Jack London Square Sketch for East Bay SPCA

I was honored when the East Bay SPCA asked to license my sketch of Jack London Square (in the poster below) for their annual Adopt-A-Thon fund-raiser publicity materials. They kindly offered to pay for the use of the image but I was very happy to donate it for their use. As an animal lover I am grateful for the wonderful work the SPCA does to care for and find homes for animals.

You can click the image to get more information about the event. It will be a lot of fun and if you’re looking for a new family member of the furry variety, be sure to visit the Adopt-A-Thon! My original sketch is and info about it is at the bottom of this post.

.Adoptathon2016-BayWoff-Ad.FINAL-2

I sketched the scene below at Jack London Square of London’s old cabin and the wolf statue out front on a gorgeous sunny day and the shadows were in just the right place. It was one of those sketches where everything just worked. In the background are the high-rise office buildings of Downtown Oakland.

Jack London Cabin and Wolf Statue, ink and watercolor, 10x7 in

Jack London Cabin and Wolf Statue, ink and watercolor, 10×7 in

Sketching at the Laundromat

Solano Laundromat, ink and watercolor 10x8 in

Solano Laundromat, ink and watercolor 10×8 in

I haven’t been doing much urban sketching or dream drawing lately, while I try to complete a couple of commissioned dog portraits (that are taking forever) and attend figure/portrait drawing sessions and do other life stuff. But here’s a quickie from sketch night at the laundromat, a favorite place to sketch. I’m glad I have my own washer and dryer so I don’t have to go there to do laundry, but I do enjoy the perspective challenges and patterns of rows of rectangles, circles and black and white shapes, as well as the little still life of soap and baskets.

Sketchcrawl 46 – Bernal Heights, San Francisco

SF Bernal Heights Sketchcrawl (original) ink and watercolor in XL WC Moleskine

SF Bernal Heights Sketchcrawl, ink, watercolor, gouache, 7.5 x 11″

When it was time to leave for the Sketchcrawl in San Francisco I couldn’t find my sketch kit containing all my favorite sketching tools. I scoured the studio and the house. No sketch kit. I feared I’d left it at my figure drawing class the day before at the community college where it had probably already been adopted by a needy art student. Sad and frustrated, I cobbled together some pens, pencils, brushes and paints, threw them in a bag and drove across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.

Catching up with my friend Susan Cornelis who came down from Sebastopol for the day, and connecting with some other local sketch buddies helped me forget about my missing precious pens and paints for a little while. Since I was so late, after a quick walk around the neighborhood, I decided to sketch what I could see from a bench on the porch in front of the library where the final meet up would be. The lamp post in the sketch above was up on the porch too, which is a little confusing perspective-wise, being up about 8 steps from the sidewalk in this hilly neighborhood.

The good news is that I had a great time at the sketch crawl AND the next day when I was getting ready to go out to the studio I picked up the basket I use to carry things back and forth from house to studio and my sketch kit was in the basket! YAY! And I put a “Reward for return” note in the bag with my name and phone number on it in case it ever disappears again.

I think I like the sketch better broken into two separate ones (below). What do you think?

Brazil Room, Tilden Park, Watercolor Painting Commission (steps in process)

Brazillian Room, Tilden Park, Watercolor, 22 x 30 in

Brazilian Room, Tilden Park, Watercolor, 22 x 30 in

When I received an email from a woman in Switzerland, asking if I’d be interested in a commission to paint the site of her wedding (the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park) as a 10-year anniversary gift for her husband I said an enthusiastic, “Yes!” We agreed I would have the painting completed when she visited the Bay Area a couple of months later so that she could hand carry it back to Switzerland.

Brazillian Room, Tilden Park, Original Photo Reference

Brazilian Room, Tilden Park, Original Photo Reference

I visited the site, took photos and we agreed I would use the one above as reference for the painting. Since I shot the photo in late spring it wouldn’t really match the colors and light of her August wedding so I also used my imagination and memory of the park in summer to capture the warmth and strong light of August in the Bay Area. Below are some of the steps in the painting process. Read More

Sketching North Berkeley with Carole Baker

Carol holding my Earthly Goods sketch

Carol holding my Earthly Goods sketch

Carole Baker is an amazing painter in remote northern Alaska who I’ve known through our blogs and correspondence for years. When she was in Berkeley for a visit we met in North Berkeley to sketch. Above is a photo of my wonky sketch (held by Carole so that I could photograph it) of Earthly Goods, the store on one corner of Vine and Shattuck.

Carol holding her sketch of the corner of Shattuck and Vine

Carol holding her sketch of the corner of Shattuck and Vine

We sat on the same bench but looked in opposite directions. Here is Carole and her sketch of the produce market on the opposite corner of Shattuck and Vine.

I was so inspired by Carole and her art on the beautiful greeting cards she gave me as a gift. You can see Carole’s art on her blog Carole Baker’s Art Journal.

Lima, Peru for Virtual Paintout October 2013

Lima, Peru, ink and watercolor from Google Streetview, 4x5 in

Lima, Peru, ink and watercolor from Google Streetview, 4×5 in

I love doing the Virtual Paintout, strolling around a city in Google Streetview and picking a scene to paint. This sketch is a preliminary study for an oil painting  still in progress. The location is Nicolas de Pierola and Jr. Cańete Streets in Lima, Peru. Here’s a link to the map: http://goo.gl/maps/hQdsp.

Below is the original screenshot plus a few other streetview pictures from around Lima. Although the city looked very beautiful, I’m often drawn to funkier parts of town.

NYC Part 6: Jana’s Ganja Guy and the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge and Ice Cream Shop, ink and watercolor, 7.5x5.5 in

Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, ink and watercolor, 7.5×5.5 in

Carol, Micaela and I got on the subway, heading to the Brooklyn Bridge. On the subway you get treated to exciting musical performances by buskers or you are subjected to rants by lunatics or pleas for money. Or all of the above, as they often take turns, getting on and off at each stop.

This time an extremely loud and annoying guy told a too long tale of his hardships, throwing in everything from the Iraq war to Hurricane Sandy. The man standing next to me had the sweetest face and long dredlocks. He gave the guy a dollar.

Here’s New Yorker Carol telling the rest of the story, from her funny blog post:

We got on the Lexington Ave. express. It was packed, but Micaela and I were lucky enough to get a seat. Jana was standing. As the doors closed we heard the familiar sound of someone asking for money. The man standing next to Jana gave the guy a dollar.

And then the unthinkable happened…Jana talked to the dollar-giving guy.

I was astounded.  Jana asked him if he always gives money to people begging on the subway or does he evaluate the story first and then give. The man told Jana he gives out of love and because he always gives money, he gets money back. Now he has a lot of money. Jana then asked what he did for money?  His reply? He sold da ganja.

Yep,  He sold marijuana.

Weed, Mary Jane, Waccy tobaccy. Chronic. Grass. He said he was from Trinidad and asked Jana what month she was born in. She told him and he said that according to the bible she was part of the tribe of Joshua. What tribe is that?  Where is that in the bible?  Mr. Chronic said it was in the LOST BOOKS of the Bible. Oh. We finally got to the Brooklyn Bridge stop where Micaela, Jana and I got off and Jana’s new best friend hoped that God blessed her and continued on.

Yep! I just get so curious I can’t help talking to strangers.

After the fascinating ride to Brooklyn the three of us walked across the bridge, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, with Carol pointing out the landmarks. Then she headed home to attend a birthday party and Micaela and I went in search of a spot where we could draw the bridge. Below are some views from the bridge:

The area of Brooklyn at the end of the bridge is called DUMBO, for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge.” The two bridges are just a few blocks apart and the area under and between them is packed with interesting shops and a variety of mostly renovated old brick apartment buildings and art galleries.

The annual DUMBO Art Festival was going on and the streets were filled with thousands of partiers, artists and bands. We skipped the crowds and found our way down to a new waterfront park by the “Famous Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory” right next to the bridge. (That’s the sketch at the top of the post and here’s a photo of it):

Famous Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Famous Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

The sign in front of the lighthouse-looking building says “Famous Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory” in case you weren’t sure it was the “famous” one. We didn’t try the ice cream; the line was way too long.

When we finished our sketches it was early evening. Micaela and I wandered around the area, looking for the right subway station. I wanted to preview where I would need to go after dinner at my friends’ apartment nearby. She got on the train and went back to the Metropolitan Museum for the 8:00 p.m. John Zorn concert. I made my way through the DUMBO Art Festival chaos to Nora and Kevin’s beautiful, new apartment.

After fantastic home-cooked vegetarian dinner Nora, an art director, showed me her website (scroll down the page to see some of her recent work). I told her I’d seen Cutie and the Boxer and she said that they live a block away in a funky old apartment building full of artists and that most of the movie was filmed in DUMBO.

When it was time to leave they took me up to the roof to see their spectacular view first:

Rooftop View of the Manhattan Bridge

Rooftop View of the Manhattan Bridge with park in foreground

Nora pointed out the building next door and told me actor Ann Hathaway lives there. I wish I did!

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