Friday, August 26, 2011

Emeryville Marina Chevy's Sign at Sunset

Emeryville Marina Chevys Sign at Sunset, ink & watercolor
Emeryville Marina Chevy's Sign at Sunset
I noticed this palm tree-lined street when I was exiting Highway 80 in Emeryville and suggested it as a place for our Urban Sketchers group to meet. I guess the directions I provided to the spot weren't very good because everyone else went down to the end of the marina and I sketched alone until we met up at Chevy's at 8:30.

It's such a lovely spot, and yet so urban, within a couple blocks of two major freeways and the entrance to the Bay Bridge. Cathy's sketches of  the bay bridge and the freeway are just below this post.

Freeways and The Bay Bridge

The 880 freeway at Emeryville.
The existing Bridge built in 1936 and the tower being built for the new east span.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peanuts Statues at Charles M Schulz Airport

The Sonoma County Airport is located on the northwest side of Santa Rosa, and is named after one of the city’s most famous residents, Charles M. Schulz, creator of the long-running Peanuts comic strip. Although the airport is small, it has popular direct flights to and from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle.

Schulz was born and raised in Minnesota, but in 1969 moved to Santa Rosa and lived there until his death February 12, 2000. Bronze statues of Charlie Brown and Linus were dedicated to the airport in 2007 and funded through Peanuts on Parade Sculpture Auctions. I was lucky enough to paint one of the five foot tall Charlie Brown sculptures for display as well as for the fundraising event. The Auction raked in about $300,000, with my entry fetching $15,000. The bulk of proceeds were used to fund artistic scholarships.

Wings Over Wine Country Air Show takes place adjacent to the airport, each year in late August. While attending last weekend’s event, I chose to paint this red Stearman biplane. It was the closest thing I could find resembling the triplane of Snoopy’s arch enemy, the Red Baron.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Seagull at Doran Beach, Bodega Bay

If you’ve ever seen Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds” then you’ll probably understand the experience my wife and I had today at Bodega bay. While enjoying a pick-nick lunch on Doran beach, seagulls showed up one by one and surrounded us from all sides. They stared. They glared. And when we looked away, they stepped closer. The first bird to arrive (sketched above) told me mater-of-factly that he was sick to death of seafood and wanted to eat my turkey sandwich.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monterey Market

Summer Scenes

Sonoma, California
I had the honor of participating in the amazing Dalvero Academy Session in the greater SF Bay area this summer. Here are a few sketches from my 3 notebooks.




Monday, August 15, 2011

Windsor Town Green

Early last Sunday morning, I was in the town of Windsor with my sketchbook friend Phil. We sat on a bench in the new “old town” section and enjoyed the crisp morning air while sketching. Several people stopped by to see what we were up to as they walked around the Town Green with their dogs, strollers, and kids.

Originally lacking a central gathering area for Windsor residents, a few years ago the city built this new downtown area with bookstores, candy stores, antique shops, and restaurants. Although this section of town was made to look older than it is, it’s great for sketching because of the variety of buildings and decades old oak trees that populate the area. Directly behind where I was drawing is a huge grass park where live concerts and outdoor movies are shown throughout the summer months.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Good Beer, Fun Sketching at Pyramid Alehouse, Berkeley

Pyramid Brewery Tanks and Tipplers, ink & watercolor 7x5"
Sketching at Pyramid Alehouse
I'd sketched at Pyramid in the evening before, (here and here) but this was the first time it was light in the brewery area. We could see the network of pipes and vessels where they brew the beer through the giant windows.

Food Trucks in Berkeley

Picking Wild Blackberries

With a bag over my shoulder and a sketchbook in hand, I walk down the fire road near my house to a hidden blackberry bush bursting with ripe fruit. After a long week of working indoors, it feels good to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Even with this summer’s strangely cool weather (10 degrees below normal), blackberries are in abundance and tastier than ever. As I face the bush, a shapeless mass of green, a sweet aroma lures me closer.

Today I plan to paint the blackberries before filling up my container with fruit. I walk around the bush looking for a good place to draw, and find a good spot under a shade tree. I reach for my paints and study the berries in their various stages of ripeness, colors ranging from inky black to brilliant red, glowing in the afternoon sun. A couple of bees check out what’s up, but soon buzz off to more important matters.

While letting the watercolor dry, I pull a bowl from my bag and pick the ripe fruit, berry by berry. Pigment from the juice stains my fingers as I loosen each piece of fruit. Carefully, I try to avoid the bush’s sharp thorns but inevitably one will poke me, reminding me of the pain that often accompanies life’s pleasures and keeps the easily intimidated away. I eat some berries right off the bush, enjoying each one’s distinctive taste. Some are soft and sweet, and others are firm and tart. But what I love most is the inviting fragrance that smells like a sweet perfume.

Returning home with battle scars of pokes and scrapes, along with a bowl full of blackberries, I imagine how good they’ll taste topping off homemade ice cream and tomorrow morning’s breakfast cereal.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Twisted Roots

Recently, I attended the Picasso exhibit in San Francisco, parking along John F. Kennedy Dr. to admire this beautiful tree across the street from the De Young Museum. It reminds me of when I first moved to San Francisco and used to mountain bike through Golden Gate Park every day after work, one of the more pleasurable things I remember about living in the city.

One day while riding past the Museum, I spotted this amazing tree at roadside. For months I rode past it and told myself that one day I would bring my sketchbook along to draw it. Back then, I hadn’t spent much time sketching in public places and was leery of trying. Finally one Sunday morning I got up the courage to set up a chair along the busy road and draw the tree. Passersby stopped to watch me as I drew, and some even thanked me for bringing their attention to the tree, which they had never noticed before.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sip and Swim in Pt. Richmond

Pt. Richmond Plunge (AKA Municipal Natatorium)
It was so cold, cloudy and windy the morning my plein air group met to paint in Pt. Richmond I decided to start out by sketching from my car. The old Richmond Plunge, now completely and beautifully restored, is the first thing you see when you drive into Pt. Richmond.

Little Louies Cafe, Pt. Richmond

I headed to the main street of this little town, looking for a spot out of the wind to sketch. But I was seduced indoors by seeing my friend Sonia sketching at a table in Little Louie's, sipping a warm cup of tea. I started my sketch by drawing the tray of apples on our table and then just kept going, drawing each next thing I saw. I was a little worried about getting the wonderful patterned floor tiles right, but took it slowly and they came out ok.