bay views

Sketching in Alviso

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Alviso (home to Alviso Marina County Park) is just minutes from the Silicon Valley tech hubs of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale and Mountain View. And yet -- it feels like a bit of a time capsule, a part of the bay that was forgotten once the shipping business gave way to the railroad, and the once prominent cannery was no more. But there are salt flats, and old buildings, and views for days.

180519_Alviso Marina Park 1

180519_Alviso Marina Park 2

180519_Alviso Marina Park 3

It's a great place for birdwatching, kayaking, and bicycling too -- you can ride along the margins of the wetlands and wave to the Amtrak trains as they speed by.


A Walk in the Park

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

We are so lucky to have open space (Santa Teresa County Park) right out our back gate! Before dinner today, we carefully picked our way through the overgrown wild mustard and thistles to get to the trail for a short walk. As we left the park, the setting sun threw attractive shadows on some disused sheds, so I stopped to do a quick sketch.

180516_Santa Teresa Park

I started with a fineliner and then used a waterbrush with a W&N Cotman Sketchers' Pocket Box to add color. Added a few highlights with a white gel pen.


The Street Where I Live

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The most recent incarnation of rideshare service in my area is Uber Express Pool, where you are picked up within a small radius of your location to speed the trip. As our street is bounded by a hill and a golf course, there are only a few blocks in either direction that it could ask me to walk (and I invariably get there well before the app expects me to). A few mornings ago, I took advantage of the 5-minute wait time to sketch the view.

180510_Santa Teresa st morning

Do you draw in life's interstitials? When do you make time to sketch?

pacific northwest

Weekend Away: Portland

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Last Friday we hopped up to PDX for a quick visit. It was only our second time there -- our last trip was nine years ago!

180430_Pacific Northwest

It was super fun to see our Oregon friends, including sketchers Rita Sabler and Andrea Matthews. And of course we enjoyed ALL the delicious food.

Rita invited us to sit in on a workshop she was teaching on Saturday, featuring a talk by local historian John Doyle. It was fascinating to learn the stories of the bridges on the Willamette River.

180428_Portland Oregon 2

180428_Portland Oregon 1

We spent the afternoon with other friends sampling coffee and tea at Coava and wandering the Mississippi/Williams neighborhood before dinner at Pok Pok Noi and soft serve at Pine Street Market's Salt & Straw WizBangBar.

Sunday I went to the Lan Su Chinese Garden with Sarah Gilbert, who runs Cordilleran Tours. Just before we left, we drew our fortunes from a cylinder of numbered sticks. I joked that my trip had a theme of 9s: we were staying at The Nines hotel, it had been nine years since I'd been to Portland, and my fortune was #29.

180428_Portland Oregon 3

We also loved viewing artist Jill Torberson's works, which were on display in the buildings as well as right in the grounds of the garden. Her mixed media wall pieces were particularly striking.

We chased our garden tour with brunch at Cheryl's on 12th, where Andrea met us. We sat outdoors in a drizzle, so we got the true PDX experience. And then M. and I went off to the Portland Art Museum, where we saw an amazing exhibit about LAIKA (the animation studio behind Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings, and more). It's there till May 20, so go if you can. The detail and creativity that goes into these sets and figures is astounding.

I have to say, I liked Portland more this time around. Perhaps we've both grown up a bit in those nine years.

at the beach

Exploring the O.C.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Took advantage of a work trip to Anaheim to play tourist in L.A. and vicinity. Following a whirlwind of sightseeing in DTLA upon arrival (including the Jasper Johns show at The Broad), I took a day off at the end of the week to relax in Costa Mesa, shop at South Coast Plaza and see Alvin Ailey at the Segerstrom Center. Since no trip to SoCal is complete without getting sand between your toes, I went to Newport Beach on Friday morning to bask in the sun.

180420_Newport Beach

180420_Newport Beach 2

180420_Newport Beach 3

Before my flight home, I stopped at The Lab Anti-Mall for lunch and sketched Creme Tangerine -- a music store housed in an Airstream trailer -- while I waited for my table at Seabirds Kitchen.

180420_The Lab Costa Mesa

road trip

A Day in Yosemite

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Last weekend we decided on a whim to take a drive out to Yosemite National Park. Why? Because it was after spring break, before Memorial Day, and during the first weekend of Coachella. Our gamble paid off: While everyone else was competing for a glimpse of Beyonce in the desert, we had the park entrance practically to ourselves.

We brought bikes and a picnic lunch. Went to Mirror Lake and hiked the Mist Trail as far as the Vernal Falls Footbridge.

As Michael was stowing the bikes in the car, I sketched Yosemite Falls and Half Dome.

180414_Yosemite Falls

180414_Yosemite Half Dome

San Jose

Stop & Smell the Roses

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Had a leisurely paintout a few weeks ago with a few local friends. It was my turn to organize, so I chose the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden and nearby Rosicrucian Park as the venue.

Most of the roses weren't quite in bloom yet, but the garden was a lovely setting for painting and a picnic on the lawn.

180408_SJ Muni Rose Garden Fountain

180408_SJ Rose Garden 2

My energy was flagging in the afternoon, so I only managed a quick ink sketch of the trees and succulents in the labyrinth at Rosicrucian Park.

180408_Rosicrucian labyrinth 2


Around Here

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The view from my studio, a few weekends ago. Used only a Pentel Aquash water brush and a Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketchers Box, with the colors it came with. And a Bee Paper Aquabee Super Deluxe ringbound sketchbook. Not my fave, but I made it work!

View from my studio

Here's another sketch, from a week later: Went up to the Fortini Trail on the other side of our park to shoot some video and dashed this off. The poppies were gorgeous!

180407_Fortini Trail

golden hour

Yard With a View

Monday, March 26, 2018

The view from my backyard swing this windy evening. Yes, that's Lick Observatory way out there atop Mount Hamilton.

180326_View from Heaton Moor

Direct to watercolor, in Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook using a Da Vinci Casaneo brush and a Rosemary & Co dagger brush.

While I was painting, M. snapped this picture of me as I spied a hummingbird hovering in the air.

Suma sketching on swing

mountain high

A Sketch Over Breakfast

Monday, March 26, 2018

Our new office location's cafeteria in Boulder, Colorado, has a lovely view of the Flatirons. I drew this with a Sharpie pen and a few Scholastic kids' markers in a Stillman & Birn Nova toned sketchbook.

180322_Flatirons from Altitude Cafe

I'm still getting used to this paper. Will have to try it with gouache or opaque watercolor soon.