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

Friday, May 10, 2019

Donkey and Goat Winery, Berkeley

Three large Kvevri, clay amphora vessels used to age some of the biodynamic and organic wine at Donkey and Goat Winery. And there's Micaela, for a sense of scale.

Following natural farming philosophies and sustainable biodynamic practices, grape vines are planted in a combination of plant compost, animal manure and powdered animal horn. Planting is done only during the new moon phase.

Every month at Donkey and Goat Winery on First Friday night, there are pop-up food stalls, an art exhibit, live music, wine tasting and purchase. Kids, multi-generations, dogs, indoor/outdoor space, dancing -- a relaxing start to the first weekend.  ~ Susan Ford

Your Basic Bird, Berkeley

It's a challenge sketching a constantly moving bird. Roudybush and I enjoyed each other's company at Your Basic Bird. Around us were other brilliantly colored birds of many sizes -- sleeping, yelling, singing and feeding one another regurgitated seed (an act of avian affection).

You might ask, Wouldn't they all be happier in their native environments rather than sitting in a cage? To which a friend of mine would reply, Perhaps so, but they'll live longer lives in captivity.

Later, I learned that Roudybush mini is the name of his seed mix diet, not his species. Roudy, I hardly knew ya.  ~Susan Ford

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Your Basic Bird

Basically, it has many birds of all sizes and descriptions. This wonderful store has been on College Ave in Berkeley for many years. We were serenaded by the birds, many were amazingly melodic, and also one which was not melodic in the least but made piercingly loud sounds, seemingly in response to people looking closely at him! (or her?)

Donkey & Goat Winery

This dynamic winery has music, art, pop-up food, and of course wine on First Fridays of the month. There were the usual assortment of wine casks, but also these enormous pottery wine urns from Italy are used in some stage of the development of the wine. The shortest one is called "Little Beehive", the next to the right "Madonna", the next is "Big Beehive". Little Beehive is about 6' tall, not including the glass wine construction at the top. 

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