Sunday, August 17, 2014

Off the Grid at S.F. Presidio

On their website, Off the Grid advertises itself as a "roaming mobile food extravaganza -- bringing you delicious food, with free sides of music, craft and soul."  Their Picnic at the Presidio happens on Sunday from 11-4 on the huge Main Post Lawn with view of the sailboats on the bay.

We got there early as the trucks were setting up.

Eventually, LOTS of people arrived and settled in for the day.

Al fresco yoga sessions at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Yo-Yo Ma at the Greek Theater, UC Berkeley.

The Greek Theater at UC Berkeley sold out for this event, 8500 spectators. Yo-Yo Ma played three of Bach's cello suites. Magnificent.
Yo-Yo Ma at the Greek Theater, pen and ink, watercolor and digital darkening, 16x5in.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Civic Center, Emeryville

H20-proof ink, watercolor, water-soluble marker

While the other sketchers settled down out front with journals, inks and watercolors, I sought the rear garden of the more contemporary of the two civic center buildings in Emeryville. The two vastly different architectural styles of the old building and the new building aren't very complementary.

Emeryville corner of Park and Hollis

Sketching from both corners, looking at the Town Hall and the building on the opposite corner. We then went to Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe to look at everyone's sketches.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Emeryville Civic

Our open sketch night was in Emeryville, and the civic center, with it's old and new city hall was our subject. I've passed this structure in many a day and the sketcher in me definitely wanted to sketch this. I was fortunate to be sketching with Cristina, a fabulous artist.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Emeryville Civic Center, Park Avenue and Hollis

Late afternoon at the crossing of Park Avenue and Hollis in Emeryville. The new Town Hall, the old one and the perfect late night diner, Can't Fail Cafe.
Emeryville, dip pen and ink and watercolor, 24x9in.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Emeryville, historically the site of extensive native American settlements, was a northern suburb of Oakland until incorporation in 1896.   During the Depression, Emeryville was known for gambling, racetracks and brothels; Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren called it "the rottenest city on the Pacific Coast."  Today, with a population of over 10,000, it's the home of Pixar Studios, Jamba Juice, Clif Bar and several biotech and software companies.

We met at Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe across from the City Hall at Hollis and Park.  Here's the cafe's philosophy, as explained on their website:  "At Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, we consider everyone to be Rudy.  We are all Rudy and this is everyone's place."tRudy Can’t Fail Cafe we consider everyone to be Rudy. We are all Rudy and this is everyone’s place. At Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe we consider everyone to be Rudy. We are all Rudy and this is everyone’s place. 

Open since 2002

Completed in 1903

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Point Richmond

Once an island on San Francisco Bay, is now a neighborhood of Richmond .  Point Richmond is that city's birthplace and today is it's "old town".

three burritos AND not run

Logic as applied in a San Francisco dive bar.

Oliver, as visual flaneur 

Paranormal Profit at The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

Old tricycle atop lobby fireplace, reminiscent of trike in movie
The Stanley Hotel was built by Freelan O. Stanley, inventor of the Stanley Steamer, a steam-engined automobile sold in the early 1900s.  The 138-room hotel opened in 1909, has a beautiful view of Rocky Mountain National Park and is widely considered to be haunted.

The Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King's book, The Shining, although the Stanley Kubrick movie of the same name wasn't filmed at this hotel. King allegedly wrote the story after spending a night in room 217 during an extended hotel closure in 1974.

Paranormal rumors attract carloads of tourists to the hotel. They pay to wander the halls snapping photos, attending hotel-run ghost tours and listening to apocryphal phantom encounters related by the hotel's young, overly-dramatic summer employees.  Kubrick's movie replays endlessly on one of the hotel's television channels.

I may seem a skeptic, but there's no explanation for the big-toe-squeeze that woke me in the wee hours of my first night in room 248.

Friday, August 1, 2014

. . . and Berkeley Sketching Site #2

This week we met on Domingo Avenue below the Claremont Hotel, the beautiful historic pile in the hills above town, visible all over the Bay Area.  I think we all had to sketch the hotel tower--as well as various neighborhood sites.

Opened in 1915

This burger joint at the triangle where 3 streets intersect was originally a train station, later a gas station and then several different types of restaurant.

Berkeley Sketching Site #1. . .

Last week at Normandy Village on Spruce Street, the owner of this condo came out to see our work and told us that the owners want to get the complex painted but don't know quite how to go about recreating the weathered look of the exterior walls.  Search this blog for images of our group's past visits here.

Apts. built in the 1920s as an imitation French village. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sketching while listening . . .

San Francisco Symphony Chamber musicians played Dvorak and Shostakovich on a warm, Sunday afternoon. Hated to go indoors on such a fabulous day, but the concert was wonderful.

San Francisco Symphony Chamber Music Series

The U.C. Botanical Garden's Bastille Day concert, performed outdoors in the Redwood Grove amphitheater, WPA-built in the 1930's. Sweet Parisian melodies on a warm summer night.

Rachel Durling & Big Lou of The Baguette Quartette

French Gypsy Jazz performed on stringed instruments as the setting sun peeked thru the redwood trees.

Le Jazz Hot a.k.a. The Hot Club of San Francisco

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Road Trip

 I had to try to sketch Old Faithful!
Geyser fields, crisscrossed with elevated paths, and visitors disappear in the mists.
IPads were ubiquitous throughout the parks.
The dazzling Grand Prismatic Spring.
Mt. Moran is named after the artist whose paintings influenced the designation of Yellowstone National Park.
Antler chandeliers at Flagg Ranch just outside the Grand Tetons.
Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (~1970), an art installation constructed in Salt Lake,
emerges after being underwater for years.

Bonneville Salt Flats.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Amoebas and Zebras

The sidewalk of Telegraph Avenue in front of Amoeba Records and Zebra Tattoos is a great location for sketching.  I found a sandwich shop with bar seating that faced the street.  I ordered up some lunch and set about capturing the midday sun and scene on paper.  The light and shadows seemed to transform the already vibrant colors of the storefronts.  While sketching, I observed people coming and going.  Some were just too fast for my pencil.  Others, however, were not.  I was able to sketch the people that hovered about without any apparent purpose.  Some appeared to just pause for a cigarette break while others had made the sidewalk their camp for the day.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2nd Annual W. Coast USK Sketchcrawl - PDX

I travelled to Portland to meet my friend Paula, a USK Whidbey Island sketcher, for the 2nd Annual West Coast Sketchcrawl--a very fun event attended by over 100 sketchers.  See the website at
Next summer, the 3rd Annual is planned for Balboa Park in San Diego.

Friday night "Portrait Party" at a downtown pub.

Some of the Portland USK group.

Saturday at the Park Blocks,  encompassing the campus of Portland State U. . . 

. . . the Saturday Farm Market. . . 

. . .  meeting place at the statue of Teddy Roosevelt. . . 

. . . and another monumental sculpture overlooking an activity of the "World Domination Summit" taking place at the same time as our Sketchcrawl!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

ALbany Community Garden

We sketched at the community garden where one of our members has a plot. Lots of different vegetables and flowers growing. Good to draw and looked like they will be good to eat, too.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Community Garden

On a cool, East Bay evening, sitting in a small community garden in Albany was so peaceful and quiet, very restful. The wonderful usual assortment of herbs, veggies and flowers were growing in some cases luxuriantly, some rather sparse.
watering tubes in abundance

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Western Hills Nursery

Great afternoon. It was their monthly Artist Day ans we had the whole garden to ourselves. Well, except for the resident cat who turned out to be quite a hunter and unfortunately got a hummingbird while we were there.