Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sketching at the Hardware Store

Original version done at Pastime Hardware, ink & watercolor, 5x7"
I stood and sketched between the paint solvent and cleaning product aisles (both stinky), using an aisle-end shelf for my paints. When we finished and shared our work, I realized that in the original sketch above, I had ignored the fact that it was dark outside. 
Sketch finished at home with dark windows
So when I got home I painted all the dark windows. I’m not sure which I like better. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pocket Park with Guy on Roof

Pocket Park Beside Albany Hill, ink & watercolor  by Jana Bouc

Our pseudo-summer continues (now turning into a serious drought) and with the sun shining, I decided to go for a walk and find a spot to paint outdoors instead of in the studio. As I walked by the little pocket park alongside Albany Hill, this cul-de-sac called out, “Paint Me!” With a handy picnic table right there to lay out my paints, how could I resist?
Although I usually sketch directly in pen, this scene was so complicated I decided to draw in pencil first. When I was almost done with the drawing I spotted a guy on his roof with a string of holiday lights. Do you see him? I know it looks like he’s standing on top of a tree but his house is just behind the tree. I think I made him a bit of a giant!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa 4

Merry Christmas, or if you're not celebrating Christmas, Happy Whatever You're Celebrating or just have a great day!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


San Francisco Santa Sketch (see Jana's previous post).

Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 23, 2011

December 2011: Pines

December 2011: Pines
Originally uploaded by apple-pine

Palo Alto pine trees continue to be cut to pieces. I tried to console myself by spending some time drawing the process but it was surprisingly hard to hear the sound of broken limbs when I am so close to it. Street looks foreign. Click on the image to see more sketches form this series.

We Share Our Santa Sketches with Santa and Wish you Merry Holidays

S.F. Bay Area Sketchers visit (and sketch) Santa. (L to R: Sonia, Cathy, Santa, Jana and Micaela) 
Santa's elves behind the camera had quite a time trying to get all of us and our sketches of Santa in the photo. I wish more of our group had been able to join us that evening and get in the picture too.

I posted my sketch with a bit of a story about the evening here on We asked him to sign our sketches and he did: "Santa James." He was the sweetest, most patient and jolly gentleman I've ever met.

Happy Holidays from the San Francisco Bay Area Urban Sketchers!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 2011: Shortest Day this Year

December 2011: Shortest Day this Year
Originally uploaded by apple-pine

Quick walk before darkness swallowed streets of Palo Alto - but great lights all around :) Happy Holidays to you all!

Model Shoe Renew & Triple Rock Brewery on Shattuck Ave, Berkeley

My family has been going to Model Shoe Renew for
many years. They of course, resole, but also sell
shoes, and backpacks, wallets, purses, socks...
Triple Rock has great beer. The waitress was working
on the order terminal, but I didn't get that in there, so 
she looks like she's pointing at something.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sketching Around Berkeley

Caffe Trieste, waiting for the music to start

Patio at Peet's Coffee, 4th Street

On the table at Saul's Deli, waiting for dinner
Happy Saul's Deli diners

Dining and talking at Saul's Deli


Since it was a cold night, we headed over to Brennan's. It's now in the old train station and has great dark-green walls. Eating is cafeteria-style, hearty food, irish coffees are a mainstay if you don't mind a wobbly line! (I didn't participate in that this time...). 

I started with the woman in the distance on the right, I had no idea if I would ever get to the other side of the page, much less the other side of the OTHER page, but I did. It took up the whole evening but I enjoyed every minute of it.
Here's the panorama—

and the right page first then the left if you want a closer look.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Limerick Lane

Late Saturday morning, as I packed and prepped the bike for a ride into town, sub-freezing overnight temps were rising into the mid-40s. As I set out, a chill nipped my chin, but the sunshine and exercise kept me warm. After crossing Healdsburg’s Memorial Bridge and cruising down Old Redwood Highway, a left turn found me on Limerick Lane, a gently sloping winery-lined road that opens onto rolling vineyards.
At a quarter mile or so, the county road ends, branching into two private roads leading in opposite directions. Two old barns frame the rolling vineyard-covered hills. Here I hopped off my bike and unfolded the portable stool to draw amidst the wild grasses. The scent of woodsmoke drifted on a gentle breeze, along with faint, but not unpleasant, barnyard smells. I pulled out my landscape sketchbook and began to block in the larger shapes of the landscape.
Midway through my drawing, I heard a loud neigh just behind me. Spinning around, I found a beautiful cream and brown spotted horse a few feet away. It neighed again as if to ask, What are you up to?
My new friend made excellent company as I put the finishing touches on my painting. Then I packed up my gear and rode back toward town. With the sun now low in the west I felt the evening chill once again filling the valley. I hoped to make it home before dark, but I had miles to go before I could rest.

Occupy Berkeley

Occupy Oakland & Berkeley by Beth Bourland
Occupy Oakland & Berkeley by Beth Bourland
On December 9, fellow sketcher Beth Bourland and I went to Occupy Berkeley. In her blog, Beth notes the little girl playing near the Peace Wall, how the upside-down flag symbolizes distress, and the protester adjusting his tent.
Occupy Berkeley by Sonia Tamez
I was struck with the peaceful coexistence between the Berkeley Farmer's Market underway and the demonstrators' camp next door which I illustrated above.
Occupy Berkeley by Sonia Tamez
Towards the end of my stay, a group of carolers, with director and music stand came by, singing:

"We will occupy the streets. We will occupy the courts. We will occupy the offices of you. Until you do the bidding of the many, not the few."

I wasn't able to sketch them (had to beat it to the car before I got a ticket), but the memory stays with me.

Occupy Oakland

Occupy Oakland and Buddhist Peace Fellowship
The Buddhist Peace Fellowship sponsored Nine Minutes of Silence with Occupy Oakland on December 3:

"Three minutes to contemplate the past--the causes and factors that led us to this point.
Three minutes to rest in silence.
Three minutes to aspire to continue in non-violence."

Occupy San Francisco

Occupy San Francisco
On Dec 6, fellow sketcher Micaela and I went out to Occupy San Francisco at the foot of Market and across the street from the Ferry Building. The next morning, the campers were forcibly evicted.


Working in the Mission Bay section of San Francisco offers lots of opportunity for construction sketching.