Ready Set Sketchers

Petaluma Marina

Just about the time we’d had enough of this rain (that we’d been praying for) the sun returned today. . .in time for the monthly Ready, Set, Sketchers meet up at the Petaluma Marina.

There’s always some “elements” to challenge us. Today it was a cold wind and scintillating glare from the water, but oh how lovely to get out in it and with other sketchers.

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There was a lot to choose from at this spot. I was attracted to the shape of the the 101 freeway bridge as much as the boats on the water. And then there was the SMART train which whooshed past every so often, bypassing the poor drivers who were hung up on the “narrows”. How many times haven’t I been one of them!

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With a half hour time left, I opted for a simpler subject to study the strange and wonderful curved lines and shadow shapes of some smaller craft.

If you want to get out and join us on the second Saturday of each month in Sonoma County go to the FB link above. Hope to see you there.

Preston Farm and Winery

The Ready, Set, Sketchers had a meet up at Preston Farm and Winery on Saturday. It was a perfect day to drive out in to (wine) country in Sonoma County. Some of the sketchers situated themselves in the garden by the house and others outside the chicken coop. Some managed to fit in time for some wine tasting. (I was tempted but knew it would be hard to go back to sketching afterward!) And I found a rather peaceful spot by the country “store”. I can never resist the colorful pumpkins and gourds!

It also turned out to be precisely the place where people come for the photo ops. Bring your 2 year-old grandchild named Andrew. Plunk him down in front of the display, and put a bright orange pumpkin between his legs, and then make all kinds of ridiculous sounds to get his attention as you take the picture that will immediately go out on social media to the rest of the adoring clan.

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There were lots of Andrews and Annas getting their pictures taken, calling back my memories of taking our little Andy and Ben to the country to experience the delights of pumpkins and autumn bounty!

And there was the friendly gray cat who refused to pose for me, but occasionally tried to jump up in my lap.

The Ready, Set Sketchers meet up on the second Saturday of every month at a different location in Sonoma County. If that sound good to you, you will find the announcements on their/our Facebook page. Or contact me and I’ll get you on the email notification list!

 

Ahh, summer!

Ahhh, hot! So we scrapped the idea of getting our shed cleaned out today, which would have been suicide in this heat, and packed up the umbrella and beach chairs for a morning at Doran Beach in Bodega Bay. It was heavenly.

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I enjoyed watching the little boy play in the sand while the pelicans swooped and the harbor seals barked from their island off the coast. I couldn’t help remembering with bittersweet yearning those days when we would take our rambunctious little boys to the ocean and get to see it all fresh again through their eyes.

As I’m enjoying my musings one of them, 6’2″ of him, lay engrossed in his book by my side under the umbrella. Well, that part is fun too. Always nice to have that fresh 26 year old energy to liven up our home!

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Challenging myself here for a few minutes of painting those distant shapes that my eyes can’t quite get in focus. Then it was time to hit the Fishetarian Fish Market for dripping, finger licking fish tacos.

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Last weekend I met up with the monthly Ready, Set, Sketchers! gang in Geyserville, in the heart of Sonoma County wine country. About one block of historic buildings, housing gourmet restaurants like Catelli’s, wine tasting, and other assorted stores.

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. . .like Gin’gilli’s Vintage Home, with a little bit of everything you might want in your home. I found a chair in the shade outside and just kept adding on to my nutty picture.

 

Duncans Mills with the Ready, Set, Sketchers

Duncans Mills is a “tiny hamlet” along the Russian River one encounters on the way to the beach at Jenner. It’s colorful in an historic and commercial way and immensely sketchable. The Ready, Set, Sketchers were meeting up there on Saturday and I happily joined them.

Years ago I did several “watercolor paintings” of the area, but wanted to do some quicker sketches in my book that told some part of the story of the place this time.

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For some reason it’s always easier for me to sketch a building if I can put a figure in front of it. Luckily I could see this fellow in our group from my spot in the shade!

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Duncans Mills is really all about the shops and gardens in between. I was fascinated by the rusty filagree of this gazebo and the fact that you could see through it to the garden and seats behind.

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This was a quicky I got in just before we shared our sketches. Sitting under a tree across the street I thought I’d be less likely to make my usual mistake of overdoing the details. What happened was a reliving of the happy memories of the times we were invited to join the camping club on the river when the boys were young!

If you’re in the Sonoma County or northern San Francisco Bay area you may want to join us on one of these regular monthly sketch meet ups on the second Saturday of each month. Check it out on Facebook here. You would be most welcome!

 

Intro to Sketching in Public

I love my iPhone camera as much as the next person, and whip it out to capture that special gesture, or bark texture or subtle light play. But the picture I take doesn’t capture the smells, the sounds, the conversations, the temperature and texture of the air, the thoughts that arise as I sit or stand in that moment.

It’s a bit of a mystery why, but nevertheless true, that the effort to transfer those impressions onto the page, in line, shape and color, accomplishes these things. I have found repeatedly that my sensory memory can be captured on paper, even in a rather rushed and rudimentary drawing with a bit of hasty text added.

Reading this you may sense a bit of my messianic zeal about sketching. I must say that in today’s monster rain storm, I am happy to burrow inside. But I am anxious to share what I’ve learned about sketching in public with folks who’d like to either get started or re-started, to incorporate it into everyday light or to be ready for upcoming travel.

So to get started this spring I’m offering an Introduction to Sketching in Public Workshop. With it’s lovely plaza, Main St. shops, Barlow attractions of shops, wine, food and art, not to mention colorful residents, there’s no shortage of spots for quick sketches and food to sustain the effort. I’ll be adding some of my Sebastopol sketches on the blog in the coming weeks. This one was done in an art store standing by the check out counter.

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This workshop is a way to get comfortable with supplies and approach so that you can continue in other settings.The best way to feel less exposed about the “public” aspect is to do it in a supportive group. I still prefer sketching in public with my buddies. In Sonoma Co. we have a wonderful sketch meet up group, the Ready, Set, Sketchers who meet monthly.

I will also be teaching a weekend workshop on Quick Capture Sketching April 29, 30 at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, which will provide more skills, resources and the opportunity to practice sketching on location.

Registration is open for both workshops now. For more information and registration visit my website. Hope to be sketching with you in 2017!