Monday, July 25, 2016

Mendocino County in July

Old pickup ('37 Chevy?), Philo
Truck Stop Ahead: Rusted metal road sign in the weeds, Philo

Mini paintings while touring Digging Dog Nursery, Albion

Saturday, July 9, 2016

More Strandbeests

What a treat to see these intricate "animals" at the SF Exploratorium--and quite a mind-bending exercise to draw them.  See Susan Ford's excellent description and video links below for more info.

Strandbeests at Exploratorium, S.F.

Animaris suspendisse, watercolor, gel pen, white gouache
Dutch artist and engineer Theo Jansen builds large walking sculptures called “Strandbeests.” They self-propel along the coastline of Holland, feeding on the winds and fleeing the tides.

Now through September 5, 2016, six Strandbeests are on display at Exploratorium. Catch them if you can. 

Animaris suspendisse 
The latest and largest Strandbeest, 43-foot-long Suspendisse borrows design features from its forebears: legs, outrigger skis, sweat glands and nose feelers. Sails help Suspendisse gulp the wind, directing air toward pistons that squeeze the air into recycled plastic bottles, or wind stomachs. If the wind dies down, Suspendisse can use this stored energy to retreat from the rising tides.

Animaris umerus segundus, watercolor, gel pen, white gouache 

Animaris umerus segundus 
Nose to the ground, this beest pushes itself forward using energy stored in a row of wind stomachs—plastic bottles along the beest’s shoulder. Despite highly evolved pivoting feet and strong legs, Umerus proved too unstable for life on the beach.

See Strandbeests in motion on Theo Jansen's site:

The New Yorker Magazine's article about Theo Jansen and his “new forms of life:”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

July 4 - Sketching at Circle Park & Normandy Village

On July 4 I dropped by a local neighborhood celebration at Circle Park in the morning (top sketch) and went back to Normandy Village (NV) in the afternoon. I had missed our group's last NV outing  (please see their earlier posts), but love sketching this distinctive architecture. I'm afraid my depictions of the gargoyles aren't as fierce as they are in "real" life.

Normandy Village

Fantastical House with Curvy Roof & Gargoyles

Normandy Village in Berkeley

We had a quiet summer evening sketching at this Berkeley landmark. It is right next to the Universiy but it feels like you are actually in a small village. I tried capturing it in 3 different styles. See the other sketchers posts below.

Friday, July 1, 2016

More Normandy Village

Normandy Village is a Berkeley landmark on Spruce Street:  eight buildings dating from the late 1920's in the "Storybook Style" designed by William Yelland, who also was the architect of the former Tupper and Reed building on Shattuck Avenue.  Four other structures were added in the 1940's and 50's.  Each unit contains several apartments. Irregular roof lines, fanciful trim, plus the occasional gargoyle add up to a quaint, fairy tale-ish ambiance.

This summer, the bougainvillea has gone wild.

The Normandy Village in Berkeley is always an intriguing draw. It isn't as easy as you might think to capture its charm. Though you might call if "faux charm" it really draws you in. And, as someone said, everything is a copy of something else - even the ancient Romans copied someone! Here's my latest try. (the foliage is not complete, but destined to remain this way)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

SF Pride 2016

San Francisco was brimming with solidarity across gender, sexual orientation and economic levels this weekend.

Rainbow flags were just everywhere. Lovely.
 Oliver, your visual flaneur

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Women Musicians, Garden of Memory 2016

Garden of Memory 2016

The annual summer solstice concert at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland did not disappoint this year.  It begins at 5 p.m. and ends spectacularly with an audience participation bell-ringing at sunset.  In between, scores of incredible musicians give simultaneous performances in the chapels, crypts, balconies, hallways, and gardens of the majestic multilevel building.

Playing pieces she commissioned for the unique altered tuning of her cello.

A few members of the beloved local Eastern European music group, celebrating its 37th season.

Media artist (voice, live electronic processing, sampled sound, and video), creating layers of intriguing complexity

A long line formed to play the Theremin with a Mills Music Professor

Monday, June 20, 2016

Getting To Yosemite Before the Obamas

I think maybe the First Family heard what a great time I had in Yosemite last month and deciced to see it for themselves! After our 4 years of drought last winter's snow really filled the falls. You could hear Yosemite Falls pounding down from anywhere in the valley. Meadows and trees were green green green. Perfect  subjects and weather to be sketched and photographed.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Indian Rock Park

You can see all three north bay bridges from the top of Indian Rock Park in northeast Berkeley, one block from the Marin Circle.  Many people come here to watch the sunset and others to practice climbing techniques on the volcanic rock formations.  Environmental activist David Brower and famous nature photographer Galen Rowell both developed their mountaineering skills here.

Cathy sketching the view of the Bay Bridge and SF skyline

Getting ready to climb

Climbers coaching each other

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Claremont Diner

We are so happy that the Claremont Diner is open again with spruced up conic red stools and black/white tiles floors. The menu retains the classics, but adds some new tasty dishes. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

First Friday Oakland Art Museum - Food trucks, music, singers, dancers.....

A brightly colored graffiti-like Food Truck "Pelican Po-Boys"

Woman listening to jazz & juxtaposition of Cupcake Philosophy

San Francisco MOMA Opens

What started as an addition to display 1,100 artworks on loan from the Fisher family has ended up with more than 4,000 new works in the largest modern and contemporary art museum in America and the largest museum of any kind in Northern California, as measured by gallery space.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art reopened May 14, 2016, after being closed for three years of expansion. When it does, it will have seven floors of exhibition space, and one of those floors, the fourth, is larger than all five floors from the original building designed by Mario Botta that opened 20 years ago.

The addition and the public spaces are wonderful. A must visit for anyone coming to San Francisco.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday Nights at OMCA

Every friday night at the Oakland Museum of California:  music, food trucks, family activities, and access to museum exhibits.  A great exercise in sketching crowds with a terrific ongoing soundtrack.