Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rally to Save the Berkeley Main Post Office

Historic Post Offices, like the main Berkeley one, are endangered across the country according to the National Trust, but Berkeley is pushing back. About 100 people came out last week to demand protection of their post office and consideration of alternatives to closure and divestment. And our urban sketching group was there to document the protest (see other sketcher posts on this site).

The exterior of this Renaissance inspired building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a critical part of Berkeley's streetscape.  The interior contains an exquisite painting (apparently on a type of canvas affixed to the wall) illustrating aspects of California's history. Such  artwork was commissioned during the Depression through programs that put people to work to enhance the country's infrastructure for the public good.  I can't help but reflect and contrast how during this economic downturn we are seeing the loss of our cultural patrimony. What kind of a legacy are we leaving?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Marmot Mountain Works in Berkeley closed!

Former Home of Marmot Mountain Works

From Mortuary to Marmot Mountain Works To...?

Marmot Mountain Works, Berkeley, Ink & watercolor, 8×5″

Built in 1923 as the Hull & Durgin funeral home, this storybook-like building became the home of outdoor gear store Marmot Mountain works in 1976. In March 2012 Marmot closed up shop and the building is now for sale. Before it disappeared (but hope it doesn't) we had to go sketch it.
The building and it's original owners had quite a colorful history going back to the late 1800s when they were half furniture store, half mortuary. You can read more about the story on my blog, JanasJournal.com

Around the House

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


One of our sketchers has been stuck at home after a recent surgery, so we brought our sketchbooks, pens, pencils and colors to her house to sketch, and hopefully liven up her day a little! There are lots of angles and levels in her house, great perspective challenges, so I thought I'd give it a try. One view I tried was pretty much the wrong way up before I even started but the other was a little simpler so it worked out ok (i think). I love the mobile/lights, they are in gentle movement all the time. Her dog is wonderfully graphic in his short black and white coat and (invisible) puppy-ish demeanor. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Secret Urban Wave Garden

Watercolor painting of Wave Garden from sketch, 9x12"
One of our members, Susan Ford, is a landscape designer and she discovered this amazing urban garden in Pt. Richmond that overlooks the bay, known as the Wave Garden. I painted the larger watercolor above by working from my on-site sketch (below) as well as from memory and a funky cell phone photo.
Sketch made on site of Wave Garden, 5x8"
The owners of the property, whose home is just above the garden, bought the vacant lot, hired a concrete sculptor to create winding paths, walls and little nooks with seating areas, all with views of the Bay, and hired a landscape designer to fill it with colorful, abundant plants. And then they quietly opened the property to the public! It is a peaceful, quiet, serene retreat just minutes from the freeway.

Please visit my blog, JanasJournal.com to see more about the Wave Garden, with photos, videos and location.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stadionbad Vienna

I took a trip to Vienna and spent some time fighting the heat at 'Stadionbad' - one of Europe's largest public swimming pool facilities. Here is one spread covering the ongoings :-).
More on www.visualflaneur.com

Take care!