After an extraordinary autumn and early winter, with many things other than art going on in my life, I’ve gotten way behind on posting. This goose isn’t really a Christmas goose, it’s a summer goose, as are the rest of these sketches from Knox Miller park.
Knox Miller Park in Pt. Richmond is so pretty, with a lagoon of sorts, grassy meadows and the bay and mountains of Marin in the distance. The birds were all sketched from photos, the little landscape above was the only sketch I managed to do on site, after arriving late and feeling poorly that day.
Silly goose. My first attempt at drawing him from a photo.
I struggled and struggled trying to draw and paint this unusual white pelican from a blurry photo. I ended up adding some gouache to get back some white, which never really works well.
One of our Urban Sketchers, Susan Ford, is a landscape designer who discovered this amazing secret garden in Pt. Richmond that overlooks the bay. The owners of the property, whose home is just above the garden, recruited concrete artist/sculptor Victor Amador (photos: concrete work) to create winding paths, walls and little nooks with seating areas, all with views of the Bay. They hired Kellee Adams (photos/video about the plantings) to fill it with colorful, abundant plants. And then the owners opened the property to the public.
I painted the larger watercolor above by working from my on-site sketch (below) as well as from memory and a funky cell phone photo.
We sketched until sunset, and the evening felt like a truly spiritual experience. It was so peaceful to be surrounded by sky and sea and the sounds of birds, bees, breezes. Although we were only blocks from the freeway I felt like I was far away on a distant island.
Here is a video from a local TV station about the park and its creators when it was first opened in 2008. It doesn’t do justice to the planting which was new then, but is fully grown now.
The Wave Garden is located at the end of Grandview Court in Point Richmond and parking is limited. If you visit, please be quiet and respectful of the neighbors.
It was so cold, cloudy and windy the morning my plein air group met to paint in Pt. Richmond I decided to start out by sketching from my car. The old Richmond Plunge, now completely and beautifully restored, is the first thing you see when you drive into Pt. Richmond. After I finished the sketch I crossed the street and explored the building and pool. Wow! I’m inspired to start swimming again.
After my tour of the Natatorium, I headed to the main street of this little town, looking for a spot out of the wind to sketch. But I was seduced indoors by seeing my friend Sonia sketching at a table sipping a warm cup of tea. I joined her at the window table with a huge tray of apples on it and ordered a cup of coffee.
I started by drawing the apples on our table and then just kept going, drawing each next thing I saw. I was a little worried about getting the wonderful patterned floor tiles right, but took it slowly and they came out ok.
I liked Little Louie’s so much I returned the next morning with a friend for breakfast. I had a fabulous spinach, mushroom, bacon and cheddar omelet that was so big I had to take half of it home for lunch.
When I arrived at Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline the sky was gray and cloudy but even in the fog the park had so many great views: a salt water lagoon, Mt. Tamalpais across the bay, a fishing pier, an abandoned ferry landing, beautiful trees, and across the road, a railroad museum and a squat yellow building that houses a motorcycle club.
I finally picked a spot and got started with the above thumbnail sketch. I set my ViewCatcher to 8×10 and looked through its “window” to choose the composition. Then I put the ViewCatcher on my sketchbook and traced around the inside of the window to outline a box in my journal of the same proportion. By the time I was ready to add watercolor to the thumbnail sketch most of the fog had lifted except over the hills, and the sun was shining.
Above is how the painting looked when I brought it home. The composition needed work: the picture is evenly divided in half with 2 trees on left, 2 trees on right and an empty center. The lagoon and bay should have been different colors. Too bad I’d ignored my thumbnail once I started painting because it had a much better composition.
I tried to continue the painting from a photo but the photo didn’t match my memory of the colors and light, even after Photoshopping it (below). But it did at least offer some clues for fixing the composition, like adding the sailboats (duh!).
Maybe I should add in the little “No Swimming” sign (only putting it on the left side as I did in my thumbnail). What do you think?