Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Feathered Friends

This week we sketched at Your Basic Bird, an institution in the Elmwood district of Berkeley for decades.  While Claudia and the knowledgeable staff gave advice to customers and clipped the birds' toenails, we drew.  Birds are surprisingly good models!

Colored pencil

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Luther Burbank Home and Gardens

Luther Burbank Home and Gardens is a city park in Santa Rosa, California that contains the former home, greenhouse, gardens, and grave of noted American horticulturist Luther Burbank. Born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, he spent most of his life in Santa Rosa. It was here that he did most of his plant-breeding experiments. Plum trees, a common crop back in the early 1900’s, were one of his specialties and he introduced over 800 new variety of plants in his lifetime.
This was sketched last weekend with my sketch group Ready, Set, Sketch! I used Ink and watercolor in a hand-made sketchbook.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Seagulls visits plaza

This week's bird is a seagull which landed on the plaza of Cathedral of Christ the Light here in beautiful uptown Oakland.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Meeker Slough

California Poppies!
San Francisco and the Bay Bridge in the background.
The Bay Bridge and Treasure Island in the background.
One of my favorite places to sketch is Meeker Slough in Richmond. The juxtaposition of wetlands, other landscapes and cityscape in the far distance with the ever changing light continue to fascinate me. These sketches were done in April on successive Mondays. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Papa's Pizza Cafe

Last month, Papa's Pizza of Cloverdale, CA moved to a new location on the corner of Cloverdale Blvd and First St. The new cafe is beautifully decorated with stone walls and wood paneling. Adding to the fun, they've tapped many new microbrews such as Knee Deep Brewing's Breaking Bud, The Waldos' Special Ale, and Mojo Chocolate Milk Stout.They also have a nice selection of wine by the glass. But best of all, the pizza still tastes great, just like it always has.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

FLAX art store has moved to Oakland!

Yes! The new Oakland FLAX store is great. Fully stocked, easy parking, beautiful big building, great selection of items AND really, really good sales people. We sketched (and shopped) there yesterday. Stop by and see for yourself.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Chateau Montelena's Cabernet Vineyard in Calistoga

With the 40th anniversary of the Paris Tasting coming up next month I thought I’d post some of my sketches of Chateau Montelena. As the story goes, on May 24, 1976, a wine tasting took place in Paris that changed the world’s view of California wines forever. The 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. and the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay from California won first place in a blind tasting. I sketched this under a shady oak at the far end of the property looking back towards the Chateau. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Bone Room Sketches

Iguana - Get it While You Can!  Only $350..

Spider and Antlers

Evening at The Bone Room

There was lots to sketch at the Bone Room in Berkeley. Everything from skulls to moths and more. See Ceiny and Micaela's sketches below.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The amazing Bone Room

Always something wonderfully curious to be seen here! 

The Cane Toads were an all-over, even brown color, sort of like chocolate milk.
 Somehow, they looked a bit mean! Maybe the taxidermist saw them as a bad thing!

There were two skeletons, this one had an attractive coon hat! I tried sketching it in just one hour, a rather daunting task, and, I ran out of paper by the time I got to his feet. Shaded/colored in Photoshop.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Bone Room

A fixture in Berkeley for over 20 years, The Bone Room is closing its retail store but continuing to sell items on line.  We went to sketch during its final days on Solano Avenue.  Selling bones, fossils, insects and other natural history items, the store is more like a little museum.  As their website says, it's "a place to contemplate items that embody the intricacy, beauty and real wonder of nature."

The rough texture of the alligator skull is amazing.

Loved the Davy Crockett hat on the skeleton

All sorts of curiosities at the Bone Room

Friday, April 15, 2016

Whole Sketch at Whole Foods

Grocery stores are great places to sketch. Lots of subjects, from produce to shoppers. The shopping carts can be used as mobile easels and another plus is that you can get a little shopping done whole you sketch! We met at the Oakland Whole Foods for our monthly public sketch night. Besides having beautiful produce and floral departments the store has their parking lot on the roof so there are great places to sketch the surrounding neighborhood and some interesting views of the store from the top entrance.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Barnes & Noble

I’ve always loved the old Rosenberg’s Department Store building located at Fourth and D Streets in Santa Rosa. Built in 1936, the structure is the most significant example of the Streamline Moderne style and was the tallest building in the city. Santa Rosa's government approved demolition of the store in 1994, but it was subsequently saved when bookstore chain Barnes & Noble leased the space. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 29, 1994.

Today was a bit too cold and rainy for sketching but I stood under an awning to keep (mostly) dry.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sketching For The Birds

two of our sketchers Susan Ford and Carrie McClish were part of  an extremely-well-organized flashmob of bird lovers making chalk art at dawn on the sidewalks of downtown Oakland. The idea is to draw attention to downtown Oakland's Heron Colonies in the trees overhead.
Golden Gate Audubon  convened its second Eco-Art Flash Mob: Chalkin' it up to Compassion for Oakland's Herons! Bay Area artists, help us save Oakland's herons by showing up at 6:30 am (yes, dawn) in downtown Oakland to draw Black-Crowned Night Herons and Snowy Egrets all over an entire block of downtown right by where herons are actively nesting. The chalk art reminds the whole neighborhood to protect and help these remarkable birds raising their family in this urban setting.

Photos of the event can be seen here:

I'm not much of a chalk sketcher so I sketched the sketchers.

Friday, April 1, 2016

In and around the Cheese Board

This great collective, selling wonderful cheeses from around the world, and making yummy, creative veggie pizzas, attracts so many enthusiastic customers we looked for quiet spots to sketch.
Emelia's Flowers, right next to Cheese Board, has been selling flowers since 1995.

I've always loved this simple, elegant stairway entrance to Walnut Square, off Vine Street. The original Peets Coffee is still here, and in this view you can see Twig and Fig, which specializes in custom letterpress printing.

We ended the evening at Books Inc, where author Helen MacDonald was giving a reading and talk about her new book. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sketching in the Gourmet Ghetto

Two drawings done on North Shattuck Avenue near Vine Street in Berkeley, sitting in front of the Cheese Board Pizzeria.  The first is looking across the street to the huge monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) towering over Chez Panisse restaurant, which is just barely visible behind the trunk.  The tree produces huge cones, which are prone to falling off so must be carefully pruned periodically. 
The second sketch shows part of the long line that forms at lunch and dinnertime of people waiting to buy the delicious vegetarian pizza.  Cheese Board Pizza is part of the Cheese Board store and bakery next door, which was founded in 1967, sold to its employees in 197l, and run as a 100% worker owned collective ever since.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Small Wonder sketch

My sketch group got together yesterday (3/22/16) at the Small Wonder, a quaint cafe/bar on Grand Avenue in Oakland. The decor was colorful. My sketch was rather colorful too.