Friday Roundup

A mish-mash of stuff for the weekend: some figure drawing, a vintage structure with a fascinating story, and a link to a discount off my craftsy class and etsy store, a holiday gift to yourself, perhaps?

I think my very earliest one-minute sketches set the tone for how I saw and responded to the model at figure drawing this week. Volume, strength and rounded lines set the tone for this week’s sketches.




If you’re wondering why there are fewer posts on this blog, it’s because I’m also posting on Vintage Signs of San Jose.Even if you don’t live near San Jose and know these signs, they make fascinating stories. You can follow that blog by hitting the red button at the bottom of the page when you go there. My most recent post is about this oddly lovable giant orange which has a pretty fascinating story connected to it.

If it intrigues you, click here to see the full post of sketches and find out more about this structure.

Happy December!
Gifting time? Here’s my little sales pitch (and discount codes for the season)

My craftsy class finally has discount codes available again! Use the code for a discount on the class.

titlecardAnd if you’re thinking of gifting some art this holiday season, then you can use the code SKETCH1THANKS  at checkout at my etsy store  for 15% off the price of anything in the store. (but order soon, so I can print and ship to you in time for the holidays.)

Happy last month of 2016. Now go make some art!


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SFMoMa and a night in the city

I (finally) made it to the SFMoMa, so long after it opened. What a gorgeous space… I love Calder and can watch those delicately balance mobiles for hours. The shadows they cast are especially fascinating. And what’s a museum sketch without the ubiquitous  guard in the background?sf_moma1There were too many favorites to stop and sketch, so I just sketched at places we stopped when the kids were fatigued. Luckily, everything in the museum makes for a good sketch. On the left, below is a  Tony Cragg made from industrial stuff. And on the right a really fun and energetic Frank Stella inspired by a racecar track.

I grew up living in tall apartments in Bombay and still miss living up high above a city. So staying up in the city and watching the street below on a wet night felt like home.sf_uphigh_night

Here’s the view of the rooftops out of our window the next morning. I love not only the energy of a city, but also it’s texture: nothing is very clean and pristine, everything is weathered and tells a story.sf_uphigh_day

The kids discovered at breakfast the next day that you can overdose on Nutella. Each of the Nutella and strawberry crepes at Honey Honey could have fed a whole family.sf_crepes

The weather in San Francisco is so unpredictable. One day it poured all over my sketch in the very short time I stood outside.

And the next day was spectacularly sunny at Grace Cathedral.I was tempted to leave it in just line but then I felt I just had to capture that blue sky.




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Odds and Ends and the Winchester Mystery House

If you’ve been a tourist anywhere in the South Bay you’ve probably been to Winchester Mystery House. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for atleast 15 years and only went a couple of weeks ago. It’s a strange, crazy mansion made up of more than 160 rooms, built without a master plan (and it shows!). You can’t sketch inside because you’re on a tour with a lot of people and move quickly through many, many rooms ( I did manage page 2 that you see here, but only just about). But I would go back to the grounds to sketch views like this one of the assortment of roof and turrets: and you can visit the grounds and gardens for free anytime.




In ‘other sketches from that week’ are a few little ones.

My daughter and her bubble tea.

And an attempt at gouache. I need to get a hang of this medium soon so I can use it to sketch some lit neon signs in the night!

And in “happenings this week’. If you live near San Jose and can make it to the SoFa Market on Wednesday evening, bring your sketchbook and come! SoFa Sketch meets once a month: it’s easy, it’s casual: a bunch of artists bring their sketchbooks and current projects and come work on them and chat and draw together.

Here’s my little poster I did for this month’s meeting. It has my cats Samson and Moshi in it.  The inspiration for it? I wanted to stay in the vein of these pieces created over the years by artist Frances Marin who started and still organizes SoFaSketch. Oh, and I forgot to note it in my little poster… see you there between 7 and 9pm!



Posted in california, Close to home, Everyday Sketches, san jose, Silicon Valley | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Launching (and asking for your help)

I’m excited to announce the launch of a new blog dedicated to urban sketches of vintage signage in San Jose, California. If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that sketching these signs has been an obsession for the last few years.


Thanks to a grant from The Knight Foundation and History San José I am now researching those signs I have sketched, and sketching more on my list that I haven’t got around to  yet. Eventually, all those sketches will turn into a book and an exhibit.


Here’s where I’d love your help:

If you know a history buff, interested in the history of Santa Clara Valley. Or someone who lived in the area and might know more about these signs or have a story to share, could you point them to the site? (Details at the end of this post)

I’d love to hear from them: Part of the challenge of the project is that I want to find out more about the stories behind these signs. And some signs are better documented than others. Many of the stories probably live only with the families that ran or patronized these businesses. And how much richer this project would be if I could collect those stories!

Here is how you can follow this project:

Go to and click “Follow Me” at the bottom of the page, in red, to follow the blog and get notifications straight to your email every time I blog a new set of sketches. You can also use the contact page to send me a message.

Follow Vintage Signs San Jose on facebook

Or look up #vintagesignssanjose on Instagram


Want to know more? It’s all on the site,

More about the project here.

And a list of signs I am sketching here.



Posted in Close to home, san jose, Silicon Valley, Vintage Signs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Selective Color

Many days, the furtherest I can get from home is my local Starbucks.And I think “Yet another Starbucks sketch?” But everyday is different. And different things catch my eye on different days. Selective color helps keep these two impressions very different from each other, even though they are sketched only a couple of days apart.

A busy weekday morning at Starbucks. I guess it was my first time in since the store turned ‘all red’ for the holidays. Black ink line and two red colored pencils were all I used.

And a rainy dark Sunday evening where it seemed to me that everyone just stared at their screens, their faces reflecting the blue light. Black ink line. Cool tones in watercolor for all the screens, and a warmish backdrop to accentuate the eerie blues.

Posted in Close to home, Drink, Everyday Sketches, Food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pages from last weekend

When the days blur into each other and I can’t remember what I did last weekend, all I have to do its flip through my sketchbook.

Here are 6 consecutive pages from last weekend.

A page of cat drawings and a quick sketch at my local cafe.

Followed by sketches at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose.

And a recital that my son was a part of.egypt3




That’s how I keep track of what I did.

Posted in Close to home, Everyday Sketches, san jose, Silicon Valley | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A beautiful day with Gaye

Just what I needed at the end of last week: a wonderful, forget-everything-nasty ( if only for the day) kind of day at Gaye‘s place up in the Santa Cruz mountains with Nina. ( If you don’t know either of their work, you really should check it out by clicking on their names)

We chatted a lot, ate and sketched a little bit in Gaye’s daughter’s persimmon orchards. And we came home goodie-laden: 2 types of persimmon and a bag of dried persimmon each. So you’ll be seeing a lot of persimmon sketches over the next few weeks. This is just the start…


I plan to play with sketching these persimmon in pastels, in gouache and of course again in traditional watercolor. So you know what I’ll be posting about again next week…

Thank you Gaye, I might just be back sooner than you know: what a wonderfully magical place, breathtaking setting and best of all, fabulous company.

Posted in Close to home, Everyday Sketches, Silicon Valley, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments