Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Glasgow Summer Sketches

During my short visit to Glasgow, Scotland I would stroll (sketchbook in hand) everyday from my hotel on the edge of Kelvingrove Park to explore Glasgow. I became acquainted with the stunning historic architecture, the museums brimming with varied collections, the extensive green spaces, and inspiring art. And I appreciated the warm hospitably of the Glaswegians I met; as the local signs say, "People Make Glasgow".   

Yes, it is an Elvis statue at the Kelvingrove.
The statue of the Duke of Wellington often has an orange traffic cone on his head.

The Kibble Palace in the Glasgow Botanic Garden.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Like Botany on Mars: Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek

Agave americana v. medio-picta
In the 1950's, Ruth Bancroft began creating a garden of succulents and other drought-tolerant plants that store water in their leaves and stems. Today, her creation is one of the oldest dry gardens in North America and an inspiration for botanists, water conservationists and gardeners.

Every July, the garden becomes an outdoor art gallery where sculptures complement and contrast the plants.

Read about centenarian Ruth Bancroft and the history of her garden here:

'A Moment of Zen', manzanita wood, ceramic and steel

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Ruth Bancroft Garden Menagerie

Swimming fish, metallic spiders and other critters clustered underneath the Blue Oak.
Down the path were the sculptural cacti. Please see previous sketches.

Summertime in Mendocino County

Visiting a favorite nursery
Watching the grapevines grow through the deer-proof netting
Snoozin' in a hammock on a deck under the redwoods

Oils versus Watercolors in Crockett

Attended an enjoyable Randy Sexton oil painting demo in Crockett recently. Compared to watercolor, how different oil painting appears to be . . .  add a dark paint or a light paint whenever and wherever you wish! Don't like it? Scrape it right off! I wandered the streets of Crockett longing to butter a canvas with oils!

Watercolor painting, on the other hand, demands a progression from light to dark. My every daub is visible for all eternity! BUT watercolors are also compact and lightweight and I carry my watercolor satchel everywhere, even on four-mile hikes! I'm sticking with watercolor. (I can still try oil paints at home, right?)

Evening Scenes From Edible Schoolyard

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Edible Schoolyard, Berkeley

"In the spring of 1995, an abandoned lot adjacent to King Middle School was designated as the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley garden site. Landscape architects, chefs, gardeners, and teachers were invited to share their vision of a garden where students would participate in hands-on learning. Nineteen years later, the acre of land is lush with seasonal vegetables, herbs, vines, berries, flowers, and fruit trees. Teachers and the garden staff work together to link garden experiences with students’ science and humanities lessons for truly integrated experiential learning."  (From the website http://edibleschoolyard.org/Berkeley)

Masses of dahlias in the summer evening light

Artichokes in the garden

Drawing of the outdoor kitchen from 2014

Another view in Autumn 2013

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ruth Bancroft Garden

We spent a balmy summer night in suburbia at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek.  In 1972, at the age of 64, Ms. Bancroft started her dry garden, amassing a dramatic collection--agaves,  aloes, yuccas, cacti--over the years.  Her garden was the first preservation project of the organization which would become the Garden Conservancy and was opened to the public in the 1990s.  Last week, they were organizing for their annual Blues, Beer and BBQ Event, part of the 2015 Sculpture in the Garden exhibit.

Two statues amidst the large plants (with a photo of Ms. Bancroft gardening)

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Champions for Humanity Statues

A magnificent sculpture installation in downtown Oakland, near 19th and Telegraph:  "Remember Them:  25 Champions for Humanity."  Sculptor Matio Chiodo conceived his works in response to events on 9/11, wanting to remind viewers of all the good in the world.  The scale of his work is so striking and the sketching possibilities so wonderful that we decided to return for our First Thursday Sketch Night on August 6th.

Micaela sketching next to two of the four large installations.

Judith sketching the sculpted heads in relief against low wall surrounding the plaza.

Sketching like Mr. Turner

I went to the deYoung Museum show J.M.W. Turner-Painting Set Free with the SF Sketchers group. I made pencil sketches in the show of some of the watercolors and one oil.

Outside I added colors that I had noted on the sketches. Then came the challenge, we tried to paint the garden of the museum like Turner would have painted it. Not so easy!

After these attempts I went back through the show with a new appreciation of Turner's work and saw the same paintings quite differently! It was a great way to really "see" the show.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Fun and Funky Crockett, CA

Crockett's main drag, view from deli, ink and watercolor 10x8 in
Inspired by a wonderful urban plein air painting workshop and demo by one of my favorite artists, Randy Sexton, I sketched the main street in the funky little town of Crockett that houses his studio, Epperson Gallery and a tattoo parlor. Randy is one of the nicest gentlemen I've ever met, as well as a highly skilled and talented painter, and a gifted teacher. (More on JanasJournal.com)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Summertime at the County Fair

All the right things: corn dogs, cotton candy, giant lemons, carnival rides and games, and the 4H. At The Sdan Mateo County Fair!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Good By Oscar's

Oscar's served so many Berkeley students over the years., including friends. I'm glad we could  pay respect to this local landmark by sketching it before it is gone. Please see other sketches in this blog and on Facebook.

Oscar"s Since 1950

We did burgers and sketches last night at Oscar's. See Micaela's post below.