Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Meet the Sketchers: Gary Amaro

A4 D Skyhawk, flight deck of the USS Hornet, Alameda

Seems I've been slacking on the home front. I'm Urban Sketchers' Berkeley correspondent yet somehow I end up sketching and posting from SF and the outlying areas a lot more often than I do from the East Bay. And then this group turns up here in pretty much own my back yard. I'm glad to see it! This blog and this community are great inspiration to spend a little more time documenting the local terra, storied and picturesque as it is. And considering my company here - these watercolorists - I should hope it inspires me to break out the color a little more often too.

through a shop window, Chinatown, SF
Handcar Regatta, Santa Rosa

Some of you may know me from my posts on the main USK site. I also make storyboards, illustrations, concept art, and comics, and I teach visual storytelling at Academy of Art University, SF. I keep a sketchbook handy at all times, and draw in it whenever I get the chance. I love a sense of history and a sense of place.

The Bay Area is rich in history and has a great tradition of landscape painting and location drawing. Things to look for and reckon with in drawing up my own compositions. Welcome everyone; glad to be here. I'm looking forward to drawing with you all. Let's go find some hidden corners!

Ferry Building, SF
• Gary's sketchblog
• Gary on Urban Sketchers

Monday, August 30, 2010

Eat Popcorn-Pray-Love: Cathy Sketches the Elmwood Theatre

Ink & watercolor by Cathy McAuliffe

While sketching at College and Ashby in Berkeley, a group of colorfully dressed women walked past us on their way to to see Eat-Pray-Love at the Elmwood Theater.

Eat Popcorn-Pray-Love; Ink & watercolor by Cathy McAuliffe

Micaela Sketches the Benicia Capitol Building

Benicia Capitol Building #1, Benicia, CA - Ink & watercolor, by Micaela Marsden
Benicia Capitol Building#2, Benicia, CA - Ink & watercolor, by Micaela Marsden

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sonia Sketches Oakland's Wholesale Produce District

Oakland Grill, ink & watercolor by Sonia Tamez
On the weekends Oakland's produce district is nearly deserted -- a perfect time to sketch!

Dan's Produce, Oakland, ink & watercolor by Sonia Tamez

Cali Fresh Produce, Oakland; Ink & watercolor by Sonia Tamez

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Albany Hill and Peet's Coffee

Peet's Coffee, El Cerrito & Albany Hill by Jana Bouc
I picked up a latte at Peet's and crossed the street to sit and sketch on the steps at Pier 1 Imports (sketched here), enjoying the first sunny day in ages. Albany Hill sticks up like a very tall cupcake (sprinkled with trees instead of jimmies) in an otherwise flat landscape. In the late 19th century, the Judson Powder Works used the hill for the manufacture of dynamite. They planted the eucalyptus trees on the hill to catch debris and muffle the sound of their explosions. More about this on my blog.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sketching Berkeley's Northside

LaVals by Cathy McAuliffe
We took advantage of the absence of U. C. Berkeley students to sketch in the area known as the Northside on Euclid between Hearst and Ridge Road. Cathy sketched the view looking up Euclid (above), capturing LaVal's beer sign and Jana got the same sign looking down the Euclid (below).
Two Views on Euclid by Jana Bouc

Euclid & Ridge Rd. by Cathy
Cathy sketched some tall palm trees and one more scene on Euclid.
Looking up Euclid from UC Berkeley by Cathy McAuliffe

Euclid Avenue, by Cathy McAuliffe
Then we sat on the balcony of the modern Asian Studies building to sketch the U.C. Berkeley Library, also known as the Doe Library which was built in 1911 and is open 24 hours a day. When the days get too short to sketch outdoors we'll take our Tuesday night sketching indoors to explore the interior of this beautiful building.
University Library by Cathy McAuliffe

University Library by Jana Bouc

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sketching at CHORI

CHORI Entrance by Jana Bouc
Micaela suggested the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) building in North Oakland for our Tuesday night sketching and it was an interesting challenge. The 1923 building with 80,000 square feet of space was once a high school. Abandoned in the 1980s, it sat disintegrating for many years, with boarded up windows and peeling paint.
CHORI Windows by Micaela Marsden

 When Children’s Hospital took over the building they kept the original design and built within a high-tech facility for the study of biochemistry, hematology, molecular biology, genetics, and more. The laboratory is backed up by emergency power and critical systems such as freezers and incubators are monitored 24 hours a day.

We could hear the hum and buzz of those systems (along with the loud passing BART trains on the overhead rail across the street) while we sketched. Even though it was supposedly summer, it was so cold, foggy and drizzly damp that Sonia sat in her car to sketch and Micaela and I wore multiple layers of down and fleece. Will summer ever come to the Bay Area?

Meet the Sketchers: Micaela Marsden

Oakland City Hall Tower by Micaela Marsden
I am a graphic designer and artist. I am a native Californian, and have lived near the sea for most of my life. I love the dramatic rocks and tessellating shapes of the coastline, the waves alternatively assaulting and caressing the shore - it's so schizo! Rather like life. 
Benicia Contraption by Micaela Marsden
 Among the dense schedules of life as we know it in the modern world, I try to eke out a little time to paint, sketch, and draw. It's interesting to try to start and finish a drawing while standing on a street corner with people passing by, babies falling on your toes, dogs wagging their tails into your paints... In spite of all this, there is a meditative quality to it, and it feels like you are connecting with your surroundings in some other, special way, like you are recording footsteps of many years past.
Susie's Water Tower by Micaela Marsden
There's always more to learn, and it never gets boring — sometimes it seems like more of a struggle and I want to quit, but then some little thing just works, and reminds me of the reason I ever started - the beauty of a graceful line, the pleasure of capturing a likeness, the calmness of "being in my own space"!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Meet the Sketchers: Sonia Tamez

Dream Fluff Donuts, Berkeley, Ink & watercolor by Sonia Tamez
I have always scribbled, doodled, sketched, and drawn for my own amusement, aide-memoire and preparatory to the "real" art of painting. When I joined Jana's Tuesday night group it was with the objective to make the bones of my paintings better. Now I enjoy sketching as a visual language in itself that helps me connect in a deeper way with the Bay Area and my fellow sketchers at home and out in the world.
Benicia Old Train Station, Ink & watercolor by Sonia Tamez

Meet the Sketchers: Cathy McAuliffe

Berkeley Firehouse, Ink & watercolor by Cathy McAuliffe

I live in the East Bay and work as a graphic designer in San Francisco. The more time I spend on computers at work, the more I enjoy going out sketching. The best part of sketching for me is the opportunity to take the time to look at things and to really see them.

At the Urban Sketching Symposium in Portland I was overwhelmed by the connections that had been made through Urban Sketchers. I hope our SF Bay group continues to help that dialog grow.
Burnside  Bridge, Portland, Ink & watercolor by Cathy Mcauliffe
Steel Bridge, Portland by Cathy McAuliffe

Cemetery, Oakland by Cathy McAuliffe

Berkeley Fire & Rescue by Cathy McAuliffe

Meet the Sketchers: Jana Bouc

Bella Vita Window, Oakland, CA, Ink & Watercolor by Jana Bouc
A friend once told me, "When you're sketching you look like you're rollerskating." He was right! Sketching gives me that same feeling of joy and exhilaration.

I'm easily amused and enjoy sketching just about anything I see around me, from shop windows (above), to the gritty urban streets and scenic wonders of  the San
Francisco Bay Area and the wide variety of its residents.

I sketch in order to explore a subject I'm interested in painting, as meditation, for fun, and of course, to improve my drawing.

Clark Kerr Campus Berkeley
I love the kind of deep seeing that happens when I draw. It's like peeling layers of the onion in reverse. First you just see "onion" and then there's the shine and curl of the skin, the bit of of a green sprout peeking out here, the shadow below that's reflecting the gold of the onion and a bit of blue...

I carry my journal (which I bind myself) and a sketching kit wherever I go, including Tuesday night sketching with our Bay Area Urban Sketchers group.

Visit my blog JanasJournal.com for more of my sketches and my website JanaBouc.com to see some of my paintings.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I'm very excited to see this new Urban Sketchers blog start up. I can't think of many places as rewarding to sketch as San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Thanks to Berkeley-based artist and watercolor teacher Jana Bouc for rounding up an enthusiastic group of local sketchers to launch the blog. The work we'll be seeing here soon it's going to be fabulous.

Looking forward to all the posts,

gabi campanario
urban sketchers