Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Tip O’ The Hat to The Tip Top Bike Shop

Tip Top Bike Shop’s owner Dave Way welcomed us sketchers to his Temescal shop to sketch. He talked about  how Oakland is bike friendly. He and his staff work with a large diverse group. Most of their clients have daily commuter bikes. They also support weekend bicyclists. 

This is the door display of colorful caps to top it off.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Tip Top Sketching at Tip Top Bike Shop

This bike shop in Oakland invited us in for an afternoon of sketching. Turns out spokes are WAY harder to draw than I expected! They have all kinds of bikes which made for all kinds of sketching options. My favorite was a Dutch bike that was in for a tuneup. It gave me some practice for all the bikes I will see in Amsterdam this summer. Thanks for having us Tip Top! — Cathy McAuliffe

Tip Top Bike shop

This bike shop is close to Oakland and Berkeley bike commuters. They have a great team, and wonderful bikes of all kinds, including folding and motor-assist (e) bikes. I for some odd reason thought I would "warm up" on a drawing of a row of bikes, but this turned out to be silly as it took a long time and was pretty complex. Next time I will start with something simpler!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Fieldwork in Berkeley

Lots of beer being brewed. Lots of beer being enjoyed. Lots of sketching of all of it.
– Cathy McAuliffe

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Fieldwork Craft Brewery, Berkeley

Are you a fan of stout ale? Okay, then make your way to Fieldwork and order a pint of Shtickless.

Described as a "plain ol' stout" -- it's anything but! A deep, dark and chewy 6.3% ABV classic with flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, cedar and bready malts. Delicious!!

While you're enjoying your Shtickless, peruse the other creative beer names. A few can be seen above.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Doing Fieldwork

We had so much fun last night sketching at Fieldwork Brewing Company, Berkeley. I am fascinated by the equipment, but there is so much more to sketch and enjoy! Thank you Fieldwork for creating such a warm, hospitable place to get together and for welcoming us.  #fieldworkbrewingco 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Jack London Square -- the New Chicago?

Jack London Square: the New Chicago? Well maybe in my own mind. On a grey day I wandered around Jack London Square discovering some eclectic buildings. I am not sure if these are dwellings or offices. They were  a surprise to see in a warehouse district. Reminded me of downtown Chicago which is a very colorful place as well ---Vivian Aldridge


Monday, January 28, 2019

Petaluma Mill -- Full of Surprises

Very close to the middle of town stands the Petaluma Mill built in 1854 as a storage place for wild game. In 1853, the building was used to store grain, potatoes, and hops. In 1975 this place was slated for demolition but instead was rehabilitated into a single connected commercial center. These days it is home to a variety of small businesses including a wine tasting room and two restaurants.

Before I even read the history about this place I was visually attracted to the building and just had to paint it. Who knew it was a thriving commercial center. Next time I am going inside! --Vivian Aldridge


Friday, January 25, 2019

Fare Please

Went to the San Francisco Railway Museum and learned all about the streetcar system in the city. Great displays and artifacts from the system's history. I remember fare boxes like these and the sound they made when the operator turned a crank and all the coins would clank into the collection box.
— Cathy McAuliffe

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Cautionary Lights Optional - San Francisco Railway Museum

A sketch of my recent visit to a free little museum in San Francisco all about the history of our street car system. If you hunt around you can find some interesting tidbits like traffic lights manufactured with no middle yellow light! Even more interesting are visitors who wander into the museum and talk about "the way things were back in the day." --Vivian Aldridge

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Space Oddity, Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland

1967-1971: Soyuz 7K-OK Descent Module
"This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today.
For here am I sitting in my tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do . . . . "
Space Oddity, David Bowie, 1969

Oakland's Chabot Space and Science Center has exhibits, telescopes, a planetarium and an array of space-race relics, like the Vostok ejector seat and the Soyuz descent module, both Russian c. 1960's. Does Putin know about this? Susan Ford

1961: Yuri Gagarin, 1st human in space.
His ejector seat from the Soviet Vostok. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

History on Display at Rincon Center

When they were converting Rincon Annex Post Office into Rincon Center a complex of shops, restaurants, offices, and apartments in San Francisco there was archaeological as well as construction work going on. Besides saving the exterior of the Post Office completed in 1940, the lobby and
the renowned "History of California" mural, composed of 27 watercolor murals painted by Anton Refregier artifacts from the earlier history of the location were saved and are on display. – Cathy McAuliffe

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Crows Amid the Deco at Rincon Center

Rincon Center, located on Mission Street in San Francisco is quite mysterious in the morning.
If you walk by, you will see crows thick as thieves in the trees along the street, and my oh they raise a ruckus.  Later in the day however, they all leave and one can walk into the lobby to enjoy the old post office whose interior has been refurbished to its original deco beauty. Not only that, but you can also enjoy 27 WPA murals by Anton Refregier. --- Vivian Aldridge

Monday, January 7, 2019

Very Dark at Chabot Space & Science Center

There was lots to sketch and lots to see here last Friday evening. Went to the Observatory as they were setting the giant telescope for that evening's viewing. Got started on my sketch just as they turned out all the lights! (Oh yeah, you would want it dark when you are using the telescope...) So the rest of the sketch was done in the dark. But it turned out to be my favorite sketch of the night. The space suits on display were very good subjects. It is amazing how small the Mercury space capsule was. I can't imagine being stuffed into it and then being shot into space! — Cathy McAuliffe

Keeping Time at the Chabot Space and Science Center

We had a great time at the Center during their First Friday event!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Search the Heavens with Your One Good Eye -- Chabot Space and Science Center

Every first Friday of the month you can visit this space and science center for only $5.
Not only can you look through the telescopes, you can build one too! -- Vivian Aldridge

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Monday, December 31, 2018

Celebraring At Sahara’s, Oakland

As Yassir said “ We may come from different directions, but we came in through the same door” . Thank you  Moustafa for your gracious hosting of this wonderful celebration ( and letting us sketch). We also want to extend our appreciation to musicians Badr, Arnie, Yassir, and Abdullah and the cooks and dancers for a memorable evening.

Couscous and Concert

We were able to sketch at this year's celebration at Sahara Import on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. Each year they invite the community to join them for a couscous dinner and wonderful Moroccan music. The store is full of very sketchable  treasures and the party, the musicians and the owner's very generous hospitality made it a wonderful event. _ Cathy McAuliffe

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

My wife and I stayed in a hostel at Pigeon Point Lighthouse last week. What a fantastic place! We had a private room in one of the Lighthouse keeper's old houses. In fact, since it was midweek, we had the entire house to ourselves. It was so cool to look out the window of either our bedroom or living room and see the lighthouse only 50 feet away.
All three sketches were painted on location using watercolor on Arches cold press paper.

Buddha Sculpture

Focused on Buddha statue at J&C's house.  What a delightful afternoon in their sunny living room surrounded by so many interesting collectables.

Friday, December 21, 2018


Surrounded by antiques — all sorts of interesting objects I can't even describe! I had to focus, so chose art and perspective.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Beautiful Collection

Thank you, J and C for a creative afternoon sketching your beautiful collection.

A wonderful time was had by all of us.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Holiday Time in Berkeley

It is our tradition to go to Fourth Street In Berkeley to sketch the amazing holiday lights. It was a bit warmer this year so some of us stayed outside the whole evening to sketch. Others of us found a seat by the window and sketched from inside a restaurant. Either way the lights (and the sketches) were great. – Cathy McAuliffe

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Mannequinn Madness, Oakland

Mannequin Madness: "the one stop shop for all things mannequin." Owner Judi Townsend repairs, recycles, rents and sells mannequins, torsos, heads, hands, feet and more.

It was fun overhearing customers' plans for their purchases. Creative examples on display that day were a mannequin with a computer screen head and a torso covered with silk leaves and flowers.

Thanks, Judi for the opportunity to sketch some of the Mannequin Madness.