Friday, May 22, 2015

Hummingbird Nest in the Temescal

Hae Yuon has a tiny hummingbird nest in the camellia bush in her garden. It seems to be made of petals, dryer lint, lichen and sticky cobwebs and sits a mere five feet off the ground. Inside, two naked hummingbird babies pulsate quietly. They look like tiny wrinkled red grapes with pin feathers attached. When the wind or the hummingbird parent moves the nest branch, the babies look up blindly and open their mouths. 
I visited Hae and her brood today and did a little sketch. 
Here's an article about another hummingbird nest with lots of photos:…/sweetness-and-light-diary-fr…/

Weatherford BMW, Too

BMW: the world's sexiest driving machine. All three of us sketchers seemed enamored of the Z4 last night. Meow!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Weatherford BMW

Two very different vehicles from the auto warehouse at Weatherford BMW on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley.  Thanks to Jenn Bishop and Ilene Franco for facilitating our visit there tonight.

The staff uses these golf carts to get around.

One of the many Beamers they have on hand to sell.

Monday, May 18, 2015

More Yard Art

Here are a few more takes on the amazing front yard of artist Mark Olivier on Colusa Avenue between Sonoma and Monterey Avenues in Berkeley.  Several of his neighbors also have work either by him or in his style on their properties, making this a very colorful neighborhood.  (See more description and a link to an article about the artist in Cathy and Susan's posts below.)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Beach Art in Berkeley

See Susan's sketches and information about where we sketched last week. Great subjects!

Olivier Beach Art, Berkeley

Berkeley resident Mark Olivier is a beachcombing artist who creates sculptures made from materials he takes from local beaches.  He gleans everything from lighters to car parts to animal bones, combining his finds into masks, animals, and a variety of other forms.
After walking his dog down a filthy beach, Mark realized that he could clean up trash and utilize his creativity at the same time. Mark started creating sculptures out of the trash he picked up from the beach. Although his art depends on the waste of our society, Mark claims there is no message.  "I just sort of fell into it," he says, "but now I can't stop.”

Special thanks to reporter Emma Roos-Collins. Read her entire article here:

Friday, May 15, 2015

More Freehouse

In her post below, Cathy gives a good overview of our evening at Freehouse, but she didn't mention the firepits outside in the courtyard.  Here's a sketch of some people congregated near one.

Evening at Freehouse

It is getting light enough in the evenings for us to sketch outside again. Yeah! We went to Freehouse in Berkeley for some sketching in their courtyard the other night. (We also had some good food and beer.)  Their building has been around since 1926 and Berkeley history is well represented within. Formerly owned by the Presbyterian Church. During the Free Speech Movement of the early 1960s, Reverend John Hadsel invited the organizers of the FSM into the space that is now the dining room when they were not allowed to congregate on campus. And tables in the courtyard are made from old Memorial Stadium seats.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Westerbeke Ranch

Westerbeke Ranch is a hidden gem located a few miles west of the city of Sonoma. Used primarily for retreats and conferences, the property delights guests with its lush gardens and meandering paths amid native oaks. Of particular interest are the metal sculptures scattered across the property that were collected by owners Richard and Muriel Van Hoosear while traveling in Mexico and Spain.
I chose to sketch one of the many guest cottages nestled amongst towering oaks. Many thanks to the Westerbeke Ranch’s staff for inviting our Ready, Set, Sketch! group for the day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Back to the Gym

As Ceiny's post below shows, we returned to Ironworks Climbing Gym in Berkeley. This stime I concentrated on the people on the floor holding the ropes for the climbers. An important job!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Berkeley Ironworks Gym

Another visit to this lively climbing gym in South Berkeley.  Thanks to manager Lyn Barraza and the friendly staff for welcoming us there.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lux Redux

We were invited back to Lux Appraisers and Estate services and for another sketching session of wonderful and strange collections. See Susan's and Carrrie's sketches of the evening below.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Old car

Thursday night (April 23) my sketch group had the opportunity to go to Lux Appraisers and Estate Services in Emeryville. Think humongous warehouse filled with furniture, lamps, from well back in the day and and so, so much more. After walking for miles in this place - only a slight exaggeration - I found this old sports car. It looks way better than this. I'm still working on drawing cars correctly - it's on my sketch bucket list. One of my Sketchbook Skool  teachers, Lapin, can make an ordinary car a veritable masterpiece. I need a lot more practice - much, much, more practice.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sketching at the Laundromat

Solano Laundromat, ink and watercolor 10x8 in
Here's a quickie from sketch night at the laundromat, a favorite place of mine to sketch. I'm glad I have my own washer and dryer so I don't have to go there to do laundry, but I do enjoy the perspective challenges and patterns of rows of rectangles, circles and black and white shapes, as well as the little still life of soap and baskets.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Lux Appraisers & Estate Services

Enjoyed another evening of discovery, sketching and conversation at Lux Appraisers & Estate Services.
Thanks, Jesse!

Cybis porcelain Humpback whale sculpture
In the 1980s, a limited number of these tabletop-sized sculptures were sold by The (Jacques) Cousteau Society to collectors. Proceeds from the sales supported the Society's efforts to save the Humpback Whale from extinction.  

Animal tusk and cast metal fish sculpture by Margo Elberg
The late Margo Elberg was a prolific artist and sculptor. In her lifetime she created jewelry, ceramics, mosaics, sculptures and furniture.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sahara Three

Walk through the doors of Sahara on Piedmont and you are met with a dazzling array of extraordinary Moroccan crafts.  And periodically, Sahara is also a place filled with  music, singing, tea and treats. I want to add my thanks to Mostafa for hosting us during the Piedmont stroll and encouraging me to sketch at Sahara again. I look forward to future events! Please see previous posts for more at Sahara.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sahara, too

Special thanks to Mostafa and to all of his talented friends for a very enjoyable evening of 
Moroccan music and hospitality at Sahara Moroccan Home Decor.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sahara Moroccan Home Decor

During the April 2015 Piedmont Avenue Stroll in Oakland (3rd Thursday evening of the month), Sahara Moroccan Home Decor hosted musicians and served mint tea and delicious sweets amid the colorful displays of Berber jewelry, carpets, mosaic tables, pottery, lanterns and other artistic imports.  

Slipper & mirror display

Monday, April 13, 2015

Beautiful hats!

Thanks, Sonia for finding this cool place to sketch! Hats off to you! So much to sketch, little time. I hope we will return.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Goorin Bros. Hat Shop

Last Thursday night Mr. Willie Roberts, Shopkeeper of  the Goorin Brothers Hat Shop in the Elmwood District of Berkeley, hosted our sketching group. We enjoyed sketching the amazing hats in the store and seeing a demonstration of hat blocking. I am enamored with the combination of traditional craftsmanship  (Goorin Brothers was established in 1895) and contemporary art represented by these hats. Thank you Willie!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

No Road In No Road Out - slowboating the amazon

So, I'd like to share that my book came out!  No Road In No Road Out- slowboating the Amazon describes my illustrated journey up the Amazon from Colombia into Peru.

On 40 pages (single sided) I show you places no road gets to and answer some pressing questions along the way. E.g. What do Gustave Eiffel and Che Guevara have in common? Where is the Venice of Peru?

Most of the drawings were done on location - Urban Sketcher style!
Find out more on 

Oliver, as visual flaneur

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Jo-Ann's Fabrics

I liked the contrast between the pattern models poses with attitude and the mannequin.

The April edition of Drawing Attention is now published and features our own Cathy McAuliffe's sketching in the news. Click here to read April's  Drawing Attention.

Urban SKetchers monthly newsletter features our own Cathy McAuliffe

Sports Basement three

I found a mannequin to sketch at this new sports everything store.