Drawing Faces People Sketchbook Pages Subway drawings

Subway Sketching: People on BART

BART People - Profiles
BART People - Profiles

When I’m sketching on BART on my way to work in the morning I’m always so delighted by how different each person’s features are. Yes they all have the same features but so many different nose tips, foreheads, lips. Some days everyone I can see is in profile like above.

BART People 2
BART People 2

Other days I can only see lots of backs of heads and a foot or two.

BART People 3
BART People 3

And then it’s all about the hair style (or lack thereof…hair…or style).

Albany Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Outdoors/Landscape Painting Places Sketchbook Pages

Sketching in Blue

Sunset View Cemetery Tree, Ink & Watercolor
Sunset View Cemetery Tree, Ink & Watercolor

At Tuesday night sketchcrawl last week we started at the top of Fairmount Avenue in El Cerrito. I went from sketching an empty storefront to a tree in a cemetery parking lot to a church facade as the sun went down. It was poignant being at the Sunset View Cemetery again, after attending a funeral there just a couple weeks ago.

For Lease, ink & watercolor
For Lease, ink & watercolor

This is my sketchbuddy Cathy sketching from across the street on a hill in front of an empty storefront. On all of these I drew with a blue Copic Multi-liner and then added watercolor wash at home. I tried to mix a similar blue but got swayed by some purple.

The sun is setting so much earlier now;  we’re going to have to move indoors soon for our after-work sketchcrawls. We’re making a list of places to sketch: a bowling alley, a bingo parlor, a new rock-climbing gym, Pastime Hardware and the library are at the top of my list.

St. Jeromes Church, Ink & Watercolor
St. Jeromes Church, Ink & Watercolor

It got too dark to finish drawing this church so we headed over to Fat Apples Restaurant for tea and Cathy shared her notes and images from an amazing workshop she took in Maine from Susan Abbott. I love Susan’s work and after seeing Cathy’s paintings from the week and hearing about Susan’s wisdom and generosity as a teacher, I am even more determined to get to New England and take a workshop from her next year!

Animals Berkeley Gouache People Places Sketchbook Pages

Waiting: For a Fire, a Subway Stop, a Book Shopper…

Waiting guy, waiting dog, ink and gouache
Waiting for his stop; waiting for her owner; ink and gouache

He was waiting for his stop on the subway ride and she was waiting for her owner to come out of the book store on Solano. I used the gouache to hide the guy’s nose that I added by mistake. (It wasn’t visible at this angle but he turned his head and I said, “Oh, there’s his nose,” and sketched it in, and immediately saw it was wrong.) The gouache also nicely hides the false start of the dog and the waiter (see last picture below) too.

North Berkeley Fire Station, copic sepia ink
North Berkeley Fire Station, copic sepia ink

The North Berkeley Fire Station is round. The fire truck barn is a large round concrete building with pillars and attached round buildings where the firemen (and women) live when they’re on duty. At the bottom left of the sketch is the very back of the waiting fire truck, with flag flying, just returned from one call and ready and waiting for the next.

Waiting waiter, ink and gouache
Waiting waiter, ink and gouache

This waiter was on a break from the Inidan restaurant in front of which I was sketching. Although he was only about 20 feet away, he was so engaged in his phone call that he didn’t seem to notice me sitting on my little sketching stool, frantically trying to catch his gesture before he walked away. There’s another quickie of the waiting dog on this page too.

These were all from last Tuesday night’s sketchcrawl. I sketched in pen on site and then added the gouache at home.

Drawing Faces Life in general People Sketchbook Pages

Girls Just Wanna Be…. (Dredging the Past for New Series)

Finding Tina (top from memory, bottom from yearbook)
Finding Tina (top from memory, bottom from yearbook)

I was sketching and looking at my high school yearbook in preparation for a series of paintings I’m starting. I was surprised by the low expectations so many of the girls in the yearbook had for themselves compared to today’s young women. I started counting how many “hoped to eventually” to become beauticians, secretaries and airline hostesses (flight attendants). Even my high school best friend Tina’s yearbook entry said she aimed to be a beautician (not to denigrate those important jobs, but there are so many more options for women now.) Maybe it was the elaborate, sculptural hairstyles back then that made so many of us want to be hairstylists?

When I read the tender, poetic inscription Tina wrote in my annual,  I decided to try to find her again.  We’d lost touch with when I moved away a year after high school and have unsuccessfully searched for her for years. Today I found her 86-year-0ld father, just by typing his last name and the city where we lived into the people finder on! He promised to give her my phone number and then filled me in on her life over the many decades since we last were together.

Jana's senior picture and yearbook entry
Jana's senior picture and yearbook entry

When I filled out the form for my blurb I was trying to be funny:  “Hopes to marry a millionaire…especially liked the people, weekends, and vacations.” But there was some truth in it too. I was so done with high school and wasn’t looking forward to having to grow up and get a job, either.

OK, so maybe I was procrastinating and avoiding the nice blank canvas waiting for me… but, (not counting the girls who said they just wanted to be happy, or didn’t mention their goals at all), here is my tally of career goals for San Diego’s Crawford High class of  ’66 (I put the odd outliers in red):

  • Teacher: 67  (90% said elementary teacher)
  • Graduate from college: 55 (and then get married: 30)
  • Secretary: 51
  • Airline hostess: 33
  • Beautician: 23
  • Nurse 21
  • Housewife: 20
  • Dental/medical assistant: 19
  • Commercial artist: 14
  • Social worker: 11
  • Psychologist or Psychoanalyst: 11
  • Travel the world: 11
  • Interior Decorator: 9
  • Dress designer: 8
  • Model: 6
  • Doctor: 6 (mostly pediatricians)
  • Scientist, mathematician, engineer: 3
  • Diplomat, linguist: 2
  • Bullfighter: 2
  • FBI/Secret Agent: 2
  • Probation officer: 2
  • Owner of Village of Pancake House: 1
  • Mortician: 1
  • Police woman: 1
  • Artist: 1 (and she is did it: Deborah Butterfield is famous for her sculptures of horses)
Ink and watercolor wash Life in general Painting People Sketchbook Pages Watercolor

Best House Cleaner in the Bay Area (Maybe the World)

Best House Cleaner
The World's Best House Cleaner

Have you ever had your house cleaned by someone so expert and passionate about cleaning that when you came home afterward it was like moving into a new house? I have! I know some people have their homes cleaned regularly, and it’s probably no big deal to them. But for me, it’s a special treat.

I was first given the wonderful gift of a complete house cleaning a few years ago for my birthday. Since then I’ve carried on the tradition myself, as a gift I give myself for the new year and for my birthday, conveniently 6 months apart.

What’s made this even more special is the person who does the cleaning for me now, my wonderful neighbor and friend Maria Reyes. She is professionally trained in the art of home cleaning, but also has a talent and passion for it, and takes great pride in her work.

I think she’s also part magician. She makes things look new that I thought were impossible to get clean (like the grout on my tile kitchen counters) and she gets everything done in 1/4 the time it would take me. And the cleaning seems to last for a long time, as if she casts a spell: “Good and clean! Now stay that way!”

I was so thrilled with my clean house this time,  that I filled a couple of pages in my sketchbook with little drawings of shiny things around my house — the pics above are a few of them.

If you’re in the Bay Area and are interested in having your home cleaned, I’d be happy to share her contact info with you. Just email me. She offers free estimates and does both regular scheduled cleaning and one-time jobs. Everyone whom I know that she’s cleaned for have raved about her work. She’s not the cheapest (or the most expensive), but she’s without any doubt, the best!