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.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sports Basement/Berkeley Iceland

On opening night--November 1, 1940--three-time Olympic champion Sonja Henie skated.

Seventy years later, the doors to Berkeley Iceland closed after hosting countless children who dreamed of Olympic gold (including Kristi Yamaguchi and Brian Boitano)--as well as nightly hockey leagues, daily skating lessons, open skate, and college broom ball.

In November 2014, Bay Area athletic equipment chain Sports Basement opened its 6th location in the renovated Iceland building, retaining many features of the historic structure as well as memorabilia from its skating past.

Iceland cash register, headgear and trophy displayed in the lobby.

More from the display cases.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Claremont Diner

The Claremont Dinner, in Oakland, is a favorite neighborhood  place. The owner and staff are hospitable. The classic diner fare (with a few mid-Eastern and Mexican dishes) is tasty and the mid-century diner vibe makes it so sketchable! 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Claremont Diner, Too

Shame on me . . . . I've lived in Oakland since '85 and never stepped inside this little corner diner until last night. It's a '50s throwback time machine with brightly colored wooden booths, counter seating, interior neon signage and a train running circles high above the customers' heads.

I'll be back for a BLT and a vanilla shake.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Claremont Diner

Today's Claremont Diner at the intersection of College and Claremont Avenues in Oakland sits on the site of a one-time Baskin-Robbins ice cream store.  The owner purchased that business, remodeled it to a diner and opened in 1989.  One of the unusual features is the model train running on tracks close to the ceiling.  The vintage radios also make you feel like you are in a '60s diner anywhere in America.  (excerpted from "Long Time on the Avenue for Many Merchants" from the Rockridge Community Planning Council website)

From across the street as the light faded

The open doorway of the diner with the art deco booths inside

Monday, March 23, 2015

Urban Sketchers 2015 Symposium: Singapore!

Early bird registration for the July 22-25, 2015 Singapore Symposium is now open! 
Here's the LINK for more information!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

More views of Le Bateau Ivre

See Ceiny's sketches below of our sketch group's evening at the Berkeley restaurant Le Bateau Ivre. I moved around a little (as usual) and got a sketch of the kitchen, the patio and the dining room.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Brides of March

This is too good to skip. The Brides of March performed their annual event in the heart of San Francisco. Full grown men (and women, true, but that's less spectacular) gather in wedding dresses, parade through the streets and pose for onlookers - such as me. There is a bit of a rational for all of this to be found at Seasoned SF residents don't even raise an eyebrow at all this. More at

Oliver, as visual flaneur

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Le Bateau Ivre

Le Bateau Ivre ("The Drunken Boat") Restaurant, named after the poem by Rimbaud, is located on Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue in a renovated French home built in 1898.  It opened as a cafe/restaurant in 1972, a year after I moved to the Elmwood neighborhood nearby.  I can't count how many cups of coffee and intimate conversations I had there before I moved away in 1980.

Susan's Dinner at Gaumenkitzel

Susan's Dinner, graphite and gouache,7x9 inches
When we met a Gaumentkitzel for sketch night I'd already had dinner so just ordered a decaf and sketched Susan's dinner instead. I added gouache at home. Here is Susan's sketch and photo of the same meal and here are a bunch of sketches from this charming and friendly Berkeley restaurant.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

SF MOMA has been closed while a new wing is being built. The anchor piece of the new space will be a Richard Serra sculpture. The interlocking steel spirals - which are 13 feet tall and together weigh a whopping 235 tons. And since the addition's ground floor will be clad in glass, the much-praised "Sequence" should be visible even when the museum is closed.

I went to the museum last month to watch the last of the 12 parts being moved into the space. After it is placed inside the rest of the building facade can be installed. While I was sketching a photographer from the SF Chronicle took photos of me sketching. So in the both Richard Serra and I were featured in the paper's article!

Saturday, March 14, 2015


The itinerary for my set of posts is all scrambled, but it doesn't matter. Suffice it to say that I arrived in Popayan, a town in the South of Colombia, in the middle of the night after a bus ride up from Ecuador. Colonial architecture, churches and a laid back atmosphere. Geographically closer, yet very different from the places covered in my upcoming travelogue.
Oliver, as visual flaneur

Hotel La Rose, Santa Rosa

A quick 20 minute sketch today while out with my sketch group "Ready, Set, Sketch!"