Friday, February 24, 2017

Tule Wave, Too

Standing on the first floor, I could not visually describe what it's like to look up into this hanging kinetic ceiling sculpture. Very relaxing to sit and observe its slow undulations above you--like waves on water or a sheet blowing in the wind.

I climbed to the second floor and drew it from there. I think there are mechanical pulleys that raise and lower the fishing wires in progression, which in turn move the geometric tule reed pieces up and down.

Here's a little Maker profile about the low-tech mechanical creations of this very talented artist, Reuben Margolin:

S.F. Symphony Chamber Music at Davies

Self-consciously, I begin sketching on my program notes, and the scratch of my fude fountain pen seems dreadfully loud. Will I distract my fellow audience members?

Then all around me begins the crunching of candy wrappers, the soft (and not-so-soft) coughing and even an errant ringing cell phone. I relax and settle into the joy of sketching a live classical music performance in the low light of the symphony hall.

Artistic license. Too far away to accurately capture the musicians in these last two but fun to draw loose. Every picture tells a story (don't it?)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Swan's Market Diners

Long- Haired Man Eating Noodles
Asian Woman Eating Lunch
Young Man with Headband

Hen House at Swan's Market

See Cathy's description and history of Swan's Market below.

Enjoyed the view of the woman-run Hen House restaurant from my lunchtime stool.  Every third Thursday, the Hen House will donate their proceeds to organizations that serve our most vulnerable populations, such as NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, Border Angels, Council on American-Islamic Relations, etc.  All restaurants in Swan's closed on February 16 in support of the Day Without Immigrants Protest.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Swan's Market in Oakland

We had lunch and some good sketching at Swan's Market in downtown Oakland. Swan’s Marketplace was a site of some prestige. Starting in 1917 for 60 years, the multiple buildings on the Swan’s block were among the most important shopping destinations in Oakland. Washington Street was the premier retail street in downtown, running a full 14 blocks from the waterfront to City Hall at Fourteenth Street. Swan’s Marketplace was its centerpiece. What used to be the Housewives Market, a fresh food marketplace made up of individual stalls is now filled with restaurants. The remaining food stalls are Taylor's Sausages and Sincere Seafood Company. I remember shopping at the Housewives Market and the stall that sold beans, rice and other bulk ingredients from open 50 and 100 pound bags.
—Cathy McAuliffe

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Meet the Sketchers: Susan Cornelis

Life mostly happens too fast to take it all in, except when I'm recording it, however quickly and simply with my pen and watercolor. Year ago I learned to pack up my book and materials and take them with me so that I could sketch anywhere, even while walking in a parade, watching a performance or sitting in a kayak. Drawing connects me with the sensory moment. I never forget those moments when with pen and watercolor I am focused on capturing the visual image, sounds, tidbits of conversation, weather, and random thoughts. Perched on my tiny portable stool with brow knit intently and pen and brush moving crazily, I become an actor in the play of the moment.
My art studio and home is in Sebastopol, the North Bay where I also teach art workshops. For years I taught watercoloring sketching before getting into experimental mixed media painting. Once again I am doing both now and loving the international culture of Urban Sketching where I have connected not just with Bay Area folks but sketchers worldwide. I have learned the thrill of sketching in even chaotic circumstances with moving subjects, weather discomfort and materials malfunctions. These lend a kind of spontaneity that appeals to my poetic soul!

My favorite subjects are people
and animals

                                                                 and places
and nature

I've been art-blogging for ten years now. I hope you'll visit my blog to see more sketches and website to find out about my upcoming sketch workshops. 

It's a pleasure to be a member of the SF Urban Sketchers where I have many friends already! Hope to be sketching with you soon!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Rita Hosking at the Cloverdale Arts Alliance

Americana Night at the Cloverdale Arts Alliance where Rita Hosking performed, a country-folk singer who narrates working class subject matter in songs and stories that “span culture clash, dishes, forest fires, black holes, and hope.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

a really good right turn

Making a quick jaunt to Sebastopol on the way home from Mount Hood park near Santa Rosa, we made an unplanned right turn onto a local street to get off the busy thoroughfare. In two or three quiet blocks of modest, well-cared-for homes, a throng of sculptures peopled (or dogged, or birded) almost every yard, and the home of the sculptors had a multitude! While my husband went on down to the end to see every one, I stopped to sketch one of my favorites, a car salesman with toy cars for teeth, an odometer for one eye, and many chrome name details. I had to add a piece of paper at the bottom to include his "soapbox".

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sittin in the Dock of the Bay

Sat in the sun with a number of sketchers to draw this boat docked

at Mission Bay in San Francisco. Hard to believe this area was surrounded
by dirt fields not that long ago. -- Vivian Aldridge

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mission Creek is another San Francisco neighborhood that is rapidly changing. Development at the UCSF campus is currently juxtaposed with charming house boats mooring in the creek.
A sketch event in the area preceded the launch of our 10x10 Urban Sketching workshop series yesterday. If you are still hesitant about signing up, now is the time to act. The workshops are filling up fast! For a reminder on the program click HERE. Feel free to get in touch with Suhita at for more information on content and sign up procedures.

I am looking forward to seeing you soon!

-Oliver as visualflaneur

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tule Wave

Sketch of "Tule Wave" by Reuben Heyday Margolin at the David Bower Center in downtown Berkeley, see additional information below; so interesting to read that the artist used native Tule Reed also utilized by California Indians.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The David Brower Center, Berkeley

The David Brower Center is a "home for the environmental movement" with office suites, rental spaces, and a ground floor art gallery.  While we were visiting and sketching, a seminar was taking place  on the second floor to train legal teams in leadership skills.  The exhibit on the first floor focussed on the Canary Project,  whose research centered projects aim to increase public awareness and motivate action on environmental issues.  The drawing below is of several of their Green Parrot posters on display, encouraging all citizens to build a sustainable economy.

The Canary Project was created in 2006 by artist duo Sayler and Morris, whose research-intensive projects are framed to broaden public awareness and inspire action surrounding environmental issues - See more at:
The Canary Project was created in 2006 by artist duo Sayler and Morris, whose research-intensive projects are framed to broaden public awareness and inspire action surrounding environmental issues - See more at:

The Tule Wave

I am mesmerized by the Tule Wave by Reuben Margolin. This 7' x 7' 25' high kinetic sculpture is housed in the David Brower Center located at 2150 Alston Way near the Berkeley BART Station. The sculpture is composed of tule reeds, brass beads, string, and steel with an electric motor that gently creates a murmuration. I had a view from the 1st floor. Our group sketched within the Center, focusing on the Tule Wave and other art in the  Hazel Wolf Gallery which emphasizes environmental and social advocacy art.  (Please see other posts). The Center's name honors David Brower, a Berkeley native who was a leader in both the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

No Ban/No Wall

This past Saturday was a rally to protest the immigration ban and the plan to build a wall on the border. The event took place in San Francisco in front of City Hall. Also on the plaza were giant lanterns to celebrate Chinese New Year. The title of the lantern project is Peace All Year Round.

Melaine Reim has been sketching the events of the past weeks in New York had this to say: "The raw emotion of the reaction to this historical time is magnified when you take the time to draw it. I felt connected."

—Cathy McAuliffe

Oakland Museum

Admission to the Oakland museum was free this past Sunday but it was
noisy inside for me. However I had a grand time roaming the grounds
 with my sketch book. Enjoyed
 seeing large and brightly colored sculptures set
 against a cityscape. The museum also featured a giant sized chalkboard
that you could actually draw on --Vivian Aldridge

Sunday, February 5, 2017

collaborative drawing

unexpected visit - my grandson wanted to try out my Inktense watercolor pencils so i did a quick sketch of him. He gave himself blue hair! Actually, the funniest thing about doing this was that when I told him I was going to draw a picture of him, he dutifully faced the piece of paper! (he is younger than he looks in this drawing). His experience with pictures is with a phone, of course.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Grammy Award Winner Paul McCandless and Charged Particles

Last night Grammy Award winner and world renowned jazz superstar, Paul McCandless, played with Bay-Area Jazz Trio, Charged Particles, to heat up The Jazz Club in Cloverdale, presented by the Cloverdale Art Alliance. McCandless recently celebrated his 45th anniversary with the jazz super-group, Oregon.
Sketched with my new Caran D’Ache water soluble colored pencils in a Stillman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, was originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition to display fine art. One of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, it was rebuilt in 1965, along with a renovation of the lagoon. Today the Palace remains a popular tourist attraction and is a favorite location for wedding photographs. It's also a great place to sketch!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Urban Sketching Workshops Near You!

If you are interested in urban sketching workshops, read through this post carefully, for

1) Workshops around the world
2) Workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area
3) And a workshop I’m teaching- in San Francisco!

Workshops Around the World

This is an exciting year for Urban Sketching! Urban Sketchers is 10 years old this year and they’re celebrating with year-long workshops all over the world. Excited? Click  this link to see where all the workshops are. Each city lets you pick from 10 workshops being held throughout the year.

Workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Urban sketchers is excited to be holding it’s own series of 10 workshops all over the Bay Area: 10 teachers you’ve been wanting to take a workshop with, and workshops geared towards all levels of sketchers! To read more about those workshops, go to this link. If you’re interested in a Bay Area workshop, get in touch with Suhita at and tell her what classes you’re interested in. She’ll walk you through the registration process. 
We have quite a fantastic lineup of workshops, so register soon because they’re filling up fast. And whether you are signed up for a workshop, thinking of signing up, curious about urban sketching, or just want to meet and hangout with urban sketchers, everyone is invited to our launch party on Saturday February 11 at Arch Art & Drafting Supply in San Francisco. The event will kick off with a sketch meet-up at San Francisco’s Mission Bay at noon, followed by the launch party at Arch Art & Drafting Supply at 1:30. USk classes will be introduced and individual instructors will be available for a meet-and-greet session. Come join us even if we’ve never met before, we’re a friendly bunch!
To register for any of the Bay Area workshops, contact and put “San Francisco Bay Area 10×10” in the subject line of your email. Let her know what workshops you want to sign up for.  Suhita will let you know if there are still spots open and she will help you through the registration process.

Between Storms

I was able to spend a quiet day in San Francisco, watching the Bay, and sketching a few scenes. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Resist Trump Tuesday

To follow up on the Women's Marches on Saturday, around 300 (? estimate by organizers) people came to a rally at Senator Dianne Feinstein's office in downtown San Francisco to express dismay about Trump's cabinet choices.  This was one of many such rallies, organized by the political action groups MoveOn and Indivisible, taking place across the U.S.  Representatives also delivered letters written to the Senator urge her to fight back.