Gravenstein Apple Festival

Gravenstein Apple Fair

Things got a bit away from me while I was away on recent trips. The Gravenstein apples were ready to harvest and couldn’t wait any longer to be picked! Here they are under my studio tree where I finally got around to collecting and painting some while swooning over that late afternoon fresh apple smell.


We get all proud of our Gravenstein apples here in Sebastopol around this time of year and celebrate with a festival, real country style, where the star is not wine but the humble apple! The Ready Set Sketchers had a meet up on Saturday to sketch the scene. I joined in and ended up spending the whole day there.


A few paces from the entrance was Charlie Kennard, bee keeper, basket weaver and teacher of California Indian and European techniques.  After listening and sketching for a bit I was ready to get started weaving my own. . . but the fair beckoned. . .


I’ve sketched Kevin Russell’s band a number of times and always enjoy their music. Their Western Swing Caravan did my favorites with all their star musicians and the “Cheerful Little Earful” Cory Wood’s velvet country vocals delighting! Never get tired of hearing them, even though technically I guess I’m not a country music fan per se, or maybe I am?


The Slow Food booth where the crew was making fresh pressed apple juice and handing it out to the crowd for free was a big hit, especially with the children who were invited to climb up and feed the apples into the pressing monster! My sketch might be a bit confusing, mixing two steps in one as it does! so please use your imagination. I’ve been playing with this technique of gluing construction paper down randomly and then doing the sketch over it with pen and pencil. (More on this in a future post.)


I caught the tail end of a cooking demo by Mateo, chef and owner of Mateo’s restaurant in Healdsburg. A delectable Petrale sole on a bed of cucumber and fragrant herb salad which the audience was each given a taste of!


The next band I enjoyed was the Royal Jelly Jive. There were so many dancers blocking the view of the stage that I moved to below the stage on the right for a very different perspective, good for band and dancers who were getting zasty (zesty plus nasty) according to the band. My pen had to do its own form of zasty to get the scene in motion!


What would a country fair be without animals, and a Sebastopol fair without llamas? Unthinkable! These were beauties, brushed and groomed. You’ll probably have no problem guessing which of these was standing still for more than 30 seconds.


Thanks for joining me at the Fair! Time to make apple sauce.

Summer in Sonoma County


Fountain pen and watercolor in 8″ X 8″ w/c sketchbook (double spread)

There’s no better scene for people watching than a summer concert in the part and the Healdsburg Plaza never disappoints. I wanted to tell the story on the spot. At first we were seated, eating our pizza, in the area away from the stage, so I started sketching the guy in the blue pants eating a Souvlaki and the lady with a baby. Then I moved up closer to get the lead singer, a dancer and the other musicians. There’s nothing to do, but just add them in and hope the story gets told. The color was added when I got home.


This lovely red haired mermaid was waiting for a face at the Gravenstein Apple Festival in Sebastopol this weekend. The artist is Michael Coy, a great guy and talented artist and I couldn’t resist joining the children behind the mural to pose.


The Apple Festival has something for everyone. I sat down at a demonstration of how to make Farm to Bottle Fermented Hot Sauce (even though I doubt I’ll ever get around to that) and imagined the symphony of flavors I could enjoy.


There was plenty of shade under the oak trees at the Apple Stage to enjoy some excellent cowboy music and humor with Sourdough Slim and Robert.


And after seeing the arts and crafts exhibits, buying a new sunhat and eating a Honey Lavender Bacon and Gravenstein Apple melted sandwich, I headed back for more music. As I finished a young girl came up to compliment me on the sketch and I got to return a compliment. She had the first prize ribbon for the apple pie contest!