A Day in Two Cities

Sharpee pen and watercolor in Pentalic Nature Sketch book, 7 X 5″

Bob and I went to San Francisco on Thursday to catch the last of the De Young Museum’s Picasso exhibition.  I brought along my purse sized palette and sketchbook.  Hanging out with Picasso for a couple hours had a variety of effects on me. Ah to have the kind of passion for painting that you would still be painting large canvases into your 90’s! He felt no need to find a consistent style and stick to it. (a man after my own heart!)  Of his many quotes which were on the wall this may have been my favorite:

God is really only another artist.  He has no real style.  He just goes on trying other things.

After lunch at the museum cafeteria (always a treat!) we crossed over the Bay to Berkeley where Bob had some business.  A sudden and rather violent cloudburst had suddenly cleared, but there was nowhere to sit and sketch.  So instead I practiced a standing sketch, challenging myself to a scene with perspective.  I think I need some more practice!

Then we picked up our son Andrew to take him out to dinner for his nineteenth birthday.  I guess I was still digesting Picasso’s figure paintings because the distortion came about naturally and I loved it!!  Got to try more of these.

The restaurant was Gather, across the street from the UCB campus.  We sort of pride ourselves on our culinary savy I think, but we could hardly understand this menu, even in English!  I mean have you ever heard of Lumiconi pasta?  Bob and Andy thought they were playing it safe, ordering pizza.  But have you ever had stinging nettle pizza?  How about caramel fennel seed ice cream?  God, it was all so delicious.

Next day I was talking with Ben (our 21 year old son who’s in school in Vancouver) on Skype, which is always a lot more like hanging out together.  He strums on his guitar and messages his friends and I sweep up or in this case sketch him while he tells me about the GRE’s coming up, etc. etc.  Everybody in my family is pretty used to mom sticking her head in her sketchbook.  Well honestly, I sketched this in pencil first and then went over it in pen. THe likeness is from the eyes up, sort of.  So now I want to do another Picasso style!



  1. What beautiful, beautiful work, Susan! Your recent bird, the one with bright red and all kinds of gorgeous and rich colors is magnificent! I want so much to come to one of your workshops! I’m heading off to London on the 17th and will be there for four weeks (!!!—what an adventurer I’m about to take flight into—I’ve never been in London for so long, or away from my role as wife! Both my husband and I are excited about this journey for me and I’m shivering with expectation—ahhhh, the museums alone are enough to make my feathers quiver!). But when I get back I hope to try and figure-out a way to get myself from Novato to Sebastopol and into the world of your mentorship, your artistic inspiration, and knowledge! Thanks for sharing your work! Warmly, Laurie


    1. Laurie, have a wonderful adventuresome time in London, visiting your daughter I assume, as well as seeing the sights. I’ll look forward to seeing your sketches and painting with you again when you’re back.


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