Emeryville Ink and watercolor wash Landscape Places Sketchbook Pages

Closed and Open: New and Old Bay Bridges

New and Old Bay Bridges, ink & watercolor, 5x8"
New and Old Bay Bridges, ink & watercolor, 5×8″

They closed down the old Bay Bridge over the long Labor Day weekend to disconnect it and open the new Bay Bridge that took twenty years to plan and build. After breakfast in Emeryville on Monday morning, we walked to Ikea, which is near the start of the bridge, and climbed up to their rooftop parking structure to get a look at the two bridges, which were both still closed.

It’s kind of weird seeing them piggy-backed together like that. We could see where the old bridge had been cut off and barricaded which brought back memories of the big earthquake in 1989 that broke the bridge, leaving a car dangling. I was home sick with the flu when that happened, and remember lying in bed feverish, watching the video of the bridge breaking, the car sliding off, over and over.

The new bridge opened to traffic Monday evening. On Tuesday they opened the bike and pedestrian lanes. You can only walk from the East Bay side to the central tower now, since they have to tear down the old bridge before they can complete the bike/pedestrian lanes all the way to San Francisco.

I’m plan to walk the 5-mile round trip soon, and sketch from the bridge. For this one I had to work from a photo because my breakfast buddy didn’t want to wait while I sketched, especially since we still had a long walk back to our car at the Doyle Street Cafe.

Drawing Emeryville Ink and watercolor wash Landscape Outdoors/Landscape Painting Places Sketchbook Pages Urban Sketchers

Emeryville Marina Chevy’s Sign at Sunset (Updated)

Emeryville Marina Chevys Sign at Sunset, ink & watercolor
Emeryville Marina Chevy's Sign at Sunset, ink & watercolor

(Apologies for posting twice–forgot to include all three images the first time).
I noticed this palm tree-lined street when I was exiting Highway 80 in Emeryville and suggested it as a place for our Urban Sketchers group to meet. I guess the directions I provided to the spot weren’t very good because everyone else went down to the end of the marina and I sketched alone all evening.

Photo of sketch before I painted it
Photo of sketch before I painted it

I knew we’d meet at Chevy’s Mexican Restaurant at 8:30 so I wasn’t worried. This was one of those really fun drawings where I started by deciding what I most wanted to fit on the page (the lamp post, palm trees, Chevy’s sign and water). I started with the lamp post because I could use it to figure out where other things lined up to it. And then I just kept seeing and drawing more and more until it was all in there.

photo of the scene
photo of the scene (slightly different angle)

I painted the sketch just as the sunset was at its brightest and everything looked so pretty, pink and yellow. It’s such a lovely spot, and yet so urban, within a couple blocks of two major freeways and the entrance to the Bay Bridge. You can see Cathy’s sketches of  the bay bridge and the freeway on our Urban Sketchers Bay Area blog.

Animals Emeryville Gardening Ink and watercolor wash Painting Sketchbook Pages

Ground Squirrel and Mysterious Hole

Emeryville Marina Ground Squirrel, ink & watercolor
Emeryville Marina Ground Squirrel, ink & watercolor

After a delicious breakfast on the patio at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Diner in Emeryville last Sunday, my friend Michael and I walked around the Emeryville Marine. He’s very patient with my need to stop and pet dogs and to take photos of things when I can’t sketch (can’t because he doesn’t have that much patience). I loved this cute little guy’s Joe Casual pose. When I got home I sketched him and his portrait now has the place of honor as the first page in my new journal.

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, Emeryville, color photo
Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, Emeryville, color photo (I so wanted to sketch the scene when I was there, but also wanted to socialize so I took a photo and made a note to come sketch at Rudy's on a Tuesday night with my sketch buddies.)

Mysterious Hole

Meanwhile something dug a 6″ wide hole and tunnel under the grass in my backyard. I searched online, trying to find out what kind of animal dug the hole. I found this website that tells you, based on the diameter of the hole and the mounding of the dirt around it. According to that site and this one, the most likely options were armadillo, fox or badger.

Except I live in urban northern California where we definitely don’t have armadillos, badgers or foxes. We do have opossums and raccoons, but possums live in trees, not burrows, and both raccoons and possums have soft hands so their only digging is for grubs just under the sod.

Worried that it could be some huge kind of rat, I called the county’s Vector Control Department (love the euphemism “vector” for nasty critters that spread disease). A very nice gentleman came out this morning but he couldn’t figure it out either, although he mumbled something about skunks but then said not.

I followed his instructions to dig up and fill in the hole, lay a board next to it, sprinkle the board with baby powder and check it mornings looking for footprints in the powder. If the critter comes back he’ll leave his footprint and then we’ll know what it was. Maybe it’s a very small heffalump.