Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Concert by Air Force Band

Concert by The Air Force Band of The Golden West

Graduation U C Davis, School of Medicine

My good friend Alyn graduated with honors last Saturday from UC Davis with a Doctor of Medicine Degree. I first met Alyn while planting flowers in a community garden back when I lived in San Francisco in the mid 1990’s and we’ve been friends ever since. Up until about 5 years ago, Alyn had an upwardly mobile job in Silicon Valley doing management work at a high profile software company. So why would she quit a terrific job to go back to school? To follow her dream of becoming a Doctor, of course! (I sketched this during the ceremony at the Mondavi Center for Performing Arts using one of my old hand stitched sketchbooks and a Pigma Micron #.3 pen)

(Ooops! Sorry about the screaming type (all caps) earlier. I didn't set it that way but somehow the "heading" setting got selected.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vineyard Workers Tilling a Cover Crop

While preparing my morning coffee, I was distracted by a motorized hum from the vineyard behind our house. Looking through the kitchen window, I spotted a dust cloud drifting skyward from the far hill. Then an orange tractor emerged from the cloud, rocking its way through the trellised vines. As I watched, tall cover crops of legumes, clover, vetch, and wild radish vanished under the tractor's belly, leaving only chocolate colored earth behind.
Thinking on my toes, I reached for my art bag, leaving the coffee untouched on the counter. I walked across the field between our house and the vineyard, carefully avoiding the sticky weeds so prevalent at this time of year.
At the bottom of the hill, a white truck pulled up at the same time as the tractor came to a halt. The smell of fresh cut vegetation and moist soil filled the air. I asked the two men if they were tilling the cover crop. The truck driver replied in a thick Spanish accent, “Yes, but only the upper vineyard." He added that the lower vineyard would soon be removed due to difficulty in growing Cabernet grapes in this soil.
After thanking the men, I walked back into the field and sketched them as they cleaned the tractor and packed up gear. With the overgrown cover crop now tilled into the soil, the vineyard looked trimmed and tidy. The trellised vines arched their way along the hill in rows, and I marveled at how quickly they'd grown. What had been buds just a few weeks ago, now canopied several feet in each direction, and with leaves soaking up the sun's rays, looked ready to flower.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Amazing Albina Street Victorian

A corner of the Albina Street Victorian, ink & watercolor, 8×5″
(sketched in ink on site, watercolor added at home)
Have you ever stood in front of an amazing house and wished the owner would appear and invite you inside? We were so lucky last Tuesday night because that's exactly what happened. The new owner saw us sketching and invited us in for a full tour and made sure we were on the fourth floor roof deck to see the sunset. 

Please visit my blog, JanasJournal.com for the full story and cool links to photos of the interior and exterior of the house. Scroll down to see Micaela's and Cathy's wonderful sketches.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Lueders house on Albina Street

This amazing, historical house was slowly restored over a period of 40 years by Tom Roe. I saw it first about 35 years ago, when it was still pretty neglected. It looked pretty hopeless, I have to say. There had been talk of tearing it down, but fortunately, this man came along to save it! http://baha-news.blogspot.com/2011/09/lueders-house-is-tom-roes-masterpiece.html 
The setting is really wonderful, with lush greenery all around, palms, cypress, monkey-tail tree and other plants I can't identify. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Healdsburg’s Farmers Market

Each year, Healdsburg’s Farmers Market opens on the first Saturday in May. Regardless of weather, it’s an early indicator that summer has arrived and our rainy season is over, until October.
I hopped off my bike and parked near the twin footbridges crossing Foss Creek. Stepping into the canopied market, I spotted everything from sausage, cheeses, and pork tamales, to plenty of colorful vegetables. Baskets overflowed with leafy greens, along with fava beans, carrots, asparagus, and fresh cut flowers. Off to one side, pots of tomato, pepper, and strawberry plants were available for the home gardener.
After making the rounds, I sat on a shady bench near the creek. The cool breeze of early morning had now settled into a warm stillness, persuading me to remove my jacket. As I reached for my backpack, its contents of colored pencils, sketchbooks, paints, and brushes spilled on the ground, causing me alarm, but no damage. After dusting off these supplies, I began to sketch.
Public places, like this market, are challenging for me to draw because people often move too fast to capture on paper. Looking into the crowds, I search for people lost in conversation so they stay put for a longer period of time. Sometimes when I start a drawing and the person moves away, I’ll look for another person in approximately the same position, and combine the two. And in this drawing, the static background of canopies, umbrellas, and food stands provides an anchor, and also reflects the festive atmosphere of the morning.
An hour passed when my wife Marilyn and her friend Sarah stopped by to say hello, with baskets full of fava beans, kale, and alstroemaria flowers. Marilyn mentioned the tomato plants at the far side of the market and how excited she is about our garden. I agreed, I can’t wait to plant a kitchen garden in our back yard this year. It’s been years since we’ve done so.
After finishing my drawing, I packed up my art supplies and rode home, excitement building at the thought of breaking out the dusty gardening tools to plant our very own vegetable garden.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mission - Revolution Cafe

I just stumbled across a reportage drawing I did there a while back at Revolution Cafe…

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Pear Tree and Vineyard in Spring

I've sketched this scene before and much has changed since I painted it last winter. The northward moving sun has warmed up the earth, and saffron-gold California poppies have replaced yellow mustard. Most of the grasses have morphed from green to yellow, orange, and dusty purple. The pear tree, recently all bare branches, was covered in fluffy white “popcorn ball” blossoms that attract bees. In the distance, a cover crop has grown tall amongst the vines pruned in February, and several wooden vine posts now sag from the weight of winter rains.
(The full story can be read on my blog: http://www.theartistontheroad.com/?p=3051 )

Sketchcrawl 35

Friday, May 4, 2012

International Sketchcrawl 35

Sketchcrawl 35 was fantastic! The weather in San Francisco was unusually beautiful, warm and sunny and there was so much to see and do.

Waiting with flowers at MacArthur BART Station
Sketched Standing on the BART Platform
Reading an Actual BOOK on BART
Reading a REAL book on BART on the way to SF
He reminded me of Jay and Silent Bob in Clerks
A look alike for Jay (of Jay and Silent Bob from Clerks)? 
 He reminded me of Jay from the movie Clerks (you can see a photo of Jay on my blog here)

Cathy and another sketcher at Caffe Trieste in North Beach
Cathy at Caffe Trieste
Cathy was sitting at my sidewalk table sketching someone behind me so I sketched her while the group gathered at Caffe Trieste, the starting point for the sketchcrawl. 

Molinari's Deli where we bought lunch
Molinari's Deli
Cathy and I bought lunch for later and then stood in opposite corners of the store to sketch the counter guys at Molinari's Deli in North Beach. I'll be posting more sketches from the day here and on my blog over the next few days. 

Occupy the Farm

I wrote a long post a few days ago, but somehow it got lost it before I got it published. Here's the short version. Tuesday May 1, we visited Occupy the Farm, which is in Albany, CA on land owned by the University of California. This area is sometimes used for bio-testing of crops, and other times seems to lie fallow. It's currently being gardened by some people interested in the Occupy concept. A university spokeswoman arrived and warned us of arrest, but the police assured us we would not be arrested that day. We continued sketching as the sun was slowly falling behind the horizon. 

Robert Rue Vineyards and Winery

On the second weekend of The Wine Road’s Barrel Tasting event I visited Robert Rue Vineyards and Winery.

An old barn once used as a production facility.

Robert Rue (owner of winery)
Vintage wine bottling machine.

Robert Rue's new winery facility and 100 year old vineyard.

Rue Winemaker, Dan Barwick, as he provided barrel samples of their 2011 Zinfandel to tasters.

The full story is blogged at: http://www.theartistontheroad.com/?p=2931

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pedroncelli Winery, Barrel Tasting Weekend

Barrel Tasting is one of Sonoma County’s most popular annual wine events and also my favorite. Over the course of two weekends, more than 20,000 tasters converge upon Healdsburg and the surrounding area to sample young wines right out of the barrels where they age. The weekends also provide the opportunity to purchase wine “futures” on upcoming releases. The discounts are hard to pass up, and many limited-release wines sell out before they’re even bottled.
What I appreciate most about Barrel Tasting is that winemakers, cellar masters and winery owners are available to answer questions, providing an insider’s view of the winemaking world not often available to the public.

More of my story blogged at: http://www.theartistontheroad.com/?p=2914

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

sketchcrawl 35

During Sketchcrawl 35 I traveled to San Francisco where people were partaking in the sunny weather: at Pier 39 I joined crowds of folks who stopped to take a peek at the resident sea lions (above) who were swimming and sunning themselves; I also found these men chatting on a bench beneath this tree at Washington Park.
From Sketchcrawl #35, through North Beach in San Francisco.
Enrico, originator of the worldwide Sketchcrawl, and Diane, Dr. Sketchy organizer, outside Cafe Trieste at the start.

It was a glorious day, and Washington Square Park filled up with people in the sun and shade.

This couple had a long conversation in the shade, giving me plenty of time to finish the sketch.

The olive oil bottle cast a beautiful golden glow on the salt shaker while I was waiting for my salad at Cafe Michaelangelo. The red and green tablecloth added great colors to the oil bottle.