Archive for the ‘sketchbook’ Category
April is landscape architecture awareness month and landscape architects everywhere are raising awareness, Anita included. She’s leading a bicycle tour of several landscape architecture projects in San Francisco on Sunday. Last year she was sick and I ended up leading the tour. I was a bit leery, but it turned out to be pretty fun and I recommend it to anyone who wants to bicycle around San Francisco for a few hours. We went to several projects, with the highlight at Levi’s Plaza, Lawrence Halprin’s masterpiece. My favorite ‘built’ landscape in the Bay Area, it blows me away every time I see it, and it was interesting to see a group of people experience it for the first time. Everyone got all smiley. After the tour, I went back a few times to take photos and do some watercolors. I love that big fountain.
Anita put up a post about the bike tour on the ASLA-NCC blog. Looks like Halprin’s work was again the highlight, with Levi’s Plaza of course, but also the much maligned fountain at Justin Hermann Plaza. When I led the tour the previous year, everyone agreed that the fountain was pretty ugly to look at. But after we went into the fountain and experienced the water, we all had a completely different opinion, unanimously agreeing that the experience was fantastic.
Happy New Year everyone. I’m off for a few weeks of camping in the mountains down in southern Arizona. Last year I made a resolution to spend more time drawing, and I actually followed through pretty well, better than I probably expected. This year I’m not sure what my resolution would be, maybe to explore a bit more. Lately, I’ve spent a lot of my leisure time re-visiting favorite places (such as Lover’s Leap, above), so this year it might be good to focus a bit more on places I’ve never been and fill in a few gaps in my internal map of the world. In which case a trip to Arizona is a good start. When I get back I should have some drawings and photos to post.
I went up to Blake Garden last week. I thought the recent storm might have made it messy or brought down branches from some of the big old specimens, but the garden was the healthiest and tidiest I’ve ever seen it. There wasn’t much in bloom — a few irises, a few narcissus, Tagetes, a manzanita variety, cyclamen, coyote brush, a few other things — but all of the foliage was bright and cheerful. There have been some beautiful days since the big storm, short and sweet.
This is probably the last of my summer sketchbook, this time from a little further south and a couple weeks later, in the Bear Valley area. This year I’ve been to Tuolumne, Loon Lake, and now Bear Valley, pretty good for one summer. I’m hoping to make it up the mountains one more time before the snows, but we’ll see.
These first three watercolors are from Spicer Reservoir. It has more of a bathtub ring than Gerle and Loon lake, but it’s nice. I wasn’t aware of any hiking trails around the reservoir, so I walked along the shoreline, boulder hopping and swimming from the rocky peninsulas.
I had a minor plein air adventure at the reservoir. While I was sitting at a picnic table, working on this one of the dam, a couple came and settled themselves down in the sand about thirty feet away, a little behind me. I didn’t pay much attention to them, and I’m thinking they didn’t notice me either, because a little while later I realized they were sharing the kind of intimate moment which is not usually shared in front of other people. With my watercolor stuff spread all over the table and the watercolor wet and half-completed, I ended up just putting headphones in my ears and ignoring them. I’m still a little taken aback.
I also went to Calaveras Big Trees State Park along the same highway, a little bit lower in elevation. Great park, amazing trees. I think the sequoia groves there are better than the ones in Yosemite. I did a couple of watercolors at a swimming hole on the Stanislaus River running through the park. I set up in a more visible place, on a big rock in the river, and no one there showed me anything I didn’t want to see.
These are from a camping trip to Gerle Creek reservoir in the El Dorado National Forest above Placerville a few weeks ago. I think it’s funny how the first one blends with the background color of the blog. I seem to like this olive-y chartreuse color, as it shows up in my blog, drawings, plantings, clothing, and probably other places I’m not aware of.
While camping at Gerle Creek, I hiked at nearby Loon Lake. Both lakes are reservoirs, which I’m usually skeptical of, but they’re both quite pretty, with rocky islands to swim to and jump from. The largest island (below) looks like a great spot for a kayak or canoe camping trip.
I got back to watercolor for a couple of sketches at Stern Grove during the recent Ozomatli show. We were up on the slope behind some trees, so they might not be the most accurate I’ve ever done. I recently went to a talk by Edward Westbrook who owns Quarryhouse, the company that did the stonework. I added a few details from his talk to the end of the Stern Grove post I did a couple of years ago.
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