Bodega Bay

More San Franciso and back to Sebastopol!

pen and watercolor in 5X8″ Canson Mixed Media sketchbook

Another busy day in San Francisco started out with meeting my urban sketch friends for a ride across the Bay on BART to the Ferry Building, where I have sketched several times before.  (see previous sketches here) It was a Saturday and it felt like a good portion of city was out to enjoy the culinary delights and bayside views. It reminded me a lot of Pike Place market in Seattle with its crush of humanity! Multiple live music, horns, screeching brakes, every type of public and private transportation converging in this one block area of one of the most fascinating cities in the world. And all under beautiful sunny skies. 

I planted myself in the traffic island, listening to the crooner nearby with his medley of S.F. love songs, enjoying conversation with my sketch friends whom I’ve missed, and then tried to settle down for some sketching. The Jesus Saves guy was just one of the many colorful characters in view!

And there she was again! The young violinist from the deYoung parking lot again (in the center with the yellow hat), and this time with her fellow musicians. I quickly set up my sketch stool and got ready to sketch, just as they played their last notes and packed up to leave. Aargh! This may be another one to do from a picture, though it’s always more engaging to absorb the live music experience in the sketch.

The Chinese New Year parade was next on the day’s schedule. I’ve attended other urban sketcher meet ups for this event over the years, and it’s one of my favorite with unbeatable color and human vitality. (see past year sketches here and here The groups of adults and children of all ages assemble colorfully on Market Street in preparation for the parade. 

By the time I got there my energy reserves had depleted, so this was done later from a picture I took!

Kay’s garden in Monte Rio on the Russian River

The next four days I was on my old familiar turf in Sebastopol and the Russian River, which is always a bit of heaven in the early spring. A long lunch in the garden of Kay’s home on the River, watching her flock of “designer” chickens that produce a rainbow of different colored eggs.

marveling all over again at the bountiful lemons and the pottery studio overflowing with treasures. There was too much to catch up on with kay and Liz and lots of eating, so no sketching happened that day!

The temperatures were plunging, but not so much that a walk on the beach wasn’t possible, with a little bundling up against the wind. Bodega Bay is often windy and a bit chilly. Not your southern California year round beach, though there was a surfer out that day enjoying the waves. But a long clean stretch of beach with abundant birdlife and radiant sun. Ahhh!

It sometimes feels redundant to sketch on the beach, like I’m copying the art that is already so abundant there in the form of seaweed and shells and undulating sands. So I just gathered up some dried seaweed in an expression of how I felt about this part of our planet and about my week of revisiting.

Next, one last thing to share from my week in California – a Muse Group reunion with inspired artmaking which I will post soon!

Bay and Garden Sketches

There seems to be no end to our sunny days this fall. I keep getting out to hike and sketch, thinking the seasonal rains will start any day now. But not only the rain is late this year. The commercial crab season opening has been delayed by the whale activity. And that meant that not only was it a good time to head out to Bodega Bay for those delicious fish tacos at Fishetarian at Lucas Wharf, but also to try once again to sketch crab boats at the dock.

My eyes were blinded by the bright light shimmering off the water and bouncing off my white paper, so I called this a warm up, both to the body and the hand!  And then with bellies full of fish we headed across the bay to where the commercial crabbers are docked.

3″ X 4.5″

Confronted with a marina filled with fishing boats almost as far as the eye (mine anyway) could see, I jokingly said, “I think I’ll sketch the whole scene!” to which Cathy replied, “Shall we say 15 minutes?” So that’s what we did. 

I wish I’d let myself try it again, but I did want to practice on a particular boat.

I picked the Sea Farmer for its orange buoys and crab traps and mostly left out the other boats.

Later in the week I was sketching at Pat’s garden again, enjoying the warm weather. Started with a rusty wheelbarrow, not knowing where it would lead next. . .

. . .then added a sketcher to fill in the space and tell the story. The shrooms are garden art.

The Slime Eel

This week we went to Bodega Bay in search of more crabbers to sketch and got lucky! Docked at Lucas Wharf was an unusual commercial craft devoted exclusively to harvesting the slime eel, which gets sent immediately to South Korea where the market for them is robust.

LukasWharf

The crew was friendly and educated us a bit about this fishing specialty. As you might imagine slime eels are not the delectable eel you find in your favorite sushi. No local chef would feature them on their menu and they are palatable to South Korean tastes only when highly spiced or chased with a stiff shot of liquor.

They are also known as Hagfish.

“Hagfish are not often eaten, owing to their repugnant looks and sliminess. However the inshore hagfish, found in the Northwest Pacific,[28] is valued as food in Korea. The hagfish is kept alive and irritated by rattling its container with a stick, prompting it to produce slime in large quantities. This slime is used in a similar manner as egg whites in various forms of cookery in the region.” -Wikipedia

LukasWharf2

After that rather busy first sketch and a lunch of fried calamari, I decided to relax a bit and simplify. Get a load of the giant gull on the left! I guess I was feeling a bit intimidated, perched as I was on his dock.

On the way home we stopped in the little town of Bodega and caught the last bit of light of day.

Bodegachurch

And by the way, if you’re wondering why Koreans pay the big bucks for such an unappealing fish, it has to do with that whole virility booster business.

 

 

Sittin on the dock o the bay

Back at Bodega Bay for another effort to catch the crabbers in action. No such luck this time. Finally we just plunked down benches facing the marina boats to contemplate a highly complex scene. Pick something and leave out the rest is a strategy that sometimes works.

sheriffsboat

pen and watercolor in 5X8″ Stillman and Birn Alpha series sketchbook, full spread

The Sheriff’s boat certainly gave off the vibe of authority, all black and steely gray. I would want to have my fishing license handy when it drove up alongside. The little boat next to it looked like it might be a nice place to take a nap, or have a drink with friends. The riggings of nearby sailboats were singing in the wind which whipped up a bit in the afternoon, as family throngs celebrated their Thanksgiving togetherness by walking the boardwalk and pausing for endless family pictures.

dogwalker

A burly fisherman made a wide berth around me while sketching. His dog was equally burly and might have caused a start if I found his nose too close. This was a picture snapped as he walked away and sketched later from my iPhone.

 

 

Crab Season Opens

W headed out to the coast yesterday to see what we could find to sketch of the crab season which started recently. Bodega Bay was a lively spot for recreational and commercial fishermen on this sunny fall day.

crabseason

By the time we got there most of the boats had left but we found one where the crew was busy loading crab traps using a crane. We raced out a wobbly dock next to it and started sketching madly. We had about ten minutes to get what we could before they motored out into the bay. And all the while the dock was swaying randomly to the movement of the water as boats motored by. We stayed, enjoying the sunshine and adding color from memory and pictures we’d taken with our iPhones, and then headed over for fresh crabcakes at Spud Point Crab Company, home of the world famous clam chowder (voted best for 14 years now!)

Beating the Heat

In an effort to beat the heat on Father’s Day Bob and I left early for the beach and were rewarded with sparkling sunshine, no wind, and temps in the 70’s. I think we got one of the last five parking spaces at Doran Beach.

beattheheat

When we arrived at 9:30am many families were setting up camp on the beach with tents, coolers, chairs, sporting equipment  and more. Our north coast ocean water does not beckon most of us to want to swim.  We’re content to soak up sunshine without the blistering summer heat of inland.

beattheheat2

By the time we left around noon, all the parking at the beaches was taken and the coastal road was jammed for miles and miles with folks from inland trying to make it out to Bodega Bay to escape the record breaking temps!