Tuesday, January 17, 2017


The first of many protests in San Francisco this weekend to bring attention to proposed cuts in healthcare. Sketchers were well represented in the crowd, Ceiny Carney, Laurie Wigham, Diane Olivier though didn't know we were all there until I saw their posted sketches. – Cathy McAuliffe

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Rally at SF Civic Center

Gathering today in Civic Center Plaza in support of healthcare for all.  Listening to Rep. Nancy Pelosi speak and Joan Baez sing.  The most moving part of the event was hearing the powerful stories of Bay Area folks who are alive today because of Obamacare.  Signs in the crowd:  "Mom says "Hands off my Medicare!'", "Single payer now", and "Healthcare is a right, not a privilege!"


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Viks Chaat & Market (Three)

I enjoyed leaving the cold, wet,  grey day to enter into the warmth, colors, scents and tastes of Viks Chaat and Market. Here is a little sketch of part of the market. Please see Ceiny and Cathy's sketches and background info previously posted on this blog.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Viks Chaat and Market

On this rainy Tuesday we sketched at Viks Chaat and Market in Berkeley. It was filled with great aromas, interesting market, Bollywood music and a lunch crowd.

The building is an example of an unusual building system which consists of pre-cast concrete wall panels with translucent glass blocks set into the concrete in a pattern that created a lattice-work of diamond-shaped openings in a grid-pattern. They are referred to as “concrete grid forms.” This building system appears to have been developed around 1938 by George A. Scott at his 3075 Telegraph Avenue shop. There are many examples scattered around west Berkeley.
— Cathy McAuliffe

Vik's Chaat and Market, Berkeley

Procedure for this afternoon:  drink mango lassi, eat lamb samosa, sketch.

Vik's serves chaat (Indian street food) in a brightly colored warehouse in west Berkeley.  They explain on their website that "chaat" means "to lick" because traditionally these small dishes were "served on a leaf and were so tongue-tickling that one could not resist licking the last morsels from the leaf before discarding it."  Founded in 1989, Vik's has expanded twice to accomodate its growing clientele--and also has a small market space attached, which sells various spices and other Indian products.

Looking up from our table

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sketching in the Field(work)

What a wonderful place to sketch! I focused on the landscape of steel containers. Please see other sketches from Fieldwork on this blog.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sketching at Fieldwork

Cathy, my Urban Sketcher friend gave me this piece of brown paper saying it was "the color of beer."
Fieldwork Dude with bushy beard
Draft List - Canopy, Base Jump, Orchard Street

Rustic home in Ukiah

I spent the last two weeks in Ukiah helping my extended family cope with changes in their
mother's health. However, everyday I made sure to go for a long walk and I was enchanted 
by this little house nestled in a corner amongst more modern houses. As I stood in front sketching
this place a person walked by and asked me if the house was my 'fixer-upper.' Heh. I told them 
I liked it just the way it was. --Vivian Aldridge

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sketching at Fieldwork

Good turnout for our monthly sketch meeting. Fieldwork Brewing saved us tables near the vats and barrels so we had great views of that area and the activity.  Plus there were all the folks there on a Thursday night all accompanied by the Fieldwork beer selections! — Cathy McAuliffe

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Fieldwork Brewing Company

Founded in Berkeley in 2014, Fieldwork is a craft brewery with "a focus on exceptional, honest beer-making."  The word is definitely out as the place was packed on a Thursday night.  Our group had two tables reserved (Thanks, Barry!) so we could spread out and concentrate on painting the light reflecting off the stainless steel tanks and the various shades of amber and gold beers.  I concentrated on the people drinking that beer:  a cheerful and hip-looking crowd.  Great to see everyone who came, especially the first-time attendees.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Grounded Boat Revisited

Over the weekend, my sketch friend (Phil) and I headed out to the coast to sketch the boat that had run aground last summer. The boat has since moved further out from the beach and is now surrounded by incoming tides.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Flowerland for The Holidays

Besides being a great nursery, Flowerland on Solano Avenue in Albany is a wonderful store. It was filled with holiday items again this year. — Cathy McAuliffe

All Decked Out in Ukiah

I am spending the holidays as I do every year in Ukiah which is 114 miles north of San Francisco. Every day I go for a morning walk and pass by a familiar house that annually decorates their house with a zillion decorations. (I chose only to sketch a very few.) Last year many of the decorations were stolen so this year they put up a wire fence decorated with light bulbs. I did not touch the fence in case it was electrified. Heh. Happy Holidays! -- Vivian Aldridge

Monday, December 26, 2016

Flowerland Nursery and Store, Albany

Relaxing pre-holiday couple of hours on Solano Avenue in Albany, sitting on a sunny bench in front of the airstream-trailer-turned-coffee-bar at Flowerland Nursery.  Captured people and their dogs taking a break from plant and gift shopping.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Old Car, New Plates!!!

Hats Off!

Another fun sketch outing at Goorin Bros. Hats on College Avenue in Oakland. We sketched AND tried on many different styles. And Sonia left with another great hat! Thanks Goorin for having us.
— Cathy McAuliffe

Monday, December 19, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

More Hats

Loved the old-fashioned hats and the old-fashioned decor, including this chandelier, at Goorin Bros. on College Avenue in Berkeley.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hats Off to Goorin Bros

I love sketching at Goorin's our neighborhood hat store. The only downside is that I often cannot leave without buying a hat! Thank you for crafting such wonderful hats, creating intriguing displays and letting us sketch in the shop.
Please see other Goorin sketches in our blog.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Goorin Bros Hats

One of our favorite places to visit and sketch: Goorin Bros Hats on College Ave. Hats for big and small people, stylish, and everyday. They recently bought their own factory, after only 100 years or so!
Here are two versions of a sketch I did in the shop, the first one in the original sepia ink and the second one colorized electronically. Which one do you prefer?

I'm not sure, but think I like the sepia-only one best!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Farewell to Mama's?

Mama's is filled with memories and good food. We have been going to Mama's since graduate school! It has been the scene of reunions, strategizing, and just enjoying the food, napkin art competitions, and unique ambience.
Mama's history is reflected in the many layers of its past. You can see glimpses of its reputed Chinese Diner origins, with more recent glazings of diner collectables and kitsch. Now there are reports of a potential sale of Mama's so I wanted to go with our group to sketch before it goes. If it is sold, I hope that the new owners add to, maybe edit, but not obliterate the many faceted Mama's decor.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mama's Royal Cafe, Too

Huevos Rancheros lunch for Susan Ford
After 37 years, Mama's Royal Cafe in Oakland is closing.

The Urban Sketchers visited this Bay Area institution one more time and bid a sad farewell to the 1950s aprons and melamine teacup displays, the paper napkin art, the Huevos Rancheros!

While we were eating and sketching, one of the owners wandered about with a contractor, and in that moment, demise was palpable. If you love this place like we do, go NOW before you drive by one day and see an empty hole where Mama used to be! It's imminent and if you think someone's going to buy it and carry on Mama's fine and funky tradition, you misunderstand capitalism.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mama's Royal Cafe, Oakland

Lunch sketching today at the venerable Mama's Royal Cafe on 40th and Broadway, serving breakfast, brunch and lunch 7 days a week since 1974.  I think I have been a customer almost that long!  We hear it is being sold.  I hope the new owners keep the eclectic decor, including a large collection of radios, a wall of aprons-- and of course the display of "paper napkin art" from their annual contest.