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Celebrating 3 Years, 600 Blog Posts… and a winning book cover

Cactus Taqueria, Berkeley, ink & w/c, 4x6"
Cactus Taqueria, Berkeley, ink & w/c, 4x6"

On Monday night I completed another sketchbook and three years of sketch-blogging. Cathy and I had dinner at Cactus Taqueria on Solano Avenue in Berkeley and sketched the other diners.  Then we started walking to see what else looked like fun to draw.

It was cold and foggy outside, and the lobby of the old Oaks Theatre looked warm and  inviting so we walked in and asked if we could sketch. This confused the woman working there who had nothing to do but sit and chat with a younger woman. It was a Monday night and they were showing a French movie and it was a bad French movie and so there were few customers. She told the manager we wanted to sketch (with a tone of voice that implied we might be deranged) and he said it was fine.

Oaks Theatre Popcorn Machine, Berkeley, ink & w/c
Oaks Theatre Popcorn Machine, Berkeley, ink & w/c

We sat on carpeted stairs (the only place to sit except the already occupied bench) and sketched the  popcorn machine directly in front of us. At first it seemed like a stupid, boring subject, but within minutes I was captivated by all the odd mechanical bits inside the machine. Oddly, despite the strong scent of hot popcorn, the machine was completely empty.

At first we sketched listening to the inane conversation of the two women which even they seemed bored by. They left and the manager came over and asked us whether drawing can be learned or if is just an inborn talent (definitely can be learned!). Then he wandered off and we listened to him being lectured to by a customer (inspired by the movie she’d just left?) about race, culture, history, and her philosophies on life,  while he listened patiently, saying “OK.” I jotted down a few of her pronouncements on the sketch.

Three Years of

Posts: 600
Total views:
Most popular posts:

Ladies, Stand Up for Your Right to Pee Standing Up (7,198)
Monoprint experiment
Better than Plastic: Blue Glass Water Bottle (5,597)
Black Lilly (aka Devil’s Tongue or Snake (4,597)


My Art on Winning  Bookcover

White Lilac Love Book Cover
Winning bookcover

About a year ago, I received an email from Croatian poet and author Sonja Smolec, asking for permission to use one of my watercolors on the cover of her new book of poetry, “White Lilac Love.” Of course I agreed, and was delighted when she sent me a copy of the book.

A week ago I received an email from Sonja telling me that her publisher had held a bookcover contest and her book had won! The 73 poems in White Lilac Love weave a beautiful and tender love story with all the soaring emotions from hope to despair to true love along the way. One of the poems was so evocative and full of wonderful imagery that it inspired a painting (in progress — more about that later).

It’s been a great three years!

13 replies on “Celebrating 3 Years, 600 Blog Posts… and a winning book cover”

CONGRATULATIONS JANA! I for one am so very glad that you are sketchblogging. I adore your watercolor paintings of glass vases and flowers and remain inspired by all of your pages. Hopefully we can sketch together again, next time on the East Coast.


Jana! Congrats on three years! I so wish I could devise a way to be as faithful to art as you have been. In fact, other than showing up for my radio show on time each week, there is not one other event in my life that is SOOO consistent that I cannot tweak its frequency (other than perhaps church on Sunday, although even there I have two options). I know that persistence and consistency is the key to improvement. It seems every time I make some headway, then some outside event takes me away from the discipline, and I lose ground very noticeably. Fortunately, the bug is still in me. You’re such an inspiration, and I do appreciate each of your posts! Congrats also on the book cover….it’s definitely an award winner!


A perfect cover for a poetry book! Congratulations, Jana, for three years and 600 blogs that have brought inspiration and enjoyment to so many of us. And it was fun to journey back
through those four favorites.


Hey Jana. Congratulations on three years of wonderful, entertaining, enlightening and often beautiful sketches and stories. I love both your writing and your sketches and paintings. Please don’t ever deprive of us your wit, artwork and insights. I am often entertained, often inspired, often educated, and often amused. Nel


Congratulations, 600 posts is a great milestone. I love the theatre story. Serendipitous!


beautiful indeed. congratulations. i have really enjoyed your entries although not commented as often. One of only two blogs that I have continued to visit for years.

are the poems in the book English? would like to read some


Thanks for your nice comments! I’m honored that you enjoy and continue to read my blog. Her poems are in English and one of the links in the post (the one on the word “publisher”) goes to a page that displays one of the poems that you can read and see if it appeals to you. Thanks again! Jana


Hi dear!

I am here again to visit your inviting journal. Can’t say how much I am thankful for your beautiful watercolor. With a pride I sent people to your site to see cornucopia of your paintings.
I hope to meet you again 🙂


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