Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Roses in Berkeley

The Berkeley Rose Garden was one of the first Civil Works Progress Projects built under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It was conceived in 1933 and completed and dedicated for public use in September 1937.The terraced amphitheatre and 220-foot-long redwood pergola were suggested by architect Bernard Maybeck. A block away is Rose Walk Berkeley’s only pedestrian pathway where the buildings were designed to integrate the walk with a planned development. This summer I sketched both landmarks. — Cathy McAuliffe

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Navarro River, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County

Reframing the view, three on an A4 sketchbook page

Heavenly! Time spent contemplating and painting the Navarro River in Anderson Valley, Mendocino County.

Inspiration and techniques from Virginia Hein's book 5-Minute Sketching Landscapes; reframing the view. Painted three views in quick succession.

Took Tom Hoffman's lead with the 1-1/2 inch Angular Wash brush. Happily, one cannot get overly fussy plying this brush. And it's larger than I'm used to, so results may vary. ~~Susan Ford

Though appearing green, the water was refreshing and not at all algae-ridden

Bierhaus, Temescal neighborhood, Oakland

Across 40th Street from Bierhaus, Oakland
An enjoyable summer evening: Sketching with friends on the outside patio @ Bierhaus -- enjoying a brew and some German-inspired food. Marc and wait staff were kind and welcoming. Thanks for the opportunity, Bierhaus! ~~Susan Ford

Monday, August 5, 2019


Met with our urban sketching group at Bierhaus. Across the street was an oddly shaped residence that I felt compelled to capture. -- Vivian Aldridge

Friday, August 2, 2019

Oakland or Amsterdam?

Like being back in Amsterdam. Well, almost. Evening sketching at sidewalk tables, beer, fries with mayo, canals. OK, no canals, it’s Oakland after all. But nice time with SF Bay Sketchers.
– Cathy McAuliffe

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Papel picado artist, Enrique Martinez

For 26 years, artist Enrique Martinez has been creating colorful 'papel picado' cut tissuepaper banners.  

Traditionally, papel picado banners decorate Day of the Dead altars, buildings and streets during religious and secular celebrations in Mexico. Enrique's designs honor this custom and broaden the craft for many other uses and celebrations. 

His beautiful banners can be seen and purchased at his workshop, and they flutter in abundance from the rafters next door at Picante, Berkeley. Thanks, Enrique for demonstrating your craft to us.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

¡Papel picado!

A delightful foray into the world of papel picado! Artist Enrique Martinez told us the interesting stories behind some of his intricate paper works. He celebrates hummingbirds, folk icons, holidays and more in colorful papers. You can find Mr. Martinez by Picante Restaurant on 6th Street in Berkeley, California.  

folding in to summer...

I love the inventiveness of this art form. It was interesting to try to represent folds with a line of ink. We learned an interesting fact — a master origami artist designed the method of folding air bag systems!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Origami in Oakland!

Origami fascinates me on how a flat piece of paper can be made into a three dimensional form!
My one dimensional rendering doesn’t capture the creative folds and facets of the art at Taro’s  Origami Studio.
Thanks for hosting us Jennifer!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Club Mallard (not just ducks)

Day-drinking, oh wait, day-sketching at Club Mallard in Albany. Log cabin decor with a side of tropical patio. Bison head above the bar and velvet Elvis on the wall. What’s not to like? – Cathy McAuliffe

Gil Abides!

Buffalo Gil presides over the bar at Club Mallard, an Albany institution which has been serving customers since 1945!
Carrie McClish’s sketch (above) captured the place and Justin so well.  I focused on Gil being sketched by Carrie and Micaela (below). Thanks for the hospitality Justin!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Club Mallard—Homage a Buffalo Gill

A great old watering-hole in Albany, California. It felt homey and chill on a Tuesday afternoon. With pronghorn and moose antlers, a stuffed duck or two, and a large Bison presiding over the bar, makes you think it may have started life as a sportsman's hangout.
Buffalo Gill

Friday, July 5, 2019

Chilly Night, Chill Place

Our July public sketching night was held at the hospitable Ocean View Brew Works, on San Pablo Ave., Albany. We had such a good time, sketching, sipping, and meeting new sketchers.  I need to come back to learn more about the brewing process (to sketch the equipment better). Thank you Veronica and Melina for welcoming us! 

Cold Brew

We went pre-holiday sketching July 3rd at Ocean View Brew Works in Albany. What a great place run by charming and very friendly people. (See Vivian's post below about the bartender sharing her sketchbook with us). As it was a typical July evening in our part of the bay area it was quite chilly but the staff set up a heater so we could stay sketching in the patio. Tracy who joined us to sketch pointed out her house and yard in one of my sketches. — Cathy McAuliffe

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Michelangelo works at Ocean View Brew Works

Thursday night we went to a tiny brewery in Albany. Such nice people there! Turned out the bartender was a bit of a female Michelangelo. She showed us her sketches of how the equipment goes together, and also had notes about what flavors to mix up. Now I wish I had added her to my sketch! -- Vivian Aldridge

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Civil War Re-enactment at Angel Island

I enjoyed hanging out with the actors at the Civil War Re-enactment at Angel Island. As I sketched them I could listen to their banter. It was a great way to learn about the history of that era.

One solider told me how the Confederates learned that the gold miners kept tons of gold on the ships in San Francisco Bay. Their plan was to rob the ships  and bring it back to the south. Thus Camp Reynolds was built at Angel Island to prevent that from happening. -- Vivian Aldridge

Monday, June 10, 2019

Friday, June 7, 2019

One Leg Left Standing at the Oakland Ferry Landing

Enjoyed the warm weather last night at Jack London Square with our urban sketching group.
A one legged bird came to visit us and became the "derniere touche" to my sketch. -- Vivian Aldridge

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Sketching Away at Way Station Brew

Today the Way Station is a relaxed coffee, tea, scone and other treats place with this striking coffee roaster.

Way Station Brew

Way Station Brew is a relaxing, inviting space for coffee, beer, and, going by the lovely smell: great eats. This decorative and possibly useful coffee roaster inhabits a corner.
In the late 1800's, Shattuck Avenue was established as the principal transportation route of both the Berkeley Ferry & Railroad Company and the Berkeley Branch Steam Line and one of the stations along the way was located at Dwight Way and Shattuck Avenue, hence the name of Way Station. The first stop here was served by a horse and buggy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

bierhaus doodle

Nice beer, nice food, big tables...what more could a sketcher want? Ok, I started doodling...

Stamping Down at the Bierhaus

Enjoyed hanging out at Bierhaus located in Oakland’s Temescal district (foodie central.)
We arrived on a rainy Thursday evening so it was rather quiet and a good place to sketch or read a book. And they had rubber stamps! We had more fun with those than should be allowed ;-)  -- Vivian Aldridge