Ink and watercolor wash Landscape Outdoors/Landscape Painting Places Sketchbook Pages

Taco Bike at Fairyland and Japanese Garden at Lake Merritt

Taco Bike at Fairyland, ink & watercolor, 8x6"
Taco Bike at Fairyland, ink & watercolor, 8×6″

The $2.00 taco was delicious, made to order from the box mounted to Taco Bike. As I look at my sketch above I am wondering: there must have been a third wheel on the other side of the cart. Otherwise it would be impossible to ride and balance, no? And they did ride it in to the park.

My plein air group was meeting at Oakland’s Lakeside Garden Center, but when I parked at Fairyland across the from the garden I decided to start there. It is a small amusement park where children create their own amusement in storybook-themed play areas/structures.

Fairyland Parade and Sliding Hill, ink & watercolor 8x6"
Fairyland Parade and Sliding Hill, ink & watercolor 8×6″

I hadn’t been there since my kids were little; adults aren’t usually allowed in without kids but this day Fairyland was hosting the Childrens’ Hospital Anniversary celebration and everyone was allowed in. I tried to sketch a parade (above) as it zipped by. Behind the parade are children sliding on cardboard down a little grassy hill and balloons everywhere.

At the other end of Fairyland a radio station was emceeing the event over loudspeakers. They introduced a guy who performed annoying kids’ songs who was followed by blasting Latin music and someone shrieking “TURN, TURN, SHIMMY, WHOOEEE!!! WHOOP WHOOP! TURN, TURN!…” I later learned this was a Zumba demo.

Japanese Garden at Lake Merritt, ink & watercolor, 6x8"
Japanese Garden at Lake Merritt, ink & watercolor and white gel pen, 6×8″

All morning I’d felt a migraine coming on and the Zumba shouting was the last straw. I headed over to the Japanese garden in the Lakeside Garden Center. The peaceful setting and sound of the waterfall soothed my achey head long enough to sketch and paint the scene.

9 replies on “Taco Bike at Fairyland and Japanese Garden at Lake Merritt”

Your charming sketches are always a joy Jana! I’d love to give the sliding hill a go. You do wonderful sketches even with a headache! Hope you’re feeling better.


Thanks Judy! I used to love sliding down hills on a piece of cardboard. Haven’t done it in years. That hill was cute–a big bump specially built for little kids to slide down. Jana


What a dynamite confluence of talents, invention of the cargo bike, concept of using it for a food vehicle and your talented portrayal of it. There was an article on the cargo bike in last Thursday’s SF Chronicle that was quite interesting. I love your paintings. They are so fun and colorful. Also the description of the Zumba Class. I haven’t been to one so that was enlightening.
Thanks for posting!!


Thank you Nancy for taking the time to write and your kind words. I enjoyed your comment connecting all the pieces. I don’t get the Chronicle anymore and I know I miss out on a lot of interesting Bay Area stuff. I used to read it daily but it kept shrinking in size and quality and so much of the news made me sad so I gave it up. Jana


Great sketches. I laughed out loud at the Zumba class and your escape. Actually Zumba classes can be quite fun and good exercise, but I guess you have to be in the mood for it.


I’ve talked to friends who go to Zumba and they tell me it’s not usually quite so intense. And I was getting a migraine so really wasn’t in the mood for it! I’ve gone to Jazzercise which I think is similar and it was fun, and used to take dance classes but there wasn’t much yelling in those–just counting to yourself to remember your moves. Jana


Thanks Linda. I do love details, though sometimes art teachers have told me I should simplify and lose the details. But in sketching they’re often what interests me the most. Jana


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