Auracana chicks, 9 days old, ink & watercolor

Auracana chicks, 9 days old, ink & watercolor

My best friend Barbara ordered baby chicks by mail. She’d built a little hen house from scrap lumber and had it all ready for them. So she was surprised when the bundle of chirping chicks arrived with instructions to keep them indoors at 90°F for several weeks. Instead of being in the garden when we came to sketch they were living in the upstairs guestroom/studio in a big box with a heat lamp.

We were greeted at the garden gate by Gertie, her big, old, sweet Sharpei/Mutt.

Gertie the Garden Greeter

Gertie the Garden Greeter

I tried to get her to pose for me but she was a bit unclear on the concept.

Garden path with cactus, ink & watercolor

Garden path at sunset with cactus sculpture. Ink & watercolor

Barbara’s garden (photos from previous post) is abundant with flowers, vegetables, fruit trees, wild birds, her ceramic sculptures (the 3′ tall cactus above is actually made of glazed ceramic), her mosaics and the fabulous scent of healthy growing things. It’s a small garden in North Berkeley, but feels like a visit to the country far from urban stress. Her next door neighbors are musicians and so our sunset sketching was accompanied by birdsong and live music playing softly next door.

Elephant, sun/moon plate and potted bamboo

Elephant, sun/moon plate and potted bamboo

One of Barbara’s many garden still lifes. Every few steps in her garden (and in her jewel of a cottage) there is another such treasure, but she is the best treasure of them all!

Animals, Berkeley, Drawing, Gardening, Ink and watercolor wash, Landscape, Outdoors/Landscape, Painting, Places, Plants, Sketchbook Pages
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Join the conversation! 11 Comments

  1. I like the roughness of these works.
    Impressive style

  2. These are charming sketches! I’d love to see her garden – it seems to me that gardens in California are uniformly wonderful and lush. On a boo note – maybe now you (and Barbara) will want to read Michael Perry’s book Coop. My copy came in the mail yesterday, though I have intention of raising chickens.

    • I’ll let her know about Coop. I also told her about Farm City, written by a local author who started a little farm with a garden and a couple of chickens in the West Oakland ghetto and eventually started raising turkeys and geese and pigs there too and took over an abandoned lot for more garden space. And not all California gardens are wonderful and lush because we have such dry weather usually from the end of spring to winter it doesn’t rain so dry garden landscapes are also common. We’ve had a drought for several years and watering was outlawed completely last year so many gardens were ruined then. This year it just won’t STOP raining. Jana

  3. Once again, your sketches and narrative are a great start to my day!

  4. You can order chick through the mail??? Wow. Did not know that! These are wonderful sketches. I can tell this is a place I would love to just walk around, snooping through their house, finding all the little treasures! I have a friend like that, but I always find myself snooping instead of sketching. I just can’t help myself. Love all your sketches and your last post was great too!

    • Thanks Raina, I thought that was pretty amazing you could order live critters to be delivered by mail but apparently it’s quite comment and post office has systems for it. The box of chicks even had warmers in it. And yes, I do love to snoop around her house. She designed it all and the colors are wonderful. I always tell her that I want to go on vacation to her bathroom because the colors of the walls and tile in there feel like going somewhere with warm beaches and brilliant blue sea. Jana

  5. I like your drawings. They are so good! I wish I could draw like that.

  6. Thanks so much, Jana. Your writing and sketches make me really like my garden without thinking about the weeds that need to be pulled or leaves that should be raked. Gerti will have to work on her sitting still and posing instead of walking away after a few minutes. I was amazed you “caught” her so well in the short time she sat and looked at you. It was very fun to have you and your sketchmates visit. Come again!

    • Thanks! When the chicks are outdoors and new stuff is growing maybe we can come again. I’ve been studying Photoshop and was just practicing combining two files and had fun putting one of the chicks on top of Gertie’s head and she didn’t mind a bit. Jana

  7. Thanks for the comment and referral back to your chick drawings! (Yours turned out A LOT better than mine!) I love reading your blog because I lived in Berkeley for almost 7 years and the places are so familiar. (And your pages are great too!)

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