Back in January I got a new iMac to replace my aging PC. I hadn’t left my job yet so still needed my PC monitor and my work laptop to complete my last project. That meant I had 3 computers, a 27″ monitor and the iMac on my desk.
What a mess! Along with 3 computers I also had two keyboards, a trackball, a track pad, an old Wacom tablet, telephone and router, notebook, glasses, pencil holder and a huge stack of files and file folders I was working on.
It felt so good to finish the work, put away the work laptop, give the PC to my son, and clear my desk. I mostly love the iMac and especially appreciate how few wires there are now.
I’m also happy to finally post these last sketches from my last journal so that I can start posting some fun stuff in my current giant Moleskine.
The Pub on Solano near the border of Albany and Berkeley is a hidden-away, cozy place to sketch, play chess, or chat with friends or friendly strangers while sipping espresso, beer or wine and hang out as long as you want.
The Pub’s clientele tend to be colorful people who are interesting to eavesdrop on while sketching. The old guys I sketched above weren’t exactly firecrackers but the 40-something, rough-hewn guy in rainbow tie-dye and long blond hair sitting behind me kept me entertained with daring travel adventure stories of remote and distant lands told to his friend who was soon departing.
A bit of an anachronism, The Pub also sells tobacco and cigarettes from around the world and has an interesting display of old pipes. The indoor areas are smoke-free but they offer a front and back outdoor patio where smokers can enjoy their vice(s).
Before being seated at Pyramid Brewery in Berkeley some of us went upstairs to sketch. I enjoyed the perspective challenge of drawing these guys below me, sitting and standing with their pitcher of beer.
The menu recommended their Apricot Ale with the Blackened Salmon dinner (fruity beer a bit odd but tasty). The beer came before my food so I sketched it. I was too hungry to draw my delicious dinner.
After dinner I drew what I could see from my corner of the booth where I was kind of wedged in. And that should finally be the end of December and beer sketches. Now on to posting more interesting stuff than beer and dishes!
When we visited Berkeley’s very colorful Gaumenkitzel Restaurant, they offered us a large “community” table where we could sketch and snack all evening. After most of the other customers had left, one sketcher pulled her chair right up to the pastry case to get a better look. Gaumenkitzel means “Tickle Your Taste Buds.” Just saying the name feels tickly on the tongue.
I sketched the back of Susan’s beer while she drew the more decorative front. Click their names to see more sketches from the evening by Ceiny and Cathy.
My January and February have been swallowed up by a ton of organizing and business chores which I’m hoping to declare completed tomorrow (YAY!). Then I can finally get back to a life centered around art instead of on spreadsheets, file folders, computers, and tax forms.
The nice thing about sketching in bars, especially one that is also a cafeteria a frequented by an older crowd on a quiet Tuesday night, is that people tend to sit still long enough to draw them.
I kept trying to capture this guy who sat a few tables away eating his dinner and reading but never really got him. My sketch buddy Micaela perfectly captured him, which you can see on our Urban Sketchers blog here.
I’m still playing catch up: these are from November. But now that things have settled down in my world, I intend to be caught up by the end of the month, including my 2012 year-end review and a whole week of sunflower paintings.
PiQ Cafe (Pane Italiano Qualita) serves espresso and bakes pizza and Italian pastries near U. C. Berkeley. It’s a busy place in the evening with lots of sketching opportunities. I got a fabulous Decaf Americano coffee and drew the pastries instead of eating them.
My sketch buddies sat at the outdoor sidewalk tables and drew the bookstore across the street but it was too cold and dark out there for me (Cathy’s sketch and Cristina’s sketch). I drew the bookstore too, but from inside the café.
PiQ has a unique restroom arrangement: you carry a metal pitcher attached to a key card into their elevator, take it down to the basement and follow signs around a corridor to the bathroom and then repeat the trip.
I was so tired I almost didn’t go to our Tuesday sketch night but our destination, El Cerrito Natural Grocery, was near home so I pushed myself out the door. I only managed the sketch above, made standing using a shopping cart as my table. Even the colors looked tired. Cathy focused on the meat department and entertained the butchers with her drawings of them. Her chicken sketch is a hoot.
We left at 8:00 when the store closed and then I sat in my car for a few minutes, checking my email on my phone while trying to talk myself out of a trip to the ice cream shop. My phone rang: “Hello, this is El Cerrito Natural and you left your little notebook in your shopping cart.”
Thank goodness I always put a note on the first page of every journal: “IF LOST PLEASE CALL…” with my phone number. I said I was still in the parking lot and ran back to the front door and gratefully took it home.
This was another drawing while tired. I tried taking a walk to Peet’s coffee to wake myself up. Since caffeine is no longer an option, the walking and an iced decaf had to do the trick. It didn’t. I was just more tired when I got home but at least I got to sketch a bit (and didn’t lose my sketchbook this time).
I watched the blind woman at the next table (in the sketch above) make a phone call by listening carefully to the tone as she pushed each number. Her friend arrived shortly afterwards, also blind, walking a large black poodle.
Two things I wondered:
If you’re meeting someone and you can’t see them, how do you know they’re there or arriving without calling out “Susie are you here…” or phoning?
Why don’t you ever see standard poodles as guide dogs? I live near a center for the blind and also often see people training guide dogs on our subway system. They’re never poodles. Though they do always wear very cute booties–I wonder why?