Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Lewiston Jazz at Cafe Leila, Berkeley

Lewiston Jazz played at Cafe Leila on a recent Saturday night: Cool jazz, tasty affordable organic food, family-friendly club, no corkage fee. Good times.

Water-soluble pen & water brush

Monday, October 5, 2015

It's Fall in Berkeley

The pumpkins and gourds have arrived at Whole Foods on Gilman. I loved the names of all the pumpkin variaties.

See Susan's pumkin sketches and halloween history in her posting below.

Pumpkin plethora, Whole Foods Market, Berkeley

The most profitable holiday in America began as a pagan holiday in Ireland.

To celebrate the end of the harvest and All Hallows Eve, Celtic farmers carved scary faces into turnips and potatoes and placed them in windows and doors to frighten away evil spirits. The British carved large beets for the same purpose.

Immigrants brought this tradition to the United States. The pumpkin proved to be a superior jack o'lantern (although a carved beet, oozing red juice, has its own morbid appeal).

Follow this video link for jack o'lantern history from The History Channel:

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Saul's and the Piano Player

Besides lots to draw and good food we also had music to sketch by! Thanks to the piano player who provided a great sound track to our sketching. I too missed the photos on the walls, especially the one of Katz Deli and their WW2 sign: Send a salami to your boy in the Army!

Yiddishkeit at Saul's Deli

don't be confused, it's a Jewish deli, not an Italian deli
Sketching edible window decorations or anything else at Saul's Restaurant & Deli in Berkeley is a fun pursuit. There's been a redecoration since my last visit with fresh paint and new light fixtures. Unfortunately, historical photographs that once decorated the walls are gone. I don't mean to kvetch but history never goes out of style, and Saul's lost some deli Yiddishkeit with the disappearance of those old photos. Live music is a nice addition: I enjoyed listening to the talented pianist playing jazz and pop standards while sketching and sipping an egg cream. Thanks, Saul's.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Folsom Street Fair 2015

Naked people, music, food, whipping, spanking and gawkers – where else but at San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair. This largest leather/fetish event in the world celebrates, well, you know what. May my drawings give you an idea of last weekend's open air craziness.

Oliver, your visual flaneur


From a week ago Thursday — my fellow sketchers at Saul's (well, one reader, one sketcher, really). Somehow I always take too much time to do the drawing and don't get to the coloring, so this is colored digitally.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Your Basic Bird, Too

I can't resist looking at birds, even birds in cages.
Their squawks were ear-shattering. Guess I'd squawk, too after twenty-three years in a cage. (Sorry, I didn't mean to end this blog post on a downer note, and no, don't ever invite me to the zoo.)

Friday, September 25, 2015

"Your Basic Bird" Shop on College Avenue, Oakland CA

Royce the Cockatoo apparently is expert at getting out of the cage

Various Bird Toys hanging on the wall


Owl Finches - so cute!
What fun hanging out in the bird store, my ex kept our Blue Fronted Amazon who used to come here when we were on vacation or to get his wings and nails clipped.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sketching at Filoli, Too

One of the mysteries of our August sketching trip to Filoli Estate: why did all the pumpkins sport lovely paper umbrellas? A little research reveals that shading the gourd slows the maturation process and the pumpkin can remain on the vine, hopefully, until Halloween.

In my neighborhood, holiday pumpkins rapidly succumb to mischievous squirrels with the munchies.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Rosie The Riveter

1,800 (unofficial count) women dressed as "Rosie the Riveter" in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record at Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. The current record was set last year when 776 Rosies and Rosie lookalikes gathered at the Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, MI.

Women of all ages donned blue coveralls, red socks, and red bandannas with white polka dots and gathered in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most Rosies in one place at one time since World War II. The event took place one day after the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender that marked the end of World War II. The Rosies are credited with empowering young girls and redefining a woman’s role in the workplace.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday @ Jack London Square

I managed to get outdoors today and drove to Farmers Market for a couple of hours. I found a sweet place to sketch behind two musicians. I could've been more comfortable with a chair instead of the cold, hard ground. Sometimes discomfort works. I rejected a couple of early sketches until I finally did these two. Each sketch has something I was satisfied with and wanted to keep.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sketching at Filoli

Located 30 miles south of San Francisco, Filoli is an historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century. Some of us participated in the Artist Days at Filoli Garden. These events are a wonderful opportunity to paint in the gardens after they are closed for the day. Not only are there no other visitors but the late afternoon light is perfect!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fairyland Rabbit, Fairyland Cards, Fairyland Mushroom

Fairyland Rabbit and Clock

Fairyland Musician on Mushroom

Fairyland Card People
Fun in Fairyland again this year, so meditative when kids aren't there.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Going Back to Fairyland


Thanks to C.J. Hirschfield (Executive Director) and Shannon Taylor (Director of Art & Restoration) for welcoming us back to Fairyland. Some of us are returning after childhood visits. (See previous posts). Some, like myself, are transported back to classic nursery stories come to life. After a few minutes, I am not working to get the picture "right"; I am playing with my sketchbook, pen and watercolors. Fairyland is a sketcher's dream. Fairyland is also a jewel among the treasures of Lake Merritt for everyone to visit (with a kid) and enjoy!

 The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland

Fairly Adult in Fairyland

Me three! Another view of The Lucky Dragon and a crooked house and Oswald the Bubble Elf. Second drawing is looking back toward the entrance with a sketcher under a tree. I first came to Fairyland when I was 4 years old and remember being very impressed with the water-fountain lion, who was much taller than I. He doesn't look so big any more (but he's a lot more colorful!). I hope to go back and sketch him next time.

Children's Fairyland, too

When I saw The Lucky Dragon framed by that wacky wall and doorway, I had to sit right down and make a sketch. I always struggle with perspective accuracy and this colorful, off-kilter entrance was so much more fun to draw! Lucky Dragon's eyes rotated left and right, left and right. Only in a quiet Fairyland devoid of children are you aware of how loudly Dragon eyes squeak as they move.

Fairyland revisited!

Who wouldn't want to re-visit Children's Fairyland in Oakland years later as an adult? Our sketching group got that chance August 20 after hours. Everything was, of course, smaller but I can remember how happy a place it is. Especially for someone about three-feet tall. There was Lucky the dragon with his fearless smile, Willie the whale, the little boot that kids still walk through to enter this whimsical place. When I came upon a castle, I had to sketch it!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Children's Fairyland

Children's Fairyland on Lake Merritt in Oakland, the first children's storybook park in the U.S., is celebrating its 65th birthday in mid-September.  I remember going there with friends in 1956!  We got a chance to be in the park after hours this week, amidst the colorful storybook sets, kid-sized rides and 10 acres of gardens.  What a pleasure!  Thanks for the opportunity, C.J. HIrschfield (Executive Director).

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Parker, Colorado's dwindling open space

Parker, Colorado's human population is replacing this wilderness with homes. Every time I visit, there's less and less wilderness. Before me and slated for development is the remaining open space. Behind me lies the ever expanding suburban enclave. Pretty ironic that we humans are drawn to a beautiful environment and then systematically destroy what we love.

Local animal inhabitants -- pronghorn sheep, foxes, deer, coyotes -- are being evicted as open range diminishes. Prolific rabbits and ground squirrels are threats to manicured gardens and are poisoned, which also kills the foxes, coyotes and birds of prey who eat the dying rodents. On this morning I was the only person walking here, and a chorus of ground squirrels popped out of holes and admonished me to go away.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SomethingTells Me It's All Happening At The Zoo

At least it was at the Oakland Zoo last Sunday. Thanks to the Zoo Education Department and Docents for having the Nature Journal Club in to sketch the zoo. Way to much to see and do in one visit! Will have to return soon. Hey hey hey.

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.