Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wintery Subway Rider on BART

Wintery Rider on BART
Wintry Rider on BART
There's something about this sketch that really says winter in Northern California to me: bundled up, boots on, bare trees out the window, and a sense of quiet.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jana's Ranch 99 Sketches

Soak Squid on Ice, ink & watercolor
Soak[ed] Squid
Ranch 99 Asian Market is a great place to sketch on a dark rainy night. The delicate pink of these cleaned whole squids on crushed ice was the first thing to grab my attention. I Googled "soak squid" to see if it was a variety of squid but from what I read, I think it was pre-soaked in milk or buttermilk for several hours to tenderize it.

Hanging fowl, ink & watercolor
Hanging Fowl, ink& watercolor
Even though I've sketched their hanging fowl before, there were a greater variety this time including one on the right that I thought looked like a rabbit.

Eggplant and Bitter Melon, ink & watercolor
Eggplant & Bitter Melon
I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the similar shapes but different colors piled beside each other.
Dragon fruit, ink & watercolor
Dragon Fruit from Vietnam
The Dragon Fruit again grabbed my attention and one of these days I'll get around to eating one. I fought the temptation to shop instead of sketching so didn't bring anything home this time.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I fell in love with this building the first time I saw it in San Francisco. I was sitting at a table in some place I don't know the name of near 4th and Howard.

Ten Ren's Tea by Sonia Tamez

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Downtown Palo Alto: Lunch

December 22, 2010: Lunch

I pre-painted a few ages in my sketchbook and this gray color suited color of the sky perfectly!

99 Ranch Market, Richmond

99 Ranch is a Chinese supermarket chain. They have everything from live fish to a bakery. When our sketch group visited, there were Christmas carols playing and all the workers were wearing Santa hats.

99 Ranch Market, Richmond

Ranch 99

The fish were breaching their ice bin at Ranch 99 last night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Meeting Blue Heron in the Mountain View City Park

There is a wonderful city park in Mountain View - right in the middle of it actually :) It's full of people usually - and full of wild life! This Saturday I met a Blue Heron and spent quite some time tracking it on the field.
Blue Heron
I posted this photo from my phone while in the park and later scanned resulting page. Too bad I was not quick enough to show the dog - one of the sketches shows how heron is half-spreading his wings - that was a reaction to a wonderfully playful setter who came to say " Hi".
December 18, 2010: Blue Heron

Guest Post: Amy Ventura's Spenger's Sketches

Amy's version of the man at the bar with hat, cellphone and martini and 
 Amy Ventura joined the Tuesday night East Bay Urban Sketchers last week for sketching at Spengers. Like the rest of us, she too drew our wonderful "model" Mark, as he sipped his martini and enjoyed his martini and graciously put up with a table of five women all drawing him.
Amy's sketches of the lanterns and flags hanging from the ceiling

Spenger's Bar Sketches

Spengers Bar #1, ink & watercolor
Waiting at the bar with cellphone
Last week we had a great time sketching in the bar at Spenger's, an old, formerly family-owned seafood restaurant filled with ship-themed objects including giant mounted fish trophies (which we learned are just plastic), models of old ships, steering wheels, ropes, etc.

Sonia Sketching at Spengers, Ink & watercolor
Sonia Sketching, Flying Fish
Lanterns, Martini & a Cellphone at Spengers, Ink & watercolor
Celing lanterns overlapped with sketch of men at the bar
I was drawing the guy in the foreground with the hat, cellphone and martini, when I noticed the man behind him kept smiling at me when I looked up. I wondered aloud whether it might be a bad idea to stare at men at the bar—would they think we were flirting with them? Everyone around our table laughed as it turned out we were all intently drawing the same foreground guy. He was a good sport and when we all finished we showed him his many portraits. Thank you Mark, for being such a good model!

Sonia's Spenger's Sketches

4th Street Holiday Lights near Spengers, ink & watercolor
Bread basket on the bar

Ship controls in the bar at Spengers

Friday, December 17, 2010

Meet the Sketchers: Nina Khashchina

I live in the heart of Silicon Valley and can bike or run to sketch some Google buildings or how Caltrain rushes by ;)
For the Urban Sketchers Blog Intro
I enjoy the process of discovering a face of an urban landscape - through drawing and painting and just quiet moments. And I sketch nature and how it survives in cities around the world and first of all right here - in the Bay Area.

It's almost impossible to catch me without a sketchbook and I draw everywhere: standing in line, in the park while my son unwinds after a day in preschool, taking a break form lunch, sometimes even waiting in traffic :)

My main tools are ink and watercolors, sometimes watercolor pencils. Oils and Acrylics are great for studio but too cumbersome for on the go - as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer AND a young mom I need to be ready to drop everything and run (literally)!

So I am on a quest to a simple set-up, always experimenting with some new pens, brushes, pigments, paper etc. Here are some of my sketching set-ups:
I just got a new little kit and hope to try it out this week and post some pictures ;)

I started book binding a couple of years ago too and enjoy it very much. The ability to choose your own paper, size, number of pages - and the fact that you create something with your hands make it very special for me. You can see some results here:

I work in my sketchbook daily. Small drawings or 10 pages - does not matter - I enjoy the continuity and flexibility, the rhythm. Sketchbook became an art form in itself for me.

I am honored to be a part of this blog and look forward to sharing my work here.

You can view more of my works at:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Pastime Hardware Sketches

Wire Winding & Measuring Machine, Ink & Watercolor
Wire Winding and Measuring Machine, ink & watercolor
The crew at Pastime Hardware remembered us from our previous night there last year and treated us like honored guests. I found this old wire measuring machine and grabbed a nearby step stool to sit and sketch.

Orion Key Grinding Machine, ink & watercolor
Orion Key Grinding Machine, Ink & watercolor & piece of an Ace bag
While I sketched this key grinding machine, an employee swept nearby, preparing for closing. Then he showed me his dustpan full of what looked like gold dust from the key machine.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Claremont Diner by Sonia

Claremont Diner at night by Sonia Tamez
I love the Claremont Diner with its Art Deco motif, homey cooked food with a few surprises & warm hospitality on a cold, dark night.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas in SF

The Delancy Street tree lot on the Embarcadero near the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bundled Up and Busy on BART (Subway Sketches)

Bundled up and Busy on BART, ink sketch
Bundled up and Busy on BART, by Jana Bouc
BART is the name of the subway system in the SF Bay Area. My ride to work is a total of 13 minutes with 4 stops. I never know when I start to sketch if someone will be getting off at the next stop. Makes it an adventure to try to draw quickly enough.
Wheelchair Rider with Rear View Mirror
Wheelchair guy with rear view mirror
The Bay Area was ahead of the country in making transit and neighborhoods accessible to people with disabilities.

More from Currylicious

Monday, December 6, 2010

Currylicious by Sonia

Currylicious by Sonia Tamez, ink & watercolor (click to enlarge)

Cathy and Sonia went to Currilicious on College Avenue (

The restaurant features great Northern Indian and Pakistani food in a wonderful setting. As you can see from our sketches, the restaurant walls are spice colored--tamarind, turmeric, and chili cooled down with turquoise and lime.  The owner and staff gave us a warm welcome as we came in from the cold to paint and feast on the delicious food and atmosphere.