Monday, August 20, 2018

Albion River Bridge

The Albion River Bridge, located where the Albion River meets the sea, is the last timber trestle bridge on the California Coast. Caltrans wants to replace it with a concrete bridge but the local Mendocino residents want to save their beloved landmark.

Because of WWII concrete and steel shortages,  the bridge was constructed in 1944 of salvaged wood and a steel center truss that was salvaged from an older bridge.

In 2014, Caltrans determined that the bridge, "is reaching the end of its service life and becoming too expensive to maintain." Preservationists, distrustful of Caltran's assessment, successfully added the bridge to the National Register of Historic Places. The debate continues . . . .

Children's Fairyland

In a sendup on the masks of tragedy and comedy, Aesop's Tortoise and Hare welcome you to the open-air Playhouse at Children's Fairyland. Aesop was a slave and storyteller in ancient Greece and in his fable, Tortoise triumphs over Hare and proclaims: "Don't brag about your lightening pace, for slow and steady wins the race!"

Thank you, C.J. Hirschfield, Executive Director and Shannon Taylor, Director of Art and Restoration for the opportunity, once again, to sketch at Fairyland. It's always a blast and the time just flies! Children's Fairyland in Oakland is the best.  ~~Susan Ford

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Return to Children's Fairyland

Children's Fairyland is a magical place for all.  A visit transports you from the everyday to other times and other stories, some familiar and some new.  I treasure my time at Fairyland. Thank you C.J. Hirschfield, Executive Director and Shannon Taylor, Director of Art and Restoration for having us and for all that you do.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Children's Fairyland — delightful!

I visited Fairyland in 1958, when it was quite new. I remember drinking from the Roaring Lion's mouth (scary!), climbing on the ship in the sand (odd), and running through the Alice-in-the-Looking-Glass tunnel (magical!). I didn't get to any of those locations this time, but did a sketch of the Aesop's Playhouse and the snack center.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Children's Fairyland in Oakland

Thanks to the staff at Fairyland in Oakland for inviting us back to sketch their Land! Willie The Whale, The Old Lady In The Shoe, and The Happy Dragon have been there since 1950 and still look great. You only remember you are in the middle of downtown Oakland when you notice the city peaking up behind The Jolly Roger Pirate Ship. — Cathy McAuliffe

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Beer Baron in Oakland

We had a good time sketching at The Beer Baron that has just opened in Oakland. The staff was very welcoming and the wall of bottles behind the bar was great to sketch. Thanks for having us! – Cathy McAuliffe

Oakland's Beer Baron Bar and Kitchen

We had a great time at Oakland's Beer Baron Thursday night, sketching this friendly, gorgeous place. The sketch above was actually about 3 weeks  before outside in the afternoon when I was checking it out and enjoying a treat.  The sketch below was indoors last night.  I wish I could have better captured the barrel staves adorning the ceiling and the graphic artwork on the wall. Guess I'll have to go back! 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thumbs Up!

A month ago I inflamed a joint in my right thumb (who knows how!) and have been wearing a catcher's mitt size brace immobilizing said thumb. That has made sketching, and many other things (opposable thumb and all that) problematic. During the month  I managed to hold the pencil and brush between the knuckles of my fingers. Not the most comfortable solution but it did help me work on loosening up my sketch style. Below are sketches from Laurie Wighma's workshop in the Sierras, the chickens at Berkeley's Edible Schoolyard, Flower Piano at SF Botanical Garden and The Ukulele Jam at Yerba Buena Gardens. Brace is now off and the thumb feels fine. (Fingers crossed!) I think I will incorporated some of the mew techniques into future sketches. — Cathy McAuliffe

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Giants at AT&T Park

San Francisco Giants held their own against the Cubbies today! Though it was touch and go there for a while, Giants won 5 to 4 in the 13th inning!!! Sketched at AT&T Park section 324 View Reserve Box.

Fieldwork Brewing

Fieldwork Brewing Company is a craft brewery founded in Berkeley, advertised with focus on "exceptional, honest beer-making."  It's grown popular and has quite a crowd outside on the patio with heaters to ward away the bay fog, but then after a few beers, no one seems to mind the chilly weather.

A sign on the wall outside on the patio noting some names of beers, their cost and percentage of alcohol.  Watch out for the "Cloud Control"!

Sketch of Jan sketching who is on her way to the next Urban Sketchers Symposium in Porto, Portugal.    Someone commented on this sketch that she had a halo around her head but that was actually one of the beer barrels behind her head.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Sketching Girl Meets Dirt

Girl Meets Dirt produces amazing heritage preserves, "inspired by the long history of orchard keeping on Orcas Island"  in Washington State. I visited the island kitchen and their booth at the local farmer's market.. The organic, locally sourced fruit is combined with other ingredients, then cooked by hand on copper pans before it is bottled for sale in the kitchen, in the farmer's market and on-line. I can personally testify to the high quality of the jams. I end up purchasing enough for the rest of the year until I return. Thanks for having me over to sketch Girl Meets Dirt!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

10x10 Urban Sketching Workshops

The International Urban Sketchers organization and San Francisco Bay Area Urban Sketchers
are bringing back the popular series of on-location sketching workshops, starting April 2018.

Each workshop will be 3 hours long and will take place on either Saturday or Sunday.
Check the schedule for exact times and days.

Workshops are designed for all levels of participants, but check class details to see if it’s a
good fit for you. Class size is limited to 15 participants.

Here is a link to all 10 workshop descriptions with links to sign-ups:…/1TpZC6xlsFGI9GzhblaC678DbSf…/view

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Virtual Reality as an Educational Tool (A Reportage Sketch)

I went to a virtual reality event held at the Oakland Museum garden featuring not only a virtual reality narrative but also live music, and speakers. I had never worn that type of headset before and was pretty flabbergasted at what I saw and felt. It truly is a 3-d experience!
At the event you could also engage with avatars that were programmed with AI (artificial intelligence.) The avatars were students in a classroom setting. They were having a disagreement and it was your job to facilitate a discussion. Simply amazing. I definitely can see this being of value in an educational setting but I still find it kind of spooky too. --Vivian Aldridge

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Steamy Stuff at the Autodesk Gallery

Sketched a few of the items on display at the Autodesk Gallery in downtown San Francisco. This gallery showcases the creative process and shows how people are using new technology to imagine and design innovated products.

While we there the customer engagement rep took great interest in us an exclaimed, "In the three years that I have been working here I have never seen artists come in here to sketch."  She was delighted! I told her the best things happen when art meets science.
--Vivian Aldridge

Monday, June 11, 2018

Macramé Makes A Comeback

I went to Sebastopol this weekend to sketch with Somona County sketchers at The Barlow an area that has repurposed a former Applesauce Plant. This area is home to Gravenstein Apples and this plant used to process the crop. It is now a collection of shops, restaurants, wineries and breweries. I posted a sketch on Instagram of a florist shop and their giant Macramé hangings. Wow! People have some strong feelings about macramé as I found out in the comments!

In addition to the "controversial" knots I also sketched some of the colorful buildings in The Barlow. Nice day with warm weather and friendly sketchers. – Cathy McAuliffe

Monday, June 4, 2018

Ice Cream and Behind the Curtain

This ice cream shop in Oakland offers a visual and audio feast. You can watch your ingredients being stirred and frozen before your eyes. Nothing is hidden from view. As you watch you will be entertained by lively music with driving beats. And if you are lucky, or unlucky depending up on your state of mind, you will hear the loud shrieks of delight from visiting children.: -P  -- Vivian Aldridge : -)

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Emeryville waterfront

I have missed Snoopy and the little biplane plane he flew at the edge of the bay for many years, so when I came across this Red Baron along the Emeryville waterfront, I just had to stop and paint it. It took two tries, and even then it didn't fit on one piece of paper, so I had to continue on the next sheet. Added a view of the bay with three-masted ship model which "rides the waves" (and probably disappears with high tide). There really was a "Red Baron".

smitten with Smitten could I not say it?! Love their ice cream, it's really fresh, really tasty. The corner building they occupy in Rockridge is pretty unique too. As I was leaving, I saw a smart car (I think) with a painting of a smart car on it–pretty cute– and just had to stop, sketch, and enjoy it and the lovely warm evening.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Smitten Ice Cream

A team of engineers and ice cream makers combined liquid nitrogen, small ice crystals and organic ingredients to create churned-to-order ice cream.  Initially peddled from a red wagon at a farmer's market, the ice cream's now available at this popular Rockridge destination. Nitrogen clouds escape shiny steel machinery. Top volume alternative rap competes with hyperactive tots screaming in sugar-fueled delight. The sweet aroma of ice cream and sugar cones adds to the sensory overload. ~Susan Ford

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sketching With a Visiting Sketcher

Last weekend Tina Koyama and husband Greg made a stop in the Bay Area on their way to Yosemite. So of course we had to go sketching! We spent the day exploring Alameda: sketching some of  the many victorians, the restored movie theater and we tried for the USS Hornet but it was way too windy. Greg was our official photographer for the day. My sketches are below (including the one I did in SF the day before and held up by mistake in the photo!) See Tina's sketches plus more from Yosemite at Urban Sketchers Seattle Group. —Cathy McAuliffe

Saturday, May 12, 2018

South African Section, UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley

Watercolor, InkJoy colored ink ballpoint pens  

I'm always game for a return visit to the Berkeley Botanical Garden in Tilden Park. It never disappoints. There's lots to see and paint.

The South African section, at its best in late winter was still a-pop with bright colors.  I sat with the sun at my back as hummingbirds dive-bombed these bright red Watsonias in a nectarian target practice.

Brought a few more variably-sized brushes than I usually carry in my portable kit. Enjoyed playing with the different marks I can make with these old friends.

--Susan Ford

Monday, May 7, 2018

Alice in BlakeGardensLand

Last week I met up with a few of my urban sketch buddies for a day at Blake Gardens in Kensington. The property is owned by the University of California and the garden managed by the school of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. To say it's a spectacular setting is an understatement. Indeed I felt like Alice in Wonderland walking through the gardens, and then there was the panoramic view of the S.F. Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. Sigh. Choosing one place to start sketching was a challenge.
I anchored myself with the "scarecrow" figure, a girl I think?

 I think I was overawed by these violet beauties towering over. Some of the other sketchers managed to capture their essence better than I could. (Check out Cathy's!)

I expected a Lepracaun or other enchanted character to jump out at any moment!