reportage sketch

Women’s March, Sebastopol

While hundreds of thousands of demonstrators were marching in major cities cross the country this weekend, our town of Sebastopol, aka Peacetown, filled the plaza yesterday with pink hats, protest signs, music and speeches, and a crowd of all ages in undisputed support for women’s and all human rights!


Derwent Graphik pen and w/c in Stillman + Birn 6X8″ sketchbook

Standing in a jostling crowd while listening to speeches and singing along to the music, the pen went a bit wild in the sketchbook. I had my water brush and miniature credit card sized palette to get some quick color down.


Turning a bit to the right I got another view. The mother of the girl in the tree (not pictured here) was watching me and finally came over and asked for a picture of the sketch of her daughter. The lady in the pink hat was filming the speaker on stage or maybe the colorful crowd.


Doorways to openess

Fountaingrove is where neighborhoods of gorgeous homes sit in the hills above the city of Santa Rosa. They are the homes to many of our doctors and other professionals. It used to be that if you drove around you’d notice the homes and landscaping. The properties cleared out now by the Tubbs fire of two months ago, your eye is now drawn first with dismay to rubble from the fire and then to the lovely brick and masonry entranceways that lead the eye unobstructed to open views of the valley below.


Or in this case to a house across the ravine that did not burn.


On this cul de sac the workmen were busy doing the work of clearing debris. No shovels and wheelbarrows here! I have captured only a couple of the machines at work. “The Claw” does most of the heavy lifting. And there’s a fellow who sprays a stream of water to keep any particles from going airborne. The woman in the bright vest was seated for a while watching the action. I figured she was there to direct traffic or something. But suddenly she jumps up and starts barking loudly enough for two back hoe operators to cease their machines’ noisy rumbling and listen to her instructions.

She came over to check out my drawing and introduced herself as a QC operator. That stands for quality control, if you hadn’t guessed. So the construction guys have to pay attention to her. She explained that there are different companies working contracted to work together to get the job done quickly and safely. These were homes built after 1980 so they didn’t have to worry about asbestos control and the job was going more quickly. It was getting dark when I left and they worked on. I liked the idea of a pretty lady boss, so I put her in the sketch twice!

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.


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!)

Wine Country Fire Evacuees

Our wine country fire evacuees are plentiful just now, 10% of the population of Sonoma County I heard this morning! I am not one of them. I am also not one of those heroic first responders. My lungs cannot tolerate smoke and I’ve been spending a great deal of time fretting and checking on friends and neighbors and just sharing stories and of course fears as the fires rage on.

I was happy to see that someone in our rural neighbor of a shared water company had found an old fire hose to attach to the simple fire hydrant which sits next to my driveway.


We’ve all been watering around our homes in hopes of preventing fires here if the wind changes directions and blows the embers our way. I could go years and not have so many conversations with my nice neighbors as I’ve had this week. I learned for instance that you can plant native plants that burn up and out quickly and then sprout again the next year! And then there’s the Scotch broom which makes for a more deadly fire.

Today I visited my friend Liz who has welcomed evacuees in her home (inside and out) so that I could meet and then sketch them. The air was more clear today thanks to winds from the north overnight so I climbed inside the pig pen with Madeline and Liam while Barbara enjoyed the sun and serene country setting.

pigs5You can also see Zoey in the picture to the left. She’s the only one who actually lives here ongoing. Barbara, in the chair, was evacuated from a senior living center which luckily did not burn (although her son’s home in Santa Rosa did) and the miniature pigs are the beloved pets of other people who needed a temporary place to house them. Normally they are actually indoor pig-pets, so these accommodations were a bit of a come down for them. But they were adapting admirably. They were not however the best models for sketching.


I spent my first few minutes trying to understand their various parts as they were in constant movement. These little pigs look more like miniature warthogs without the tusks.


They had the annoying habit of burying the parts of their body I was sketching in the straw where they were finding something delectable to eat. Nevertheless I was rapidly becoming enamored of them, particularly their gross lip smacking snorting sounds and gorgeous curly tail swishing. They really are the epitome of bad table manners when eating, which seems to be non stop and it’s hilarious! Madeline has these long white eyelashes and bright pink halter (for if you would want to take her for a walk), and Liam is small and dark and they’re both so friendly. Here’s a picture of Liam when he got interested in painting and gave my palette a good wet snort-sniff.


I wasn’t feeling particularly successful with the sketching, but thought I’d give it one more try. And after a while they actually stopped eating and got kind of mellow.


and I had more time to observe.


But once home I had try one more from a photo. My heart goes out to all the fire evacuees, but these little piggies totally stole my heart.

Drum Leaf Binding


fountain pen, watercolor 6 X 12″ (hot press paper)

Last weekend I tagged along with Bob to the San Francisco Center for the Book where he was attending a workshop in “Drum Leaf Binding” with John DeMerritt. Happily this means more home made sketchbooks for me! And I took the opportunity to practice my reportage sketching, trying to capture the “story” of book making in a state-of-the-(historic)art workshop. There were the tools, like the guillatine, that stayed still while I sketched. . .


. . .along with the people in deep concentration on their tasks, like letter setting tiny type. . .


There were a couple classes going on.


John, giving safety instructions for using the big blade.


Here he’s demonstrating something like how to line up the signatures. I was too transfixed trying to capture the action to pay attention to the instructions.  Luckily Bob followed it all and we came home with the most perfect little book, which he quickly duplicated to make sure he had the steps down.