Union Hotel, Occidental

Union Hotel_s

The Ready, Set, Sketch! group met today in the beautiful town of Occidental. This tiny town, located directly west of Sebastopol, has a number of good places to shop and eat. One of those places is the Union Hotel and Restaurant.

Back in 1925, Giovanna Gobetti Giovanna sold the Union Saloon to Carlo Panizzera for $2,500.00. Carlo turned it into the Union Hotel, which is still owned and run by his descendants today.

Lately I’ve been practicing sketching without ink lines. Sometimes I feel I’m successful and sometimes I don’t. Ultimately this sketch is overworked, but I picked up some new ideas which makes it all worth while.


Ghirardelli Sketches and Watercolor

Ghiradelli watercolor final_s

Recently, I was asked by Ghirardelli Chocolate to do an illustration of their downtown San Francisco building. I started by sketching on location to get the right view. Once a view was selected, I worked from photographs to complete a final drawing and then watercolored it. The final ink drawing will be printed onto craft bags for point of purchase. The final watercolor will be printed on the packaging of a 5 lbs chocolate bar!

Ghiradelli 4

Ghiradelli 2

Ghiradelli 1

Ghiradelli 3


Dry Creek Valley Sketch Tour

Owl house_s

Last weekend, the Ready, Set Sketch! group toured the Dry Creek Valley by bike. It’s one of the most beautiful rides in Sonoma County. Resting on a hilltop along Chiquita road, I sketched an owl box standing high above the vineyard covered landscape.


Lambert bridge_s

Lambert Bridge crossing Dry Creek, located just outside of Healdsburg in the Dry Creek Valley.

Quivera view of Mnt. St. Helena_s

Quivira Vineyards, a beautiful winery located on the far end of the Dry Creek Valley has both, arresting views and great wine. This sketch shows a nearby barn, neck deep in vineyards.


Oak Hill Farm

Oak Hill farm tree roots_s

Traveling highway 12 just outside of Glen Ellen, it’s nearly impossible to miss the towering tree roots designating the entrance to 40-acre Oak Hill Farm. The roots are what’s left of an overturned eucalyptus that met its fate during a winter storm in 1974. Part of 700 wild acres owned by the Sonoma Land Trust, the farm, in operation for over 50 years, produces more than 200 varieties of heirloom vegetables, fruit, flowers, perennial greenery, and herbs.

Oak Hill farm_ s

The Red Barn Store, set in a rustic 100-year old barn, offers for purchase sustainably harvested produce, flowers, and handcrafted wreaths and bouquets. Once a small farm stand, the Red Barn Store has grown to support the local Sonoma community for over 30 years.

Oak Hill farm shopper_s

CornerStone Sonoma


If you’re ever in the vicinity of Sonoma, make sure to check out CornerStone along Highway 121. Or better yet, plan ahead and make a day of it. Explore the 20 different innovative garden installations, each with a different theme designed by acclaimed landscape architects and garden designers. Inspired by the International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire in France, the gardens include plants, trees, water features, and sculptural elements.

After a stroll though the gardens, enjoy lunch at the café with organic locally-sourced fair, wine tasting rooms, art galleries, and garden gift shops. Oh, and don’t miss climbing into the seat of the Big Blue Chair at the entrance. It’s impossible to miss with its large size and blue color, but just incase you do, there’s a tiny sign pointing right next to it.