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Berkeley Building Ink and watercolor wash Interiors Sketchbook Pages

Sketching at the Laundromat

Solano Laundromat, ink and watercolor 10x8 in
Solano Laundromat, ink and watercolor 10×8 in

I haven’t been doing much urban sketching or dream drawing lately, while I try to complete a couple of commissioned dog portraits (that are taking forever) and attend figure/portrait drawing sessions and do other life stuff. But here’s a quickie from sketch night at the laundromat, a favorite place to sketch. I’m glad I have my own washer and dryer so I don’t have to go there to do laundry, but I do enjoy the perspective challenges and patterns of rows of rectangles, circles and black and white shapes, as well as the little still life of soap and baskets.

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Building Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Interiors Landscape Painting Places Pt. Richmond Urban Sketchers

Point Richmond: Sip and Swim

Richmond Plunge (AKA Natatorium), ink & watercolor 5x7"
Richmond Plunge (AKA Municipal Natatorium), ink & watercolor 5x7"

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.

Little Louies, Pt. Richmond, Ink & watercolor, 7x5"
Little Louies, Pt. Richmond, Ink & watercolor, 7x5"

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.

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

Inside Berkeley’s Maybeck-Designed First Church

First Church of Christ Scientist, Berkeley
First Church of Christ Scientist, Berkeley

The American Institute of Architects named this church one of the three finest uniquely American churches. I saw a picture of the spectacular interior and knew we had to sketch it. I contacted the architectural heritage group, Friends of First Church (see photos on their site), and one of their members was generously willing to open the church for our Tuesday night Urban Sketchers group.

She graciously gave us a tour and told us a little about the history and architecture and then we picked our spots and started drawing. The interior is sweeping and complicated, with “a pair of great crossed trusses spanning the central pace overhead.”

Interior photo from where I sat, First Church Christ Scientist
Interior photo from where I sat, First Church Christ Scientist

I tried to envision how I would get everything I wanted onto my page and then just started drawing in the left corner, working my way across the page, drawing directly in ink. I drew up until the last minute so had to add the watercolor at home.

That’s a pipe organ behind the choir loft. They’re trying to raise funds to restore it.  Everything is embellished with gilt so the room has a golden glow. The architecture and design includes many styles and periods, including Gothic, Romanesque Byzantine and Arts and Crafts.

Spending the evening in that beautiful, quiet, exquisite space was so special and we are very grateful to the Friends of First Church for so graciously sharing this jewel with us.