If you’re in the Bay Area the weekend of July 12-14, you’re invited to join in the sketching fun. We’ll be meeting Friday evening in Berkeley, all day Saturday in San Francisco and half a day on Sunday at Lake Merritt in Oakland.
Several art supply companies are supporting the event by donating sketching supplies and the local press have interviewed Urban Sketchers and are helping to promote the event with articles and arts and events columns.
The $2.00 taco was delicious, made to order from the box mounted to Taco Bike. As I look at my sketch above I am wondering: there must have been a third wheel on the other side of the cart. Otherwise it would be impossible to ride and balance, no? And they did ride it in to the park.
My plein air group was meeting at Oakland’s Lakeside Garden Center, but when I parked at Fairyland across the from the garden I decided to start there. It is a small amusement park where children create their own amusement in storybook-themed play areas/structures.
I hadn’t been there since my kids were little; adults aren’t usually allowed in without kids but this day Fairyland was hosting the Childrens’ Hospital Anniversary celebration and everyone was allowed in. I tried to sketch a parade (above) as it zipped by. Behind the parade are children sliding on cardboard down a little grassy hill and balloons everywhere.
At the other end of Fairyland a radio station was emceeing the event over loudspeakers. They introduced a guy who performed annoying kids’ songs who was followed by blasting Latin music and someone shrieking “TURN, TURN, SHIMMY, WHOOEEE!!! WHOOP WHOOP! TURN, TURN!…” I later learned this was a Zumba demo.
All morning I’d felt a migraine coming on and the Zumba shouting was the last straw. I headed over to the Japanese garden in the Lakeside Garden Center. The peaceful setting and sound of the waterfall soothed my achey head long enough to sketch and paint the scene.
I don’t know what they were pumping out of the ground but the name on the truck—”Environliners”—made me think I probably wouldn’t want to know. It was a gorgeous summer day and I was determined to get outside for a few minutes at lunchtime. I spent it eating a take-out salad and sketching in Snow Park across the street from our building in Oakland.
Our office culture is to eat with co-workers in the office kitchen and get right back to work since there’s always more to do than hours in the day. We’ve even been trying to figure out how to add a new month to the calendar to fit it all in. But some days you have to forget about all that and just enjoy the moment and the all-too-rare sunshine in the Bay Area this summer.
After work Tuesday night we met to sketch at Lake Merritt which is across the street from my office. I guess I drank too much coffee that day because I couldn’t settle down and focus. There was a fascinating parade of people walking by, all talking to each other or on cellphones, leaving bits of conversation in their wake.
I warmed up with some sketches of the local seabirds and passing people, noting a few conversation snippets. That’s an old Chinese lady with a pole over her shoulders carrying huge garbage bags on either side that were bigger than she was. I assume she was gathering cans to recycle for a few dollars.
When it got cold and windy we headed up to my office on the 25th floor and drew the view out the window. I liked my sketch of the building and tall trees at the bottom of the page but instead of stopping there, I kept drawing until the page was full. I didn’t like that so tried various ways to hide the rest and finally pasted ruled tracing paper over it.