Categories
Animals Bay Area Parks Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Landscape Outdoors/Landscape Painting Places Plein Air Sketchbook Pages

Earthquake Weather Sketching

Miller-Knox Park Sketches, Journal Spread, 11x7"
Miller-Knox Park Sketches, Journal Spread, 11x7" (see enlarged individuals pics below)

We are having the most glorious Indian summer this October, with nicer weather than we had during the real summer. I always think of this hot, dry weather as Earthquake Weather because of the earthquakes and fires during other hot Octobers. And sure enough there have been several earthquakes the past week.

The little tree, from my car, sketch #1, ink & watercolor
Little tree, from my car, sketch #1, ink & watercolor

When I arrived at Miller-Knox park for a plein air group paint out at 10:00, I decided to sketch the first thing I saw: this little tree. I sketched from where I parked my car. At the end of the paint out, when we returned to the parking lot, everyone was laughing at the dope who parked their car all wonky and it was my car they were pointing at.

Apparently in my enthusiasm to get sketching, I managed to park at such an angle that I went around the cement parking stop blocks, ending up half on the grass and half in the next space, none of which I’d noticed doing.

Lagoon view, geese in the shade
Lagoon view, geese in the shade

I took a walk and found a nice spot in the shade with a view of the lagoon and lots of white geese and Canadian geese. I lost the white geese when I repainted the shaded area so later added some white watercolor (which never quite works) to try to get them back. Since they’re in the shade, it’s OK that they’re not super white.

Lagoon and bridge view
Lagoon and bridge view

In the Bay Area you can be in a stunningly beautiful park but have views of freeways or bridges in the background that remind you you’re still in an urban area.

People Picnicking in the Park
People Picnicking in the Park

My last sketch of the day was of these folks setting up a picnic under the trees. This was one of those days when the weather was perfect, the scenery beautiful, and my pen and paint just worked.

Categories
Animals Art supplies Drawing Every Day Matters Illustration

Ostrich with Hole in the Sand (How I Get My News)

Ostrich with Hole in the Sand, ink on Stonehenge paper
Ostrich with Hole in the Sand, ink on Stonehenge paper

One of the Everyday in May drawing cues is “Draw How You Get Your News.” The image that immediately came to mind was an ostrich with its head in the sand. I am the opposite of a news junkie. I cancelled my newspaper subscription years ago when I realized it made me cry nearly every day. TV news is even worse, with “If it bleeds, it leads” as the guiding principle.

So I just stick my head in the sand instead of consuming all the fear-based media, and do what I can to create better news. Avoiding the news means I can continue to believe that most people are mostly good and that it’s great to be alive.

About the paper: Stonehenge just started making their wonderfully soft drawing paper in this color called “Kraft” except unlike regular Kraft paper it’s archival 100% cotton. It’s fun to draw on with black ink and white gel pen.

About ostriches: They don’t really bury their heads in the sand. When frightened they try to hide by lying low and pressing their long necks to the ground which could look like they have buried their heads in the sand.

Categories
Animals Drawing Ink and watercolor wash People Sketchbook Pages

Scottish Festival at Ardenwood, Part 2

Warrior in full leather (and kilt), ink & watercolor
Warrior in full leather (and kilt), ink & watercolor

Moving on from the bagpipers in the last post to some of the other characters I met at the Scottish Festival. Except for the kilt, this guy could have been in Mad Max. I asked him about his metal cup since nearly every person in character either was carrying one or had one clipped to their belts. I asked whether drinking was an important part of the culture. He said no, that when you were served beverages you were expected to have your own goblet or mug, they weren’t provided.

Sitting in the Clan Cian booth
Sitting in the Clan Cian booth

This old gent with the long white hair and beard was one of the most authentic-looking characters.

Mary Queen of Scotts
Mary Queen of Scotts

She behaved quite regally but seemed to be a kind sovereign.

Serving girl
Serving girl

She was hanging out and helping to serve in the beer garden. I added extra length to her skirt using Photoshop cloning after my sister pointed out she looked to be standing in a hole or missing feet because her skirt wasn’t long enough.

M'lady in royal blue
M

A tent was set up to demonstrate how the lords and ladies traveled in style, with full silver settings, rugs, bedding and furniture. They could only travel (to visit other lords and ladies) very short distances each day in their wagons because of the weight and all the setting up required for their servants to create a home away from home each day.

Romans waiting by a small fire truck for a parade to begin
Romans waiting by a small fire truck for a parade to begin

Along with Scots there were Romans, Vikings and even a couple of pirates.

Categories
Animals Bay Area Parks Berkeley Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Oil Painting Painting Places Sketchbook Pages

Thanksgiving Turkey Leftovers

Thanksgiving After Dinner Sketch, ink & watercolor
Thanksgiving After Dinner Sketch, ink & watercolor

Most of the year my sister Marcy’s dining room is her art studio, and the table is full of art projects in process. For thanksgiving dinner she graciously hauled all of her studio stuff into the spare room and set a beautiful table for ten, complete with grandma’s china, table cloth and candles. When dinner was over the table’s real purpose called out to me and I sketched and painted by the warm glow of the candles.

The next day in honor of our turkey feast, I painted wild turkeys from photos I’d taken last summer on an evening walk in Tilden Park.

Turkey, oil on panel, 6x6"
Turkey, oil on panel, 6x6"

I started with oils but found it frustrating, especially on the small panel (above) so I switched to ink and watercolor in my sketchbook (below).

Tilden Park Turkey, ink & watercolor
Tilden Park Turkey, ink & watercolor

The turkey guy above was strutting his stuff, showing off for a lady turkey. When she ignored him and wandered off down the path, turkey dude and his buddy followed behind, shaking their tail feathers, still trying to get her attention.

Stayin Alive' Turkey Walk
Stayin' Alive Turkey Trot

I imaged the turkey dudes strutting to the song “Stayin’ Alive” by the BeeGees that starts with:

“Well you can tell by the way I use my walk.
I’m a woman’s man; no time to talk…”

OMG! Those tightie whitie pants! Here’s last year’s Thanksgiving Leftovers post (same table).

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

Roof Garden Lunch at the Cathedral, Oakland

 

Lunch in the Cathedral Garden, ink & watercolor
Lunch in the Cathedral Garden, ink & watercolor

 

Every now and then I manage to get out of the office at lunch time long enough to eat and even sketch for a few minutes. Across the street from our office building is a huge modern cathedral that looks more like a concrete prison with an upside down glass ship on the roof.

Their roof garden follows the concrete theme, with a sort of maze of square concrete planters with benches that force you to sit straight upright on them. But there are trees, shrubbery, and perfectly maintained grass (a delightful treat to pull off sandals and enjoy on bare feet).

I keep wondering why I never see any birds in the roof garden even though it is across the street from Lake Merritt which is a bird refuge, full of pigeons, waterfowl, pelicans, egrets and more. And it is kitty-corner from Snow Park favored by huge flocks of Canadian geese and pigeons (and always covered in big slimy goose turds). Do the guards chase the birds away? Are pigeons Catholic?

Update: I wrote to the Cathedral’s contact person and she explained why there are no birds: “With regard to the birds, I think the main reason for the lack thereof is the cleanliness of the facility. Birds will congregate wherever there is food. Our janitorial staff is always sweeping and keeping the grounds neat and clean.” It’s true, the place is very clean.