Monday, April 22, 2019

Beautiful Blooming Bonsai

Many of the plants were in full bloom when we visited the enchanting Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt. Thank you to the gardeners, hosts and the City of Oakland for creating and sustaining this amazing place and encouraging our sketching!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Museum of Craft and Design: It's Not Just About Seeing, It's About Making

When I go to a museum I typically get antsy but not if there are maker stations! The Museum of Craft and Design not only had maker stations but they even gave us stickers so I added them to my sketch just for fun. -- Vivian Aldridge

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Perfect Tiny Trees + Blossoms

Beautiful afternoon in Lake Merritt Bonsai Garden.Extra special with some of the trees in full bloom! — Cathy McAuliffe

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Tiny, beautiful, bonsai garden

It's a forest in a small space. Many of these trees look ancient, and yet only measured in inches—check out the Sequoia sempervirons—about 14" tall!

Tulip Festival, Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland

The deYoung Museum’s annual “Bouquets to Art” exhibition in San Francisco pairs floral arrangements and fine art. 

The floral exhibit at historic Tower Chapel at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland is an annual homage to their Tulip Festival -- mass plantings of tulips and other spring bulbs blooming throughout the cemetery grounds. 

Floral arrangements must contain at least 20 percent tulips. Otherwise, invited participants are free to let their imaginations run wild, and they do. 

Late March at Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, free admission.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Springtime in Berkeley

UC Botanical Garden in full bloom. The Azalea is so big and so red/pink that it is probably visible from space! — Cathy McAuliffe

Sunday, April 7, 2019

UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley

A trip to the 34-acre UC Botanical Garden is always a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Organized geographically, there are California native plants and naturalistic plantings from many countries and regions of the world. There are newts and newt eggs in natural pools. There are plant conservatories, waterfalls, rock formations, paths and plant sales.

Although many trees were still bare, gigantic azaleas were ablaze with hot color on a recent visit.

Inlaid, inscribed tribute bricks are installed on the Tribute Plaza. Inscriptions commemorate founders, family members and garden donors. There are also horticultural quotes and aphorisms. Two of my favorites:

Savor roots, shoots, fruits and newts.

All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.

Serrahna, Oakland

Designer and world traveler Andrea Serrahn welcomed us back for another sketch opportunity at her colorful boutique, Serrahna. In fair-trade collaboration with artisans from India, Andrea's fashion designs are sold here, as well as other contemporary Indian clothing, textiles, fabrics and accessories.

Isha is the aptly named boutique canine. In Hindi, "Isha" is a strong feminine energy and one who protects. Sweet and welcoming, Isha the dog was discomforted by my focused sketcher's attention and she grumbled her discontent. I turned my attention elsewhere, and we remained friends.

Thank you Andrea, Isha and Serrahna for an enjoyable excursion.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

So much color!

Serrahna a fashion boutique in Oakland’s Rockridge district invited us back again to sketch. What a great place! No shortage of colors and textures. They specializing in contemporary and sophisticated fashions sewn from sensational and richly colorful fabrics of India. A sketcher's paradise. — Cathy McAuliffe

Friday, March 22, 2019

To be a Queen

On a cloudy Thursday evening I stood outside this shop fantasizing about what I might look like dressed as an Indian queen. I was courageous enough to step inside for only a moment and was treated to a feast of color. I am still considering an outfit. Do I dare? Hmmmm. --Vivian Aldridge

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Artworks Foundry, Berkeley

 Swelled head: flaking composite material, revealing layered colors  
It once was the site of Magic Gardens Nursery.  Now it's The Artworks Foundry, a location for the production and restoration of sculptures, reliefs and monuments.

Some of the sculptures sit in, or beside the parking lot and they're way larger than life. ~Susan Ford
A matter of scale: M touches a quarrelsome metal or steel crow

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Tropics?

A trip to the tropics. Not quite. It was a trip to cold, rainy Marin. But we found a wide covered porch and lots of foliage at Dominican University so all was well. Except for the part about the big down coats. But we did warm up afterwards with lunch at Flatiron in San Rafael. – Cathy McAuliffe

Picante Pieces

  • Picante is a favorite with color-filled rooms filled with people enjoying their delicious food. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Picante - Where you can plant it

I do like the long bar at Picante Cocina Mexicana in Berkeley. Had fun watching the locals plant themselves on a stool for hours. Great for sketchers like us! -- Vivian Aldridge

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Picante where everybody knows your name

The bar on a Thursday evening at Picante Mexican Restaurant in Berkeley is a very "Cheers" kind of place. I didn't know everybody's name but Carlos the master-margarita-maker knew and he filled me in. – Cathy McAuliffe

Picante, Berkeley

Always a lot of things to sketch at Picante ~Susan Ford

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Oaktown Spice Shop, Oakland

A visit to Oaktown Spice Shop is an adventure! Aromas evoke pleasant kitchen memories--so do the colors, jars and old-timey kitchen accoutrements. Floor-to-ceiling spices, spice blends, rubs, salts, chiles, teas, botanicals and aromatics. A kind and knowledgeable staff to guide your exploration. Spark up your gustatory imagination at Oaktown Spice, then go home and rattle some pots and pans! ~Susan Ford

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Spice Girl at Oaktown Spice Shop

Had a great time discovering Oaktown Spice Shop across from Lake Merritt in Oakland. An amazing assortment of spices beautifully displayed and fun to draw and to smell! Thanks for having us in to sketch. — Cathy McAuliffe

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Sketching Sunny Spices On a Grey Day

I had such a wonderful time on a rainy morning while sketching the colorful spices at the Oaktown Spice Shop (OSS) in Oakland with our group. The jars, bottles, mannequin, and accessories were delightful! Thank you so much OSS for having us over!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Thursday, March 7, Come Sketch at Picante in Berkeley

Thursday, March 7, 6:30-8:30 pm

Picante Cocina Mexicana
1328 Sixth Street, Berkeley

Explore the flavors of seven regions of Mexico. Sketch the tortilla makers, colorful Puebla paper picado, Mexico City terra cotta cazuelas and hand-carved Oaxaca masks.

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.