Tuesday, December 12, 2017

4th street holiday light show!

I admire my fellow-sketchers for night-time sketching with paper, pen and watercolors! I'm afraid I didn't feel up to that challenge and "painted" on my iPad instead. Starting with a dark background, all I had to do was put in the light. So, it feels like cheating but it's fun and it's easier to be loose with it as you're not "wasting" paper no matter what you do!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Holiday Sketching Tradition

We always go to Fourth Street in Berkeley to sketch the holiday lights. It seems that there are more each year! — Cathy McAuliffe

Friday, December 8, 2017

Holiday Lights on 4th Street in Berkeley

Every year that I go to 4th Street in Berkeley I see more and more lights. Next time
I am bringing sunglasses. Happy Holidays! --- Vivian Aldridge

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Crab Catcher

Over Thanksgiving I visited Ukiah (northern California) and was taken to a place that sells
 live crab out of a tent. Because I am such a city girl I was quite enthralled by the whole
 experience. Those crabs were fighting mad, and the gal had to use big rubber gloves so she
 would not get bitten. Despite the carnage that crab was the best I have ever eaten --Vivian Aldridge

Monday, November 27, 2017

Public Night on Fourth Street, Berkeley

Thursday, December 7th, 2017
6:30 - 8:30 pm
4th Street lights in Berkeley
Fourth Street & Hearst, Berkeley

Meet at 6:30 near the Apple Store, and we’ll agree upon a place to meet at 8:30 to share sketchbooks

Check actransit.org for bus schedules. Otherwise, parking is pretty easy in the evening.

Fourth Street at this time of year is festooned with lights of all kinds—wound around the tree trunks, draped across the street, in many shapes hanging from the branches—capture the glow and fun of the holiday mood! Store fronts have interesting displays, and sometimes there are musicians playing on the street near Peet’s (they could always use a tip!).

There are a number of places to eat, Tacubaya is one of our favorites, and is a relaxed place to be inside, eat, and sketch if it happens to be inclement weather outside. Zut! which is charming with trendy Mediterranean food is sorta reasonable if you share, and has lots of people and a bar to sketch. 

See you there!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Urban Sketching at an Urban Farm

At the corner of two very busy streets in Albany California is the UC Gill Tract Community Farm. We sketched at the farm last week. It is the end of the season for many of the crops but there was still alot to draw. The land has been used for agricultural research by UC Berkeley since the 1930s. Today volunteers are striving to establish a community-managed food system centered around local, organic, agro-ecological farming practices. – Cathy McAuliffe

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

UC Gill Tract Community Farm

According to the website:   “Occupy the Farm, a movement to “take back” the land under development at the Gill Tract and establish a community farm, began in April 2012.   During this three-week encampment with over 200 activists, 15,000 seedlings were planted.  As of 2015, approximately 18,500 pounds of produce was grown and distributed to the surrounding community.”

I sat down in the medicinal garden circle and drew sections of a Fire Wheel Bush used medicinally and to attract hummingbirds and the Wild Dagga Lion's Tail plant, usage sacred.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Steep Coffee Shop

Hopland is one of those towns tourists pass through on their way to Mendocino, Ashland, or some other popular destination. But the small town is worthy of a day trip in its own right. Don’t miss the new Italian restaurant Piazza De Campovida that has been garnering great reviews. There’s also the perennial favorite Blue Bird Cafe, wine tasting rooms, and this delightful coffee shop, Steep. If that's not enough to pique your interest, there's Real Goods, the original purveyor of off-the-grid living supplies since 1978.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Public Night at Whole Foods

...the vegetables and fruits were very good models. I wanted to keep it short and loose so I used watercolor pencils and a waterbrush, and gave myself no more than 20 minutes per sketch.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Día de los Muertos Festival

Sunday was The Unity Council Día de Los Muertos Festival in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood.
This was the 22nd year of this festival which included altar artistic installations created by community members paying homage to los muertos. As well as live music, Ballet folklorico and Aztec dancers. There were sugar skulls and faces painted to look like skulls. Marigolds were everywhere, bright yellow-orange to guide spirits of loved ones to the celebration. – Cathy McAuliffe

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Flowerland - Unseasonably warm afternoon

Cape Rush in mustardy colored pots

Day of the Dead Marigold

Flowerland Nursery

Another beautiful afternoon sketching at Flowerland in Albany. Everywhere you look there are beautiful things to sketch. And the staff is very welcoming to our sketch group1 Perfect. — Cathy McAuliffe

Friday, October 27, 2017

Flowerland Nursery, Albany

Watercolor, InkJoy pens, white and grape colored pencils, brush pen

How do I define "heavenly"? 
A warm, sunny late October afternoon at Flowerland Nursery, 
sipping iced Highwire Coffee from the onsite Airstream cantina, 
admiring the colorful plants, pots and outdoor furniture,
chatting with fellow Urban Sketchers,
sketching a succulent bowl.
Thank you, Flowerland Nursery for the opportunity. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Return to Orcas by Sonia Tamez

I've been going back to Orcas Island, WA for about twenty years. The ferry carries me away from the urban tempos to a slower heartbeat. Thank you Moran State Park, San Juan Land Trust, Warm Valley Farm, Warm Valley Orchard, Girl Meets Dirt, and others who welcomed me to sketch and paint. Here are some of my sketches from my stay.
Ferry view below.

Moran State Park above.
East Sound hydrant.
Warm Valley Farm apple tree and strutting turkeys below.

The Warm Valley Orchard Truck carries an amazing variety of goods for the body and soul.  

I love Warm Valley Orchard's sheep and they love munching grape leaves (Thanks M).
Girl Meets Dirt transforms the bounty of Orcas orchards into jams and other  delicious items. Preserving Orcas  heritage fruit, one jar at a time! Thanks for letting me sketch there!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Grace Cathedral -- a Story Around Every Corner

Attended a sketching event at Grace Cathedral with guest stars Liz Steel and Jane Blundell, and hosted by Laurie Wigham.  Lots of happy sketchers in attendance. One of the sketchers told me about the bent over lady in my sketch. The lady was 75 years old, an immigrant from Russia, and her husband was a professor who left her in midlife. She also knew a lot about the history of the homes surrounding the cathedral. "There is a story around every corner." -- Vivian Aldridge

Meet-up with Liz Steel and Jane Blundell

I think it’s safe to say that all of us Bay Area sketchers had a great time hobnobbing with world famous sketchers Liz Steel and Jane Blundell today. There were probably 60 sketchers total. Though socializing was our purpose, Grace Cathedral was our sketching subject. Thanks to Laurie Wigham for organizing the event!

Friday, September 22, 2017

UC Botanical Garden, Too

I sketched Judith while Judith sketched the pond

UC Botanical Garden

It is always interesting to me the variety of subjects we find and the sketches we make at a shared location. This afternoon our group met at the UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley. Each person found something completely different to sketch! Here is what I found.– Cathy McAuliffe

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Viola Frey at the Oakland Museum

My husband has lots of stories about studying ceramics with the late Viola Frey (1933-2004) at California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts). A visit to the Oakland Museum always includes taking another look at Viola's sculptures.

She's most well known for her monumental, brightly colored ceramic sculptures that shaped and redefined ceramics from 'craft' to 'fine art.'

As a CCAC student herself in the 1950s, Viola studied painting with Richard Diebenkorn and attended classes with fellow students Robert Arneson, Manuel Neri and Nathan Oliveira. What an exciting time that must have been.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Friday Night @ OMCA

Last Friday at the Oakland Museum of California was a real dance night! In addition to a warm evening, and  a street full of food trucks there was Salsa music from great musicians and alot of dancers! #fridaynights@OMCA– Cathy McAuliffe