of Wine Country.” Aside from his role in the popular Harry Potter series, Rickman starred in countless other films. One of my favorites is his turn as British wine merchant Steven Spurrier in "Bottle Shock." The film captures a pivotal moment in California wine's history, as it transitioned from a serviceable bulk product to its current status as a serious contender in today's world of wine. It was Spurrier (played in the film by Rickman), who organized the blind tasting of 1976 that has come to be known as the "Judgment of Paris.” Though the screenplay is not historically accurate, the story is fun, and of course, Alan Rickman’s performance makes it all worth while.
I drew this sketch in the Sun Room at Chateau Montelena, while tasting their Chardonnay, Cabernets, and newly released Riesling. If you haven't yet been to the winery, I highly recommend a visit, as its estate is as gorgeous as are its wines.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Lace and other textiles at Lacis

Lacis in Berkeley is a place I have driven by thousands of times and never gone in. What a mistake! Today we had a great time sketching in the store and museum. See Ceiny's post below for more sketches and information. And do go in to see all tht they have in this amazing place.

Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles

To raise the $1,500 she needed to emigrate to the US from post-war Germany, Kaethe Kliot feverishly knitted large lace doilies and sold them to American soldiers to bring home to their families.  Years later, in 1965, Kaethe and her husband, Jules, founded the Lacis Retail Store in Berkeley as a haven for all involved in the textile arts.  The store grew to over five times its original size and in 2004 merged with the Kliots' extensive collection of lace and textiles to form a museum representing 40 years of dedication to the preservation of the finest of human handiwork.  Thanks to Erin and the staff for a warm introduction to all the beauties of Lacis.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Petaluma History Museum

Today was rainy and cold but I still managed to squeak out one sketch while sitting out front of Acre Coffee in Petaluma. Despite what the carved pediment designates, this building is now used as a history museum.

Drake's Dealership, too

Old signage and diners on the outdoor patio
Dog and patrons at one of the fire pits 
I try to be playful, keep it loose and not be too self-judgmental when I sketch. Not always so easy.

Been thinking a lot about Richard Diebenkorn and his inspiring use of the sketchbook, which he called a "portable studio."

Twenty-nine Diebenkorn sketchbooks are on display at the Cantor Museum. They span 50 years and contain 1,045 studies, scribbles, compositions and bold explorations for his own use and enjoyment. All the sketchbooks are digitized and you can view every single page at the link below:

Drake's Dealership, Oakland

USK SF East Bay public sketching night at a new beer garden on Broadway Auto Row in downtown Oakland:  Drake's Dealership, a renovated car parts and service place.  Fire pits, old signage, many lively rooms full of happy eaters and drinkers.  These two sketches were done under the influence of 1/2 of a "Foraging Racoon" beer.  Lots of fun.

Family playing cards and eating pizza in the back room

Near the entrance, waiting for people to arrive, maitre d' in foreground

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Chris Amberger and Friends

I don’t think there's a better way to break in a brand new sketchbook than going out and listening to some Jazz. Once a month the Cloverdale Arts Alliance presents The Jazz Club. Tonight was Chris Amberger and Friends playing classic and chamber jazz with intricate solos and duets. Members of the group have played with Tom Dorsey, Richie Havens Show, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Glen Miller Orchestra, Frank Sinatra, BB King, and Ray Charles. What a great evening of art and jazz. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Holiday Tomale Making

When we worked together my friend Xochi always had stories of her family's tamale making. It sounded nothing like my Irish family traditions! This year I invited myself over for a little tamale making and tamale sketching. Thank you Flores family for the day and for the tamales!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

January 7: First Thursday of 2016 Sketch Night

Join us Thursday January 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 at
Drake's Dealership Brewery
2325 Broadway Auto Row

This classic brick building on Oakland’s historic Broadway Auto Row was once the parts and service department of an old Dodge dealership. Enjoy a wood-fired pizza and sample their fresh beer brewed right here in the East Bay.

Tucked into an alley off Broadway and 23rd Street, Drake’s Dealership is a full- service wood-fired pizza restaurant with 32 beers on tap and a Drake’s brewery store with growler station. The crown jewel of the beautiful space is the grand open-air beer garden featuring fire pits, Adirondack seating and a live music stage.

Drakes is located between 23rd and 24th Street, 4 blocks from 19th Street BART

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Merry-Go-Round

Each year the Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round is decorated for the holidays and open at night. The park is dark, dark, dark and the Merry-Go-Round is lit up like a jewel box! (See Ceiny's sketches in the next post.)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round

At 103 years old, the historic carrousel in Tilden Park is under new management this year.  Still lit up and open late for the holidays--filled with excited kids and hungry teenagers.

San Franciscno Flower Mart

Most of the vendors were selling garlands and wreaths this time of the year. And I mean MILES of garland and HUNDREDS of wreaths! But even in December there were still buckets of beautiful and colorful flowers.