Flying Goat Coffee

Smart Train

Those of us in Sonoma County who have been longing for a rapid transit system to transport us efficiently and economically to San Francisco are now realizing that our cars and the buses are our only bet. The new Smart Train (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transport) is finally up and running and apparently has riders, even though it only goes as far as San Rafael. So it was time to check it out with a bit of on location sketching.


Derwent Graphik Line Maker pens and w/c in Stillman+Birn Sketchbook, 5.5X8.5″

The Railroad Square station, at the old 4th street Depot in Santa Rosa was rather quiet on a Saturday morning and a lovely spot for sketching in the sun.Trains departed every two hours. This first was a standing sketch behind the gate. To pull this one off I had to take an iPhone photo of the train arriving and add it to the sketch when finished since I don’t know enough about trains to catch it on the fly!


It’s a bit of a rush to sketch on the platform and people were cold so they kept moving around. I was nervous too, knowing that the train would arrive in moments, and when it did, it stayed only briefly. And then I made the mistake of adding paint to the left side first (I’m left handed so I dipped my sleeve in it , smearing the paint around before realizing my error. (Tip! Always start painting on the side opposite your dominant hand!)


After the 10:30am train left the station the two attentant/hosts sat down on opposite sides of the waiting area to give their attention to their cell phones and rest their feet.


It was time for coffee at Flying Goat then and an opportunity to capture the old depot and train crossing posts along with the new.


At home later I sketched this from a photo to practice design and perspective.

Some day I may try to get to San Francisco via the train. I can drive there in a little over an hour in my car (or get caught in traffic). Or I can drive to the station and look for parking, jump on the Smart Train, get off in San Rafael and take a bus to the ferry which will take me to San Francisco where I can board many different forms of public transportation to get me where I’m going, by which time I will need to turn around and come home. Hmmm.


Jimtown, Sonoma, Healdsburg sketching

Last weekend I joined up with the Ready Set Sketch group at Jimtown Store  in Healdsburg. I have sketched the iconic front of the store/cafe in the past with its historic building and red truck out front. So this time I joined some others in the shade behind the the store. What was intended as a quick sketch turned into a painting as I relaxed on my tiny Coleman stool, enjoying the lovely setting, good company, and welcoming presence of the owner, Carrie Brown. A delicious lunch in the cafe followed.jimtown

Lamy Joy fountain pen and w/c in 8 X 8″ w/c sketchbook


On a trip to Sonoma on Sunday I grabbed a half hour to do my last lesson for Liz Steele’s Sketch Now Buildings course. I was appalled at the messy result of my rushed sketch, but had to admit that the cast shadows at least offered a bit of realism and I believe the proportions were more or less right. The colors? not so much. I’d like to say it was fun to sketch, but I still find myself resisting straight lines and studied measurements. Nevertheless on Thursday I was trying it all out with another structure.


But first, a warm up in Flying Goat Coffee in Healdsburg with my sketch buddies. Worth a visit for not just the best cup of coffee but the paintings of Mary Linnea Vaugham!


Then out on the sidewalk for some more measuring and analyzing building structure.

And now the sky again is white as we wait for another storm to roll in. No sketching outdoors this weekend!