Saturday, June 23, 2018

10x10 Urban Sketching Workshops

The International Urban Sketchers organization and San Francisco Bay Area Urban Sketchers
are bringing back the popular series of on-location sketching workshops, starting April 2018.

Each workshop will be 3 hours long and will take place on either Saturday or Sunday.
Check the schedule for exact times and days.

Workshops are designed for all levels of participants, but check class details to see if it’s a
good fit for you. Class size is limited to 15 participants.

Here is a link to all 10 workshop descriptions with links to sign-ups:…/1TpZC6xlsFGI9GzhblaC678DbSf…/view

Friday, April 6, 2018

Saturday, March 31, 2018


Enjoyed German food at a restaurant called Gaumenkitzel in Berkeley. I could hardly pronounce anything on the menu beyond two syllables so I did a lot of pointing. Made me want to hop on a plane and do some traveling! -- Vivian Aldridge

Thursday, March 29, 2018

An opportunity for Showing Your Work: Los Altos

Los Altos History Museum will be hosting a "Paint the Town - Echoes of our Past" exhibit this summer. Artists interested in participating are encouraged to visit:
and submit applications (I visited the museum today and they are still accepting applications).

Museum organized a list of buildings they want to see painted in the following groups:
  • Pre World War I sites (1890-1910) 
  • World War I era buildings/sites (1910-1930) 
  • World War II era (1930-1950) 
  • Population boom years (1950 – 1970) 
  •  Silicon Valley (1970 – 1990)

and they are accepting all sorts of sketches, paintings etc.
Here is a link to the map they created to see all locations:

(I am going to take a leaf form their book and make a map for my "100 Views of Silicon Valley" series - which I started a few weeks ago - without knowledge about this opportunity :) I am at about 40 mini gouache paintings at the moment - and below you can see the Google "quartet".

100 Views of Silicon Valley: Mountain View - Google


Visited Annie's Annuals today in Richmond. They specialize in rare and unusual annual & perennial plants, including cottage garden heirlooms & hard to find California native wildflowers.
While the plants (hundreds of them) are not quite ready to bloom they promise quite a show in the next few weeks! The weather was perfect and the sketching was good.  — Cathy McAuliffe

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018

The re-sized, re-sort-of-upped Spenger's

I was a little anxious to see what they had done to Spenger's Restaurant, the oldest restaurant in Berkeley, since it was halved to make way for yet another upscale shopping experience. I needn't have worried, they kept all of what made it feel like Spenger's, but just cleaner, and at least some change on the menu. The deep-sea-diving suit is still there, the great fishing boat models, the fish both fiberglass and real, and more. An addition of live music in the bar room was fun, and I had to add that guitarist to my drawing collage.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

San Francisco Bay Area Sketches From Here and There

From old Oakland,  Pt. Reyes, to the rooftops of San Francisco, there are so many beautiful urban and natural landscapes! 

Pt. Reyes

From a rooftop garden in San Francisco

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Chinese New Year Parade

The San Francisco is one of the few remaining night illuminated Parades in North America and the biggest parade celebrating the lunar new year outside of Asia. Started in the 1860's a the Parade and Festival have grown to be the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia. 

It has also become a tradition for us to sketch the pre-parade as it is forming up on Market Street. The staging area is full of bands, lion and dragon dancers, giant puppets and floats. Maybe next year we will stay until dark and try sketching the parade when it is illuminated!– Cathy McAuliffe

Friday, February 23, 2018

Robert Reich at Wheeler Hall, UC Berkeley

Attended Robert Reich's Wealth and Poverty class today at Wheeler Hall. Reich was absent -- he's at Harvard today on a book tour for his 18th publication: The Common Good. Pitch hitting for Reich was Hilary Hoynes, an economist specializing in the American social safety net for disadvantaged families. 723 students packed the auditorium today, not including the unregistered sitting on the floor at the back of the hall.

Robert Reich is a brilliant, accomplished and much-admired man: Author of 18 books, Secretary of Labor under Pres. Bill Clinton and named one of the most effective 20th Century cabinet secretaries by TIME Magazine. His Wealth and Poverty lectures and a discussion of government policy are also available on his popular Facebook page. ~~Susan Ford

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Victory Point Board Game Cafe

Loved sketching at Victory Point Board Game Café in Berkeley, joined by fellow sketcher Faraaz Farshori from Hyderbad, India.  I focused on a father and his daughter and son spending several hours playing "Twilight Imperium" - sketched the playing board and "The Nekro Virus" - Judith Heller.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Victory Point Cafe

Fun night at Berkeley's first board game cafe and we didn't even play games. But many, many people did! The cafe filled up with lots of people, all having a great time playing some of the hundreds of board games available. We were happy sketching the activity and we brought a visiting sketcher with us Faraaz Farshori from USK Hyderbad, India. — Cathy McAuliffe

Monday, February 12, 2018

"This is What Democracy Looks Like" Show at UC Berkeley

Sketch by Vivian Aldridge 2017 

The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California in Berkeley is hosting "This is What Democracy Looks Like" with the SF Bay Area Urban Sketchers. These drawings chronicle resistance and demonstrations from the local (Bay Area, New York, Oregon) to the global (England, Turkey). The sketches, like the events themselves, are part of a worldwide effort to highlight community engagement in social and political action.

The show runs from February 15 to March 30, 2018. The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology is located in 102 Kroeber Hall on Bancroft Way at College Avenue on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.

We want to express our appreciation to both Blick Art Materials and Flax Art & Design in Oakland for their support.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Cato's Ale House Sketching

I too enjoyed sketching the "man with the porkpie hat" and sat at a table with initials and designs carved directly into the table and the welcome sign was quite welcoming!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Lively Night at Cato's Ale House

We had a great time sketching at Cato's. They welcomed us with reserved tables and there was good food, drink and many great "models". As Vivian said in her post (below) the low lighting made adding color to sketches a bit of a challenge but in the light of day I was pleasantly surprised at how well I guessed the location of the colors on my palette! — Cathy McAuliffe 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Sitting in the Dark

Catos is a lively place even on a Thursday night. Low dim lights in all corners make it
somewhat mysterious. Our corner was so dark we could hardly see what
we were sketching. But that experience of not seeing kept our sketches loose. :-) 
Afterwards my sister and I showed our sketches to the man in the hat. He was absolutely 
delighted! -- Vivian Aldridge

The story behind it

As it turns out, we just have to make up the story sometimes — Who were the "Demanders"? Is Arrow 77 an ale? Was the glamourous woman in the photo a heartthrob of the day? Who was Cato anyway?? We may never know the answers to those questions, but here's my sketch of some of the memorabilia at Cato's Ale House anyway.

Friday, January 26, 2018

San Francisco Old and New

Sketching the skyline from roof deck of One Kearny in San Francisco. This 11 story building was build in1902 and survivied the 1906 earthquake and fire. At the time it must have seemed very, very tall. In the background is the just finished Salesforce Tower. It is the tallest building in the city, 61 floors tall. And it does seem very, very tall! Besides the skyline we had great views down Market Street and down Third Street. — Cathy McAuliffe

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What is Behind the Window?

If you visit One Kearny in San Francisco you can ride the elevator to the 11th floor M-F until 5 PM  and enjoy a rooftop terrace that is open to the public. I just love this roof but I wonder what is behind the shade in the window. I heard a rumor there was a gym but I would prefer to think there is an attic full of relics from the past, and maybe a strange person or two.;-) -- Vivian Aldridge

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Women's March 2018

Why go to only one Women's March? Oakland and San Francisco both wonderful events. Big crowds of marchers at both! – Cathy McAuliffe

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dress up!

This was such a fun idea—thank you Vivian!

I added a little color to the ink drawings.