Berkeley Gardening Ink and watercolor wash Sketchbook Pages

Empress Hornblower and the Wanna Be Cantaloupe

Empress Hornblower at Sunset, ink and watercolor, 5x7 in
Empress Hornblower at Sunset, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

Sounds like a great title for a children’s book, no? The Empress Hornblower (above) is part of a fleet of party boats moored behind the ritzy hotel at the northern Berkeley marina, an area long-time residents remember as the old Berkeley dump.

Before “ecology” and “global warming” were common words, cities dumped their garbage, old cars, construction rubble, etc. in the San Francisco Bay. As they filled in the bay with garbage, they created new land on which they built housing, freeways, and, when they finally closed the dump, parks and hotels.

Wanna Be Cantalope
Wanna Be Cantaloupe, ink and watercolor, 5×7 in

My tenant (I own/live in a duplex) loves to garden so I put in a raised bed for her and we prepared the soil along the side of our property for flowers and veges. When she  planted cantaloupes I warned her they wouldn’t thrive in our foggy climate but she ignored me.

They were cute but never got bigger than chubby  cucumbers, and probably most of that was skin. She pulled them out before she left on vacation in October. I didn’t have the heart to ask her if she ate them or put them in the green bin for recycling.

Berkeley Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Interiors Painting Places Sketchbook Pages Urban Sketchers

Sunset at the Doubletree Hotel, Berkeley


Sunset Hornblower, Berkeley, Ink & watercolor
Sunset Hornblower, Berkeley, Ink & watercolor


On the last night of the heat wave we met to sketch behind the Doubletree Hotel in Berkeley by the bay to cool off. The debate between candidates for California’s governor was on the radio so I listened on my iPhone while I sketched and it added a little spice to the evening. Who knew ol’ Jerry Brown was so funny?


Doubletree Lobby Chairs, Ink & watercolor
Doubletree Lobby Chairs, Ink & watercolor

When it got too dark we explored the hotel, looking for sketching options. We considered the pool, the restaurant and the bar, but the seating area in the lobby was so comfy we plopped down and spent the rest of the evening drawing the chairs. You can see all of our renditions together on the Urban Sketchers Bay Area Blog.