North Berkeley Library

Ink and watercolor in 6×8″ Strathmore Drawing sketchbook (Larger)

This sketch is all about pausing in a busy day to sit and draw, taking advantage of a little sun between rainstorms, and enjoying feeling free. Until I began the sketch, I hadn’t realized how beautiful (and extraordinarily complicated) the landmark building (photo) of the North Berkeley Public Library is.

Freedom from stuff

My feeling of freedom came from filling three shopping bags with books I no longer needed and taking them to my favorite used book store, Black Oak Books. They gave me store credit for two-thirds of the books (which I promptly traded for three books I had on hold).

I could have sold the remaining bag of books on Amazon or at another used bookstore, but decided to just let them go. I dropped them off at the library as a donation and walked out empty handed, feeling quite pleased. Instead of rushing on to the next task, I plopped down on a bench and started sketching.

Now I have space on my bookshelves and room in my car (the three bags had been hogging my backseat for two weeks). And I love that wonderful spacious feeling that comes from removing clutter, whether physical or mental, from my life.

About the sketch: As you can see, my study of perspective hasn’t quite paid off yet. (The doors and windows slant the opposite direction from the roofline of the front wall). I drew with a purple Micron Pigma pen and then added watercolor at home. I tried to remember the colors of the walls but realized I didn’t pay enough attention to what was in light and in shadow. To practice using visual memory, I purposely didn’t take a photo or look at one on line.

So now I can see that my visual memory needs work, along with my perspective drawing. How great to know that there is no end to learning as an artist. I never have to worry about getting bored. Painting and learning are my two favorite things in life!

Art theory, Berkeley, Drawing, Outdoors/Landscape, Sketchbook Pages, Watercolor

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. Jana! Oh how I envy you that ‘free’ feeling and findng a home for all those books!! I too need to do the same thing — but a 70 mile trip to the bookstore that might buy so many of my really super reference books, just is daunting right now … so doing so is definitely on my list!! CONGRATS!

    And oh how I love your building!!!! I find it utterly charming, Jana — just the way it is — with that sketchy feeling of line and wash I just LOVE!!!!

    Congrats too on pausing for the day. I spent all night (only 3 hours sleep), going to work (3 hour drive) and working more (still doing so) on all my computer issues — I think (fingrs crossed) — we’re close to finishing .. I sure hope so! Congrats, cara, I really want you to know I love your sketch!


  2. Your building looks remarkably straight after the one that I drew today (no I didn’t post it). I do love all the details you’ve added in this, and I like imperfect drawings they have so much more character!

    It is a wonderful feeling to get the clutter cleared! Great way to celebrate!


  3. What a great sketch! And of a building I know so very well. Nicely done.


  4. Charming sketch. I have those same visual memory issues. I can really relate to that.

    I agree that one of the best things about making art is that you can never be bored. There is always something to learn or practice. I love it.


  5. Could you please come and sort out my bookshelves please.

    I really like this one and the next one. There’s something about doing portraits of buildings and shop fronts – windows on their souls maybe?


  6. This building is so cute it could be made out of gingerbread!


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