Friday, March 24, 2017

More Bell Plastics

Bell has an active factory, but the real attraction is the paved area out in front, full of huge figures of Santa Claus, a climbing Spiderman, huge foam dinosaurs, and those pictured in my sketches below.

The Frankenstein and Uncle Sam busts seemed to be based on the same head mold--and the Big Boy sports a stud earring.

Giants at Bell Plastics

Bruce Kennedy of Bell Plastics in Hayward provides custom fabrication in plastic, wood, steel and aluminum. 

He also collects gigantic fiberglass advertising icons (think Doggie Diner dachshund heads and Bob’s Big Boy) that once attracted customers to restaurants and automotive shops in the mid last century. Visitors are welcome during business hours.  Thank you, Bruce Kennedy and office manager Amy Wells for your hospitality.

More info about the collection:

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Few Farmers At The Market

It has been a warm couple of weeks here in Berkeley but the sparse amount of produce and farmers at the market reminded us that it's really not spring yet. We did enjoy the unique radishes, both their shape and color! Looking forward to all the fresh produce this summer!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Fool's Day Parade in Occidental

April Fool's Day is coming soon. The past two years I've sketched the Fool's Day Parade in Occidental. "Join in the fun of this whimsical tradition! Parade begins downtown at 1 p.m. and wends its silly way through town, ending at Occidental Center for the Arts. Experience extreme frivolity, bands, music, crowning of the King and Queen of Fools, Lunapillar rides and more!" 
It's worth a trip up to Sonoma Co. to join in the fun. Hope you can join us. Here's sketches of mine from last year.

Meet at Occidental Center for the Arts around1pm. See you there!
-Susan Cornelis

Friday, March 17, 2017

North Berkeley Farmer's Market

there happen to be people there too! But more vegetable appear in this one.

#OneWeek100People2017 — tried for 50...

These are a few of the drawings of people I did last week. I left my other sketchbook at an unknown location (I'm sure it will turn up). Maybe got to 40 max. Recycling an old "Women's Notebook" from the 1960's.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#OneWeek100People2017, Too

I used an accordionated little sketchbook and water soluble pencils; an easy kit to carry and use.
Capturing people in action is the biggest challenge for me so I'm turning that daily challenge into a daily practice.

Thanks, Suhita for turning me on to  Drawn to Life by Walt Stanchfield, Disney animator/instructor. He wrote: "Quick sketching is the shortest route to training yourself for capturing those spontaneous gestures and poses that are so essential to good drawing. Break one of your habits today. The habit of not sketching."

Monday, March 13, 2017


I managed a little over 100 and a couple of dogs in 4 days. It was a fun challenge and got me more comfortable drawing people.The last time I drew this many people at one time was at a Delvaro Academy workshop at DisneyWorld where one of our assignments was to draw 100 people in 1 day. Though that was pretty easy as there were ALOT of people there to draw! Here are some of the 100:

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Analy Hall, Santa Rosa JC

The Ready, Set, Sketch group met at Santa Rosa Junior College today under crystal blue skies dripping with sunshine. The biblical flood that has plagued us for the past couple of months appears to be over, a welcome change.
I sketched Analy Hall where the art department is located. It was here that I took etching class nine times and would to take it again if I could. So other than sketching, printmaking is my second artistic love.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Gyuto Foundation

See the stories in previous postings about out outing here this week. - Cathy McAuliffe

Gyuto Foundation, Too

Kuan Yin--one who perceives the sounds of the world--is said to be the goddess of compassion and mercy. Perhaps the most widely beloved Buddhist Divinity, she is said to assist with miraculous powers, all those who pray to her.

At Gyuto Foundation, the white marble statue of Kuan Yin is approximately 3/4 human size and stands in a courtyard fountain with water flowing from the ewer in her hand.

So calming to sketch Kuan Yin as the fountain gurgles, Buddhist flag pennants snap crisply in the wind, a monk chants in the monastery and a hawk circles far above in the sky.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Gyuto Foundation, Richmond

Way up in the hills above Richmond sits the Gyuto Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, dedicated to preserving Tibet's cultural and spiritual heritage through teaching, hosting local University students, interfaith dialogues and cultural programs, including dharma classes and meditation sessions.  Outside:  colorfully painted arches and mural walls, a peaceful garden, elegant statues, and many prayer wheels.  Inside:  a meditation hall with a huge, lively altar structure.

The monks plan to install a total of 365 prayer wheels to surround the monastery, giving everyone an opportunity to circumambulate and turn the wheels for a walking meditation.  "If one turns the prayer wheel with positive thoughts for the benefit of others, it transforms one's mind and offers its blessings of compassion."

Statue of Quan Yin, donated in 2014

Our fellow sketcher, Chris, drawing the monastery facade from next to the largest prayer wheel.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Oakland Museum on a First Friday

It's a treat to visit the Oakland Museum on a First Friday, not only is it 1/2 off, but they host live music in an area accessible in- and out-side the museum, and with an entire block of food trucks, it makes for a lively event!
I visited the special show: Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture. The collaborations between fashion designers, sports and music figures and the industry, plus independent artist manipulations of shoes made it a very interesting collection. Many of these shoes came from the Bata Sneaker Museum (who knew such a thing existed?!), which has shoes dating back to the 1800's.

Friday Nights at Oakland Museum

Three Women Watching Band and Socializing

Monday, March 6, 2017

Oakland Museum, Too

Taxidermy animals

Viola Frey's Pink Lady, c. 1965
Oaklanders love the Oakland Museum on First Friday--there's reduced price admission, a DJ, live music, food trucks, a bar and lots of revelers!

I sketched little kids dancing and their parents living it up (alas, results are not blog-worthy), then retreated to the quiet galleries in search of motionless subjects.

Pencil is the only medium allowed in the galleries. Taxidermy animals were drawn in water-soluble pencil (I snuck out the water brush for dramatic effect).

Here's Viola Frey's ceramic Pink Lady, drawn under the watchful gaze of the security guard.  Relegated again to the use of pencil . . . could not depict Frey's rich colors so desperately needed here. I prefer not to alter urban sketches after leaving the location, so use your imagination and see a pink lady in a yellow sunsuit holding her blue pet monkey.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Friday Night at the Oakland Museum

I was surprised to see such a large turnout for this event because of the cold.  Dancing certainly helped the crowd warm up. A practiced leader showed the group how to dance the latest hip hop moves. Even the kids got involved! -- Vivian Aldridge

There was also live music. I moved to the very front of the crowd to sketch this.