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Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Life in general Outdoors/Landscape Places Richmond Annex Sketchbook Pages Sketchercize

Teepees in the Hood: Sketchercize

Teepees in the 'Hood, ink & watercolor
Teepees in the 'Hood, ink & watercolor

I went out for a bit of “sketchercize” today, trying to get unsluggish. My plan was to walk 30 minutes, sketch wherever I landed at 30 minutes and then walk 30 minutes back. But 15 minutes out I came across this odd montage and had to stop right there. Up a few stairs just past some lovely native drought resistant plantings, and a miniature pagoda was a full sized authentic teepee in front of a wall of bamboo. Somewhere behind that was a house.

Why would someone have a teepee in their front yard? Is it for houseguests who have overstayed their welcome? A mother-in-law apartment? A garden shed? A kid’s playhouse? An art studio? A meditation room? A dog house? A place to just get away?

One nice thing about living in the San Francisco Bay Area, or at least in this part of it, is the feeling of “Anything goes,” and “Live and let live.” Slightly (?) odd artists like me fit right in. I definitely found my tribe when I moved to Berkeley, and while I live a few miles north of there now, apparently it’s close enough for teepees.

And now off to watch the season five finale of Project Runway on DVD. Since I’ve finished all 5 seasons of The Wire, and caught up on Project Runway, I’m excited to get back to more drawing and reading and much, much less time in front of the TV!

Categories
Animals Bay Area Parks Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Outdoors/Landscape Places Richmond Annex Sketchbook Pages Sketchercize

Amazing Grace: “Sketchercizing” on the S.F. Bay Trail

Amazing Grace, ink and watercolor 6x9"
Amazing Grace, ink and watercolor 6x9"

The weather is gorgeous in the S.F. Bay Area today, sunny and warm with a gentle breeze. It inspired me to drag my old bike out of hiding and go for my first bike ride in two years. Of course the tires were completely flat. I got my first bit of exercise pumping up the tires (while managing to get chain grease all over myself working from the wrong side of the bike.) Finally took off down the street and 3 blocks later realized that when the front tire pointed straight ahead, the handles bars were turned to the left.

Rode back home, called bike store, got directions to fix it, used wrong little L-shaped wrench thingee which got stuck in the hole, called bike store again, found the correct metric wrench they said to use in my son’s tools he left behind in my garage, got the stuck one out, tried again, but couldn’t loosen the bolt. Looked around to see if there were any men home on the block who could strong-arm it for me. No men home.

Called sons  (both avid cyclists). Son #1 not answering. Son #2 was working from home and was  so sweet, came right over and fixed it for me.  Finally, two hours after I first planned to leave, I was on my way, down to the Bay Trail.

It was glorious! I rode through Richmond Annex, crossed over the freeway on the pedestrian bridge at Sacramento St., over to Central, down to the Bay Trail, and rode all the way to the Rosie the Riveter Monument and National Park in Richmond. I stopped to paint the ship “Amazing Grace” (above) in the Marina Bay Yacht Harbor.

Sit Stay Cafe at Pt. Isabell, ink & watercolor, 6x9"
Sit Stay Cafe at Pt. Isabell, ink & watercolor, 6x9"

My reward on the way home was lunch at the Sit Stay Cafe at Pt. Isabel. I was sitting under a bright red-orange umbrella there when I painted this and so all the colors came out really weird (that’s the bay and SF in the distance on upper right). I loved the body language of the people and the dogs.  Pt. Isabel is an enormous dog park along the bay with spectacular views. The cafe is next door to Mud Puppy’s Tub and Scrub dog bathing shop, so the patio and cafe are dog friendly.

Then I cycled home happy, if a bit sunburned. Tonight is the El Cerrito Art Association meeting, with a demo by artist and Liquitext rep Michele Theberge.

What a great day! The views of the bay, the harbors, the city, were spectacular, the sun hot and the breezes cooling. Doesn’t get much better than this! Definitely an Amazing Grace kind of day!

(Some of this also posted on Sketchercise.ning.com.)

Categories
Landscape Life in general Oil Painting Outdoors/Landscape Painting Places Richmond Annex

Richmond Annex Smurf House

Annex Smurf House, oil on Gessobord, 9x12"
Annex Smurf House, oil on Gessobord, 9x12"

Every time I go for a walk in my neighborhood this house always makes me stop and wonder. It’s painted a perfect Smurf blue and someone obviously puts a lot of care into keeping the juniper tams carved into moon-rock shapes amidst the sparkly white quartz ground cover. But why? Maybe so that one day someone like me would come along and be inspired to paint it. And so I did!

It also brings back memories of when I lived in a Smurf house of my own creating. We’d just bought a fixer upper in North Berkeley and while my husband and his brothers did all the really hard remodeling work, my job was to shop for the stuff they needed and keep the kids out of their way.

I was sent out for house paint and had in mind a nice Colonial blue. I found the perfect color and had many gallons mixed, not wanting to spend the money to buy a quart to test first. Major mistake! In a neighborhood of craftsman bungalows painted in tasteful  earth colors, our little Smurf house stood out, and not in a good way.

It’s been a couple of decades since we sold the house and went our separate ways, but the house is still there, and the paint job is holding up nicely and hasn’t faded a bit.