Everyday Sketches

#oneweek100people2019

There’s still two days left in the 100 people in One Week sketch challenge! The social media air waves have been filled with speedy people-sketches. Maybe it’s getting a little much? Nevertheless, since I’ve been busy in my own way, here’s some samples. Whether or not I get to 100, who cares? Certainly not me.foolsvol2_3

The lovely lady in the Fool’s Parade towering over us and waving her flag. (done from a photo of course!)

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If you live around Sebastopol you may recognize this guy – a fixture in the community, always dancing around with the manic look in his eye.

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And one last Hubbub Club musician in the signature colors (and hiking shoes).

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Bob (my husband) was learning a new book binding method and let me use this tiny one for my 100 people. The newspaper was a good source of faces that day. I did two of Attorney General Barr because the top one didn’t reveal the tilt of the head and other signs of stress. I almost got Netanyahu’s smirk, but need to learn to exaggerate more!

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Lurking in the Whole Foods dining area here. The paper is smooth so the paint sits on the surface – actually pretty fun to work with as the colors creep into each other.

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I’m using fountain pen with brown ink here, and discovering the fact that I can no longer see clearly across a room without my distance glasses and can’t focus on my sketchbook and brush without my prescription readers. Time for graduated lenses, but until then. . .messy sketches.

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The black thread is a bit distracting, but I love this little book because I can feel free in it!

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Another day at the restaurant at Cornerstone Gardens. More sketches (not people) from there later.

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Fool-ishness

It was actually raining on our way over to Occidental for the annual Fool’s Day parade. Great weather for fools to go parading around town in costume for no other reason than – well actually – tradition, for more than a decade. (And really, only a fool would try to walk in a parade and sketch people in constant movement.)

But oh, how fun to try. And I thought today would be a good time to share the sketches since it is also the first day of the #oneweek100people2019 sketch challenge (and I was teaching today and had no time to sketch people!)

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The Hubbub Club is the marching band that shows up at so many such events in Sonoma County. They are self-described as “twenty volunteer musicians and second-line dancers who make music together in a funky, fun fashion to promote, uplift, and support local communities. . .at local rallies, benefits, farmers markets, town parades, music venues, and just jamming in the street. . . a cross between a New Orleans marching band and a Fellini movie.” They were out in the parking lot here warming up for the parade.

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Hubbub attire favors black and white and red, with a little pink thrown in.

fools3‘And in this parade pink is particularly favored by the men.

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The top side of this pink instrument is a keyboard! and she’s blowing into it ?? Anyone know what you call this?

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As you can see, anything and everything goes. Hiking foots are often paired with evening attire.

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And even the canine characters make a fashion statement.

People are very friendly. These teenaged girls started talking to me and agreed to pose to a two minute sketch.

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See what I mean about the pink fluffy stuff? Guys finally get a chance to wear it!

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There’s always next year if you couldn’t make it this time!

On the Slopes (of San Francisco)

No, it hasn’t been snowing in S.F., but I was on the slopes there last week for a few days. My husband Bob had portfolio reviews over the weekend at Photo Alliance , which is held at San Francisco Art Institute up on a hill in North Beach. It’s hard to go anywhere in S.F. without encountering some steep elevation changes.

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We started out with some shopping in Union Square. From a sunny spot the world flowed by at big-city speed.

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Next morning we were at Fort Mason on the Bay front, checking out the SF MOMA gallery and just filling our lungs with that fresh sea air.

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After lunch we headed downtown to the Contemporary Jewish Museum to see the “Show Me as I Want to be Seen” exhibition, which I highly recommend. The description of the show is, “How do we depict “the self” if it is unknowable, inherently constructed, and ever changing? How does the concept of portraiture shift when categories are in crisis, and visibility itself is problematic?” (For those of you who know me, I guess it’s pretty obvious why I would want to see it.) It will be there til July 7 if you want to see it.

Sitting on the grass at Yerba Buena Gardens, enjoying the warmest sunshiny day in months, I got a bit greedy with trying to put everything in, until I got numb-butt and gave up!

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It’s such a treat to ride the bus all over S.F. It’s inexpensive for seniors:  with my Clipper card it’s only $1.35/ride, and there are no parking woes or dealing with crazy drivers and one-way streets, and more.  And if you stay  on the bus for longer than three or four stops, you move through a variety of cultural ecosystems. Friday morning on Bus 19 down Polk St. there was a sudden onslaught of wheel chairs and the necessity to quickly rearrange seating patterns to accommodate.

One gets a new appreciation of what it takes to get around the city in a wheelchair with items like. . . musical instruments, and then to board crowded buses. This keyboard, held together with masking tape and protected by a strip of cardboard, had found a spot behind its owner where it would be safe.

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Bob wanted to check out the SF Center for the Book on Portrero Hill, and next I showed him Mission Bay, and made him sit and rest while I sketched a house boat. Then down to Dogpatch to see the art shows at Minnesota Street Project.

There was lots more bus drama on the ride back, with invasions by teens, just out of school, who never looked up from their smart phones, even to talk to each other. Then more wheelchairs, and finally, the last stop at Fisherman’s Wharf where we were staying.

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If you’re still with me here, this is the part about the real slopes of SF. On Saturday the SF Urban Sketcher Meet up was at Macondray Lane, which is itself flat – a narrow and verdant alleyway off a particularly vertiginous street with knockout views of the city and bay.

For whatever reason I woke up that morning feeling particularly shaky and unsteady, but slowly made my way up the hill, still hopeful that I could capture the city in its undulating glory. When my inner undulating wouldn’t stop, I found a shady spot in the Lane with an obstructed view, and very slowly and with great patience constructed a calmer scene until my brain cleared.

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It sort of worked, because minutes later I was back to my usual rough and ready style,  much relieved and enjoying the company of my beloved SF sketchers. The afternoon ended with a mini “salon” to share our sketches at STUDIO Gallery and see the current show of “Tales of the City by the Bay”.

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And I got to meet the handsome sketcher named Jeff who had been a subject in the sketch!

On my last day in the city, once again I hit the slopes and I trudged up the steps of Telegraph Hill to see Coit Tower up close, the murals inside and the views. It’s actually a more impressive sight from the distance as a recognizable icon of the cityscape.

telegraphhill Five days in the city, along with all the steps I’d climbed, had exhausted me, so I found a relatively quiet street to do this study. I call it that because I’m more used to sketching people and animals and country scenes and such, and city architecture requires “study” before I can attempt it. (Actually I may have studiously ignored it here!) There were few people on the street, and they were moving quickly, but the lone figure in the doorway sufficed to give scale. She came by to see my sketch, and when I showed her that she was in the sketch, she clutched her chest and shrieked with delight!

Hot Breakfast and Lunch at The Living Room

For the past three months I’ve been making weekly visits to The Living Room, a day shelter for women and children in Santa Rosa. It’s become one of the highlights of my week.

The Living Room is the kind of program that breeds devoted volunteers who’ve been coming for years – like the weekly teams that cook delicious and healthy hot breakfasts and lunches for up to 80 people. hotlunch

Here’s a (standing) sketch I did while trying to stay out of the way of the cooks and servers. They were gracious to not complain!

My main role at the Living Room is to tell the visual stories as they unfold in the moment. The staff and participants have been generous and welcoming and allowed me to be a fly-on-the-wall, (even if sometimes under foot as well).

As I sketch I also get to hear the stories of homelessness and lives in transition. They are the stories of women of great spirit who are becoming my friends and teaching me about what is happening here in the county with our housing and other poorly addressed problems.

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There’s a room full of toys for the MAC (mothers and children). It was a busy place that morning and the only place I found to sit was in a teensy chair next to this charming fellow who was rolling out his clay. Believe me it was hard to draw when another part of me was dying to play with the kids.

There are volunteers who can entertain the children so that overburdened moms can take care of other pressing matters – like where to sleep tonight, or how to get to medical appointments.

But moms might also have a break from serious concerns for an hour to participate in one of the groups – art, singing, knitting or meditation!

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On Mondays Dave arrives with his guitar and song sheets and a professional lead singer.

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. . .in the dining area, where some women are stretched out asleep and others assemble for a chance to sing favorite songs and lighten spirits. That day the songs were those I knew by heart and could sing along while sketching! It certainly lifted my spirits.

I’m working my way around all the activities and am hoping to put the sketches together as a banner to be hung on the walls of TLR, as well as a calendar at the end of the year, perhaps to help with fundraising.

We all love to see our lives in picture form. Apologies though to the women who have allowed their image to be so roughly rendered here. Hopefully the spirit as I experienced it will shine through.

More sketches coming. . .

Our Cups Runneth Over

As I write this, Russian River communities are evacuating, The Sebastopol Community Center is at flood level (where they pull up the flooring and cancel Jazzercise and other events). Our sump pump in the basement is filling up and may go off at any moment, and the rains keep falling.

So I thought it a good time to share sketches from last week when I took on the challenging task of sketching the water in the Laguna below my house., which is all about the reflections.

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I doubt there are any kayakers out there today, but really, wouldn’t it be fun to paddle over a road? We’ve gone from drought and fire season to days of winter’s atmospheric river, a dramatic transformation. I need to get out there again when the rains pause, to practice more reflections, where the skies and trees dip dizzily into the waters.

woodenheadAnother scene that near my home, the version which was aborted by my too cold fingers. You fill in the rest.

SF Sketchers 7th Anniversary Party

Did you see the skies yesterday?! It was a spectacular jaw-dropping show yesterday morning as I drove into San Francisco through mist and fog and rain and sparkling sunshine and every kind of cloud drama.

I was there for an urban sketcher teacher meeting, sketch meet up and party at Arch Art Supply Store. A pretty significant downpour was perfectly timed for our sketch meet up. But these SF Urban Sketchers, many of whom have been meeting to sketch outdoors for years now, were well prepared and unphased by the cold and rain. I headed over with some of the group to Big Daddy’s Antique store, an open emporium  of fabulous furnishings grouped in living area scenes. No heat, but at least shelter from the rain!

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After an hour we headed back to Arch Art Supply for a celebration of 7 years of SF Urban Sketcher meet ups. In the capable hands of Laurie Wigham the group has grown to about 3200 members and hosts one or two meet ups in the city every week, as well as the 10X10 Urban Sketcher Workshop series which I will be a part of again this year. You can download the entire workshop flyer here. And if you want to join some SF Sketchers events you can sign in on Meetup.com

Arch Art Supply is our generous sponsor and was the host of the party. It is always fun to shop there for sketch supplies. I can hardly believe this, but I actually brought home a sketch palette set up that I had never seen before! (I mean I think I have a collection of every other one ever invented.) I’ll share it here at some point after I have tried it out.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa

When I first moved here to Sebastopol, California 19 years ago and saw the flat lands below my house fill up with water and birds after winter rains; saw the mustard bloom stretch out like a neon yellow carpet, I knew I would have to find a way onto the land and water to explore. This area, known as The Laguna de Santa Rosa, encompasses the ecologically rich watershed lands that span from Forestville and the Russian River south to Cotati.

Eventually I managed to get out on the water and paddle, and I joined the plein aire painters who sometimes had access to the private Laguna lands. Later I learned of the vernal pools and explored them on the magical Lynmar Winery lands on the Laguna. I became convinced that I’d moved to one of the more exotic places on Earth!

Fast forward to this week when the winter rainstorms abated, the sun came out, and I parked by the side of Sanford Road to do some mini Laguna captures.

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The traffic was roaring by so I wasn’t particularly comfortable and needed to find a place a bit more relaxed.

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This time I visited the Laguna Foundation which is open during weekdays and not only has views of the mustard bloom and Mayacama mountains behind but also the Heron Art gallery that features nature oriented art by a different artist every four months and Stone Farm with its weathered barns and farm equipment.

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And my sketch buddies joined me for a day of sketching and picnicking on site. I remembered sketching this barn 18 years ago when there were also cows, and not yet the offices of a Foundation with nature workshops, land stewardship programs, native plant gardeners, community education programs and so much more.

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Sitting here with my back to the “pond” and listening to a chorus of marsh birds.

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At this point my eyes were weary from the bright sunlight, so I sat in the shade of the maintenance man’s truck and enjoyed a closer subject matter. It’s so much easier to see what you’re doing when the sun isn’t shining either directly in your eyes or on your white paper!

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I’ll have to save a watery Laguna sketch for another day! This is the view from Lynmar Estates.

The mustard bounty will last a while longer. It’s a great excuse to get out with your sketchbook, listen to bird song, and experience that gratitude that we feel for living in the midst of such abundant natural beauty.

For more of my Laguna art see Herons on the Laguna, A Tale of Wings, Vernal Pools and A Harvest Gala