Insect News Network @ Philz Coffee; Sketching Cedar & Shattuck, Berkeley

Sala Berkeley Back to School Sale Window, ink & watercolor

Sala Berkeley Back to School Sale Window, ink & watercolor

Cedar and Shattuck in Berkeley on a warm fall night was perfect for our Tuesday night sketch-out. I started a few blocks south to draw the window display at “Sala.” Their windows are always great and have inspired me to draw them before. I was hurrying and didn’t quite get the proportions right so instead of  tall willowy mannequins, these gals look a bit squat.

Cedar & Shattuck corner signs, ink & watercolor

Cedar & Shattuck corner signs, ink & watercolor

It got dark so quickly there was time for just one more sketch before we went indoors. There’s a new Philz Coffee a couple of doors down from the corner with a large upstairs room filled with comfortable sofas, arm chairs, and big dining tables with fancy dining room style chairs. They were having a special event, “The Insect News Network.”

Insect News Network Show, ink & watercolor

Insect News Network Show, ink & watercolor

The host with a microphone interviewed a bug scientist guest about the life cycle of various bugs that are found in urban gardens. They displayed slides and passed around live bug specimens in jars. Both were good speakers and made it all seem quite fascinating. It was great having entertainment while drawing. Their summing up statement was that “insects rule the planet; humans are only along for the ride.”

Love the One You’re With: You! (Happy Valentines Day)

Valentine Window at Sala, Berkeley, ink & watercolor

Valentine Window at Sala, Berkeley, ink & watercolor

I spotted this store window and loved the mannequin’s attitude amidst the cupids, hearts and flowers at “Sala,” a little shop in North Berkeley. I’d parked in front of the shop to go to my son’s Superbowl party. Then I left before halftime because I just couldn’t sit and watch more rude commercials about beer and junk food when I could be in the studio. Before I got in the car, I had to stop and sketch the window.

Love the One You’re With

As the old song goes, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” Back in the hippie days the song encouraged us to hookup with whoever was handy. Of course we know how well that era turned out. But there is one person we’re always with who it’s good to love, and that’s ourselves.

I used to dread Valentines Day; afraid I’d be alone, or afraid the “one I was with” would somehow disappoint on that portentous day. Then one year I was alone and I had the best Valentine date ever.

I took myself out for a Valentine’s date. I went to a book store that had a pretty café inside and spent the evening gathering great art books from the shelves and devouring them over a latte and sweet treat at the café, picking one book to buy as a gift for me. I also came across a funny kids book, “Play with your Food,” which I read to a bored little boy who was waiting for his mom to finish shopping. We both had a good laugh and the mom was grateful for some time to herself.

Full page in sketchbook

Full page in sketchbook

Since then I’ve had many other fun dates with myself, when friends or lovers weren’t around. One New Year’s Eve when I’d made no plans because I was supposed to be taking my sons to Yosemite, but it hadn’t stopped raining for two weeks and we’d decided to stay home (which was a good thing because Yosemite flooded and people were stuck there for two weeks without fresh food or working bathrooms) I went to a café that stayed open late and sketched people coming and going all evening. One of those people was a tall, dark, handsome artist who was out doing the same thing. He asked to join me at my table and we had a fun evening of sketching together and then a few months of interesting dating

I imagine this all might sound weird to those who enjoy fancy dinners out and expensive gifts of shiny bling but I guess that’s the point of loving yourself. You get to pick! If you want bling, get yourself some bling. If you’d rather have books or draw in them, make it happen!

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