Sunset on Pt. Isabel in Gouache

Point Isabel at Sunset, Gouache on Arches Watercolor paper, 9x12

Point Isabel at Sunset, Gouache on Arches Watercolor paper, 9×12″

Continuing my gouache experiments, I was pretty happy with the way this one turned out. I gave it to my daughter-in-law when she told me how much she liked it and would love to hang it on her wall. Now she can. That’s one of the best by-products of a passion for painting…being able to share my vision with others.

Photo that didn't at all capture the vibrancy of what I was seeing in real life!

Photo that didn’t at all capture the vibrancy of what I was seeing in real life!

Random Little Moleskine Sketches


Here are some random sketches from hikes and walks with my dog, sitting in meetings, a movie shown in a library and at the dog park. These are all in my pocket Moleskine that I carry with me all the time. Hover over images to read captions or click on them to see them larger.

Christmas Goose and a White Pelican

Canadian Goose, Knox Miller Park, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

Canadian Goose, Knox Miller Park, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

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 Clouds, watercolor, 5x7 in

Knox Miller Park Clouds, watercolor, 5×7 in

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.

Knox Miller Goose, ink and watercolor 5x7 in

Knox Miller Goose, ink and watercolor 5×7 in

Silly goose. My first attempt at drawing him from a photo.

White Pelican, Knox Miller Park, ink, watercolor and gouache, 5x7 in

White Pelican, Knox Miller Park, ink, watercolor and gouache, 5×7 in

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.

Urban Avians and the Highway

Birdwatching at Albany Bulb 1, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

Birdwatching at Albany Bulb 1, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

While I was having my car’s oil changed at Toyota Albany I took a hike down to the SF Bay Trail to sketch. I followed a confusing bike and walking path that goes up onto an overpass and then down under the freeway. It leads to the marsh on the way out to Albany Bulb, a spit of land homesteaded by the homeless that the city is constantly trying to reclaim. There were birds everywhere, including the beautiful, delicate white Snowy Egrets that always delight me (above).

Pigeons on the Freeway, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in

Pigeons on the Freeway, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

I even spotted birds living right on the freeway walls; the family of pigeons above didn’t seem disturbed by the constant roar of cars. The hike was a bit isolated, and it felt spooky walking under the freeways, even on a sunny weekday morning. Fortunately the few people I saw along the way were polite bicyclists. No trolls living under these bridges like the Brothers Grimm fairytale I remember with horror from my childhood.

Birdwatching at Albany Bulb, ink, 5x7 in

Birdwatching at Albany Bulb, ink, 5×7 in

While I was sketching, a man was photographing birds nearby and he told me the names of the birds we were seeing, and how to differentiate them. I made notes on my sketch as I tried to figure out the basic shape of the birds.

Spring Into Summer

John Muir Home and Orchard, ink, watercolor & gouache, 8x10"

John Muir Home and Orchard, ink, watercolor & gouache, 8×10″

After I filled the jumbo Moleskine watercolor journal I discovered I forgot to post several pages. From March! So here are a few of those sketches from early spring. Above and below are the John Muir home, with a bit of the fruit tree orchards and redwoods on the property. I sketched and painted these on site, with a little gouache added to the fruit tree blossoms at home.

John Muir Landscape, ink, watercolor & gouache, 10x8"

John Muir Landscape, ink, watercolor & gouache, 10×8″

Spring at Blake Gardens, watercolor, 10x8"

Spring at Blake Gardens, watercolor, 10×8″

Above is another spring sketch, painted directly with watercolor, of  magnolia trees and the pretty little flowers planted around the tree.

Playing Catch Up!

Egret at Miller-Knox Park, Ink & watercolor 5x8"

Egret at Miller-Knox Park, Ink & watercolor 5×8″

Since my end-of-year wrap-up blog post remains unfinished, here are a couple of autumn sketches that were waiting patiently to be posted. I have a good excuse though: my new iMac arrived last week and since then I’ve been immersed in learning the Mac after over a decade on Windows PCs. I’ve been transferring files, talking to both Moron and Genius-level tech support, and installing and learning Mac versions of my applications.

Miller-Knox Park Autumn, ink & watercolor, 5x8"

Miller-Knox Park Autumn, ink & watercolor, 5×8″

I’m finding the Mac to be quite delightful in many ways and a bit confounding in others. But little by little I’m getting the hang of it… And..Oh Crud! right after I typed that I made some kind of wrong move and instantly I was popped out of the blog and into an endless loop of…

Computer: “Are you sure you want to leave this page?” I click: “Stay on page.” Computer: “Are you sure you want to leave this page?” over and over until I finally give up, say OK and click “Leave this page.” And of course nothing happens. Had to force quit and restart.

But Yay WordPress; it saved the draft! I wish I knew what I did so I don’t do it again. It has happened a bunch of times and I have no clue why.

It’s quite humbling going from being expert on the PC to being such a beginner that I couldn’t even figure out how to turn on the Mac (finally found the power button hidden behind the screen).

Jingle Bells and Other Good Tidings

Jingle Bells, digital sketch done on iPad in ArtStudio app

Jingle Bells, digital sketch done on iPad in ArtStudio app

Happy Holidays to everyone! I made the digital sketch above in a new-to-me iPad app called ArtStudio. I’ve tried all the others and like this one the best. It has all the features of the other programs and more but just works more intuitively for me.

I did the nighttime digital sketch below in SketchbookPro, my previous favorite program. Several of us tried sketching in the dark on iPads on this sketch outing since it lights from within so you can see what you’re drawing.

Tilden Carousel and Christmas Lights, sketched on iPad in Sketchbook Pro

Tilden Carousel and Christmas Lights, sketched on iPad in Sketchbook Pro

The carousel in Tilden Park is beautiful and they have a special Tilden Christmas Fantasy holiday lights and decorations event every year. But every time I try to sketch there I get overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds and have trouble sketching anything I like. My sketch buddies posted some great results: Cathy’s colorful merry-go-round here, Ceiny’s coverage of it all here, Cristina’s bold drawings here, and Micaela’s lifelike digital sketches here.

Photo of Tilden Christmas Fantasy

My photo of Tilden Christmas Fantasy

Not only is the giant tree and field in front of the carousel covered in lights and decorations, but the interior is filled with a hundred or so trees, animals and other items, all decorated with different themes (e.g. there was a Hello Kitty tree and a 49’ers  tree). Plus all the historic carved animals on the Merry-go-Round and the kids riding them whirling around. And Santa and the Elves taking wishes. Plus the merry-go-round music and Christmas soundtrack music being played over loudspeakers, and the smell of popcorn and cocoa from the refreshment stand.

It’s no wonder I get overwhelmed and have trouble settling down when I draw in there! Outdoors I sat on my stool by the restrooms way across the parking lot. It was quiet there.

Best wishes for love, joy and peace (and hopefully a little art)!

%d bloggers like this: