Friday, August 31, 2012

Sketching Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto

Earthly Goods, Shattuck & Vine, Berkeley, ink & watercolor, 8x5"
 Back in the 1970s when Chez Panisse first opened, the neighboring area became known as Gourmet Ghetto, and it has continued in that tradition since then. The area is packed with wonderful foodie joints, fine restaurants and specialty food shops as well as boutiques like Earthly Goods (above).

The French Hotel has lost part of its neon sign. Ink & watercolor, 8x5"
The French Hotel (above) is in the same neighborhood and has a great espresso bar on the ground floor. A couple of doors down is the Cheese Board Collective, famous for their special pizzas that people line up for while being entertained by a jazz band and then eat, picnic style, on the center median strip of Shattuck, despite signs saying not to. (My previous post has funny video of people breaking that particular rule.)


Sketches from a trip to Minneapolis. Flour mills still stand along the Mississippi though they are no longer in operation. Bridges cross the river in many places and the farmer's market near the Guthrie Theater had a giant savoy cabbage!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

NYC, Washington DC Aug 14-26

Some sketches from my recent trip.
New York City — Times Square   A summer storm started up and I wasn't able to color it. 
One of the streets at Times Square, from the top of some steps

The Main Library, one of the pair of iconic lions on either side of the steps.
The New York City Public Library, main branch

 Grand Central Station — there was a small group of people promoting peace, prompting the police to stand around making sure the peace didn't escape? ("keepers of the peace"?!)
Grand Central Station, New York City
Tarrytown, NY — I took my daughter out of town on the northern light rail. We visited the historic Rockefeller house, Kuykuit. It sits high on a hill overlooking the Hudson River. It was donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is operated by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Their religion is what initially drove their generosity, and they started many worthwhile projects in many communities worldwide. Kuykit means "hill top", Scottish.
Kuykuit - the relatively humble mansion of four generations
of the Rockefellers, some of whom still live on the property

Philadelphia — I was hoping to see the Barnes Collection, opened earlier this year. Purchase tickets in advance if you want to go, it's been sold out every day! The Rodin Museum, recently renovated, is now open — I spent much of the day there.
One of the works at the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia

The Three Shades by Rodin

Washington, DC — The National Postal Museum
An early mail plane. There was a mail train, and the mail sorters had a mascot, Owney, who accompanied them all over the U.S. along the various mail routes. The National Postal Museum

The National Natural History Museum – this bird is now extinct
This poor bird, of course they killed the last one. Related to the Mud Hen.
The National Natural History Museum relegates it to a poorly-lit downstairs hallway.

College & Ashby Ave.

Lately I've been interested in panoramas. I think they have a good potential for showing a varied "slice of life", especially in urban settings. With the addition of people, that might become apparent, but here, I just have one person, a woman waiting at the light on her bike with tot-extension. I colored this after getting home — so much pavement!
College and Ashby, Berkeley by Micaela

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meet the Sketchers: Carrie Lee McClish

Sketching became a part of my life when I was in elementary school in the early 1970s. Only then I used a No. 2 pencil and ruled notebook paper, the kind with three holes on the left-hand side of the page. It is far different from the pocket sketchbooks, watercolor pencils and fountain pens that I use today.
Men on a bench

I seldom leave home without something to draw with or draw on. I've drawn during difficult times: I sketched I.V. bottles, walkers when my mother was in the hospital. I also recorded happier times: while on vacation in Italy I drew Mount Vesuvius!  My drawing looked even better than the post card.

@ the Bread Workshop in Berkeley

I feel so fortunate to be part of this Tuesday evening sketch group here on the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area where I was introduced to urban sketching. Each week is a destination – one week we’d turn up at a pub, the next week a pet store. Recently we sketched at a library – located in a historic building – that we learned would soon close because of budget cuts. I’ve learned a lot about drawing during these weekly treks and along the way I have also learned so very much of the world around me.

inside a Berkeley boutique

Monday, August 27, 2012

Meet the Sketchers: Cristina Siegerist

I have always liked drawing but somehow I ended up in a career in computer science. Just a few years ago I took a drawing class and I was hooked to the habit of keeping a sketchbook. I have been going out sketching around the city by myself but when I met the group of local Urban Sketchers I immediately joined them. Seeing the work of other people is very inspiring and it's a delight to browse the pages of sketches from around the world.
North Beach, San Francisco
Embarcadero, San Francisco

Around Town

Here are some sketches from San Francisco and Berkeley. Places I was this summer.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Normandy Village on Berkeley's Northside

Normandy Village, ink & watercolor, 8x5"
This sketch is from all the way back in May, which seems like such a long time ago now. Somehow it got lost in my sketchbook and never posted. 

You can read more about Normandy Village on my blog,, It was built in the 1920s as a copy of a village in rural France and is now quirky condos, located around the corner from the UC Berkeley campus.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

…on pushing a swing – in business terms

The other day I watched dads push their kids on a swing. Their efforts progressed via four stages, maybe not too dissimilar  to other endeavors…

more on

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mr. Wong's Giant Bonsai Trees

Mr. Wong's Giant Bonsai, ink & watercolor, 8x5"
The 90-year-old owner of this house on Allston and McGee in Berkeley has trimmed the bonsai trees in his garden for 50 years and they are beautiful. I enjoyed sketching from in front of his house while my sketch buddies took posts across the street and on the corner.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

La Val's Northside Sketching by Sonia Tamez

A fine Monday evening with fellow sketchers. (Please see  Jana's, Cathy's, and Micaela's sketches and the link to Gail's in this blog).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Northside Sketching: Berkeley Campus

Hearst and Euclid View onto U.C. Berkeley Campus 
Last week Gail Wong, Urban Sketcher from Seattle was in the Bay Area and we had the privilege of sketching with her on Berkeley's Euclid Ave. Northside area. You can see Gail's sketch, story and the photo she took of us that evening on the Seattle Urban Sketchers blog here. I loved getting to see her amazing work and it was fun sharing sketchbooks all around.

While we were sketching, the nearby Chevron Refinery had a huge fire. You can read more about the sketching night and the refinery fire on my blog

Northside Sketching

Euclid Avenue (by Cathy McAuliffe)

UC Berkeley campus, on the way to Euclid Ave.

The campanile, as the sun was going down
I didn't do the Physiology building justice.

This singer was at Café Trieste the evening before. She does older songs, and has a guitar accompanist. The dessert was to die for - a small, richly chocolate-y cake sort of thing, which, when heated, melts deliciously!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Berkeley Main Post Office To Be Sold

Berkeley Main Post Office, ink & watercolor, 5x8"
 When we heard the historic Berkeley main post office was going to be sold, we went to sketch there, on the same evening there was a rally protesting the closure and sale.
Protesting the Sale of the Post Office
By the time I found parking and got set up the rally was nearly over but I was able to capture a few of the protesters and my favorite, the patient Great Dane who stood there calmly waiting. More about the evening on my blog, and below in Cathy and Sonia's posts.