Summer Sketchbook and a weekend in “the city”

Sharpee pen and watercolor in 7 X 5″ sketchbook

Bob and I had a three day weekend in “the city”, packed with museums, visiting friends, good food, a meditation program and a movie!  Not much time in there for sketching.  At one point, while Bob was doing his photography, I took an opportunity for a much needed nap in the garage at MOMA in San Francisco. Next time I’ll nap somewhere cheaper.  We paid $24 as we left the garage!

First, on Friday, after a heavily noodled lunch in Chinatown (Oakland), we visited the Oakland Museum’s exhibit of California art. Michael McMillen’s mixed media installations were worth the visit alone, but there were two other interactional exhibits I enjoyed (along with the koi-watching Kingfisher at the pond there).

You can sit in a comfortable chair in front of an Albert Bierstadt painting of Yosemite – you know, one of those enormous glowingly atmospheric early CA landscapes – and listen to a guided contemplation on headphones titled:  “Looking Closer:  Experiencing one artwork”.  I must get a copy of this.  You are asked to enter the painting from different points, move around in it, allow your mind and feelings to carry you in various experiences of the painting. . .and more.  Just the kind of thing we do in the Muse groups with our own art pieces! You walk away with an almost photographic memory of the scene.

My other favorite was a wall of portrait art by famous California artists.  On the wall are two computer monitor screens and next to it, seats in front of mirrors and computer tablets.  You are invited to sketch your own self portrait with your finger.  When you are done, it appears on the wall monitor screens with the other great portraits!!  I had some difficulty using the tablet, but finally discovered that I could use nails and the flat of the fingers to draw.  I think I would have been there all afternoon getting the hang of it, but Bob was waiting. . .You can leave your email and they send it to you, so here’s my self portrait!

On Saturday morning we headed to San Francisco to see the Steins Collect exhibit at MOMA :  Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde.  (It’s there til Sept 6).  But we got there early, so we waited across the street at Yerba Buena center.

. . .and I found the perfect sketch subject – an old, old Chinese woman watching a group practicing some kind of dance.  She didn’t move a muscle!  The young man in the next sketch did, but only a little.

I hope you’ll see the exhibit if you haven’t already.  The main effect it had on Bob and I was to think that it’s almost as good being a collector as an artist, maybe better!

Next day when we were eating lunch at Il Fornaio in Corta Madera on the way home, we experienced another impact of the show in my Fauvist sketch of Bob!

Not half as colorful as Matisse’s “Woman With a Hat” but a decent try.



  1. Yes and I must say that the timing is perfect! I guess it’s a common fantasy to have lived “back then” and been in on a ground breaking time in art history. My favorite character in the movie was Dali!


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