Oakland’s Lake Chalet Plus Drawing Rocks and Milk Cartons

Lake Chalet on Lake Merritt, Oakland. Ink & watercolor, 5x7.5"

Lake Chalet (and Plumbing) on Lake Merritt, Oakland. Ink & watercolor, 5×7.5″

Lake Chalet was originally built over 100 years ago as a high-pressure salt water pumping station for the Oakland Fire Department. In 1913, two wings were added to serve as boathouses. In 2009 the building was transformed into a lively restaurant and bar with outdoor seating on the docks behind it on the lake.

What attracted me to draw this scene wasn’t the lovely building; it was the multiple plumbing features on the grass that slopes down to the restaurant from the sidewalk where I sat to draw. And of course the antique street lights that circle the lake.

Milk at Picante, ink & watercolor, 5x5"

Milk Carton at Picante, ink & watercolor, 5×5″

I struggled trying to draw these two milk cartons so issued a challenge to the other sketchers at my table to draw them too. We all had different views of the cartons set in the middle of the table so it was fun to see the variety of approaches and points of view.

Drawing Rocks Practice on Sculpture at Oakland Museum, ink & watercolor, 5x7x5"

Drawing Rocks Practice on Sculpture at Oakland Museum, ink & watercolor, 5x7x5″

After a workshop on drawing rocks (part of John Muir Laws’ Bay Area Nature Journal Club) Susan and I walked down to the Oakland Museum’s sculpture garden, looking for rocks to practice on. The only rock-like object we could find was this clay sculpture. It’s so helpful to practice new concepts before they slip from my mind, as most things do these days.

Advertisements

The Exotic Loring Cafe and On a Starbucks Bag

Loring Cafe, Oakland, ink & watercolor, 8x10"

Loring Cafe, Oakland, ink & watercolor, 8×10″

Oakland’s Loring Cafe has the most eclectic decor and architecture I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. In addition to the arches, pillars, sculptures, palms and vibrant lighting, the restroom is like a brick-covered Hobbit house with no sink. To wash your hands you step out of the restroom where there is a large, round, stainless steel, multi-user industrial sink with little signs explaining how to turn on the faucets and get soap. Quite a unique washroom experience!

I’m glad I had my jumbo Moleskine watercolor journal with me since there was so much to capture in one drawing (above).

Sketched at Starbucks on Starbucks Pastry Bag

Sketched at Starbucks on Starbucks Pastry Bag

As my note in the sketch above says, I was just recovering from a bad cold and was so tired after my walk to return movies to the video store I had to stop at Starbucks to sit before I could walk back home.¬† I’m always grateful there are still video stores to provide entertainment during an illness. The only good thing about being sick is the opportunity to catch up on movies. Fortunately I don’t get sick often, and this sketch was done back in April. I think I’m caught up now on old sketches.

Oakland Museum: View From Sculpture Garden

View from Oakland Museum Sculpture Garden, ink & watercolor, 8x10"

View from Oakland Museum Sculpture Garden, ink & watercolor, 8×10″

After my monthly workshop at the Oakland Museum, with John Muir Laws and his Bay Area Nature Journal Club, I stayed to sketch in the beautiful sculpture garden. There are lovely trees and plantings, colorful sculptures and interesting urban views. The building with the flag atop it is the County Courthouse on the next block.

I also visited the fabulous “Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Lui exhibit.” The show features several rooms of her very large paintings plus early sketchbooks and painting studies completed in China before she came to the U.S. in 1984. The film of her painting with luscious juicy paint (and her signature drips) made me want to run to the studio and pick up a brush.

Oakland Chinatown Sketch and Group Photo (Plus One)

Oakland Chinatown, ink & watercolor, 5x8"

Oakland Chinatown, ink & watercolor, 5×8″

Early on the morning after Thanksgiving our Urban Sketchers group went to Oakland’s Chinatown for some sketching. It was business as usual in the busy produce markets, herb shops, meat and seafood stalls, and Chinese restaurants, with no sign of Black Friday.

I found a spot to sit in front of a bank and had fun drawing all the details in the architecture. I started in pencil because the scene seemed so complicated. It’s easier to get it “right” with an eraser but it takes so much longer to draw it twice, in pencil and then in ink. I had to add the watercolor at home from a photo because by the time I chose my spot and did the drawing, it was time to meetup with the group.

While I drew, local people stopped to watch and give me encouragement, whether in excellent or broken English. My favorite was the plump, elderly lady who said something in Chinese, grinned, and gave me a big thumbs up. The amazing thing about sketching in public is that no matter how good or bad you’re doing, people always say nice, encouraging things.

Chinatown-plus-1-outtake

Chinatown-some of the Urban Sketchers plus-1 (that’s me, second to right)

Since many of us were there, we took photos for our group blog. I used the timer on my camera, setting it on the edge of a defunct fountain in the center of this plaza. I didn’t realize I was including the lady on the end. She must have been really tired as she nodded off and slept through our photo session. The photo we ultimately used on the USK blog masthead here was kindly taken by a guy who watched me repeatedly duck under the yellow warning tape around the fountain, set up the camera, and dash back to sit with my friends.

The Actual Cafe and Neighborhood

Around the Corner from Actual Cafe, ink & watercolor 6x8"

Around the Corner from Actual Cafe, ink & watercolor 6×8″

When we arrived at the Actual Cafe in Oakland to sketch, the sun was just starting to set. It seemed a shame to go indoors while it was still nice out so we sketched around the corner from the cafe first. Even though it’s in a rundown neighborhood, this house had some charm, with its pillars and rounded porch roof.

Susan Ford's Sketch of Me Sketching

Susan Ford’s Sketch of Me Sketching

While I was sketching the house, Susan was sketching me sketching the house (above). She also got the house next door and the cute car as well.

Actual Cafe Espresso machine and counter, ink & watercolor, 6x8"

Actual Cafe Espresso machine and counter, ink & watercolor, 6×8″

And then we went inside. I had a delicious cappuccino (decaf these days) and sketched their snazzy Italian espresso machine. As you may have noticed, these are from September; I’m still trying to get caught up on posting sketches and paintings but I just keep making more. That’s a good thing, right?

%d bloggers like this: