Monday, June 25, 2012

Albina Street House & Garden

Some sketches from our return trip to the Victorian on Albina Street in Berkeley. See below for Michaela and Jana's sketches

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Albina Street

 There were many wonderful rooms and furnishings inside this magnificent house. I could have spent days finding wonderful corners and interesting objects to record.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Back to Albina Street

Cathy Sketching in the Garden at Albina Street Victorian 
We were fortunate to be invited back for more sketching at the amazing Albina Street Victorian I was interested in that curvy shape below the edge of the roof. That motif is repeated throughout the exterior and interior of the house. 
Our whole Urban Sketchers group was there and at the end of the evening we spread out our sketchbooks for the owner to photograph for his scrapbook. Cathy (that's her sketching above) outdid herself with a half dozen renderings of the rare and unique palms and other trees in the garden and Micaela captured some wonderful interior scenes. Their sketches (and others) will appear above this one as soon as they get a chance to post them. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blackberry Blossoms

Early this morning while walking my dogs, a wild blackberry bush in full bloom caught my eye. Stepping into the weeds off the dirt road for a closer look, I admired the delicate pink blossoms growing among its thorny mesh of canes. I remember from previous years that these blooms don't last long. In a few days, the pink petals will curl back allowing fruit to swell from its many ovaries. Then in a few weeks, the young fruit will change from light green to a rich black pigment, ripe for picking.
With my dogs panting from the heat, I decided to pause and sit under a nearby tree, pulling out my sketchbook to pass the time. A gentle breeze swayed the branches above, dancing sunlight across the page where I painted the blackberry bush.
The blackberry is one of my favorite fruits. Luckily, wild berries are in abundance along creek beds in Sonoma County. Later this summer I’ll pick these aromatic beauties to top off yogurt, breakfast cereal, ice cream, and to make filling for pies. If I can find enough berries, I’ll even make blackberry jam. I remember when I was young and ambitiously picked berries along a creek behind our family’s house. By days end, grocery bags of fruit lined the walls of our kitchen, bewildering my mother. “What to do with it all?” she asked.
Then it was suggested we make jelly and the project began. We heated, mashed and stirred the berries into syrup, and copious amounts of sugar and pectin thickened it hard, even to the point of being difficult to spread on toast. But despite its thickness, the finished jelly tasted like summer and we ate it profusely. We loaded it on breakfast biscuits and accompanied it with peanut butter on bread. The one batch happily lasted for years. We loved it not only because it tasted good but because of the care we put into making it.
I knew it was time to finish sketching when I felt the tongues of two restless dogs licking my feet. I obliged and packed up my gear, heading home for a cool drink and to search for jelly jars, hopefully still packed away in the garage and waiting for use.

More Around Town

At El Cerrito Natural Grocery, ink & watercolor, 8x5"
I sketched this from a corner at the back of El Cerrito Natural Grocery the same night Cathy drew the funny chickens from their meat department in her post below. I was so tired that night that I left my sketchbook behind in the shopping cart I used as a table. It's a good thing I had "If lost please call..." with my phone number on the first page.
Outside Peet's Coffee by Center for the Blind
This blind woman was waiting at for a friend at the next table while people waited at the bus stop behind her.

More about these two sketches on my blog here   

Around Town

Some random sketches around the East Bay

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sense of Place – New feature in the Press Democrat Newspaper

Exciting news! Starting today and continuing every other Sunday, my sketches along with a brief story, will be featured in the Towns section of Sonoma County’s Newspaper, The Press Democrat. Alternating weeks will feature stories by Author Dawson. The column will be published online and in the print edition each week.

The Press Democrat article online:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Same Corner in Oakland

We all sketched the same great house on the corner. See Jana's version below. I also loved all the power lines across the street.

Temescal Tidbits, Oakland

Temescal Clark Street Victorian, ink & watercolor, 5.5x8"
Although my wonky sketch makes it look rather spooky, this is actually a lovely, well-maintained home in the Temescal district of Oakland. 

Barber's motorcycle, ink, 4x6"
We met for our Tuesday evening sketching in Temescal Alley, a historic semi-restored block of tiny shops that was formerly a horse stable. Temescal Alley Barber Shop is an amazing place with old-fashioned everything (except the barbers who are anything but old-fashioned). 

Temescal Alley Barber Shop door

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The crowning of a champion

Today, a champion was crowned. A champion of dogs in costume. Where else but in San Francisco's Dolores Park :-). More on this event as well as Bay to Breakers and the Mission Carnaval at and