Windsor Hot Air Balloon Classic

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WindsorBalloon 1My alarm was set for 3:45 am for the Hot Air Balloon Classic, but I awoke on my own, one hour earlier. Dawn Patrol begins promptly at 5:00 am and I wanted to be sure to make it on time.

After entering the gates of Keiser Park, I passed through the concession tents, the aromas of coffee and grilling pancakes warming the cool morning air.

When I walked onto the field, several trucks pulled into position and parked. Balloons were unloaded from trailers and with a flurry of activity, unrolled across the grass. Compressors then filled the balloons until they rose up like sleeping giants. With four balloons now standing side by side, Dawn Patrol began. Hissing flames lit the brightly colored fabrics in a spectacular array of colors and soon after the balloons ascended into the morning sunrise.

Downtown Geyserville


Geyserville is an unincorporated community just north of Healdsburg, CA. Its main drag, Geyserville Ave, is lined with shops, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms, making it an ideal place for sketch artists and wine tasters alike. After meeting for coffee at Geyserville Mud, followed by a couple of hours sketching, our group dropped into Diavola Restaurant. Here we enjoyed Neapolitan style pizza, a variety of seasonal salads, and cold drinks to round out a great day of sketching on a hot spring afternoon.

Westerbeke Ranch

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Westerbeke Ranch is a hidden gem located a few miles west of the city of Sonoma. Used primarily for retreats and conferences, the property delights guests with its lush gardens and meandering paths amid native oaks. Of particular interest are the metal sculptures scattered across the property that were collected by owners Richard and Muriel Van Hoosear while traveling in Mexico and Spain.

I chose to sketch one of the many guest cottages nestled amongst towering oaks. Many thanks to the Westerbeke Ranch’s staff for inviting our Ready, Set, Sketch! group for the day.

Easter Eggs

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Found this piece while digging through some of my old work. This was painted from life during my first semester at the Academy of Art University​ back in 1991. It was for Melissa Marshal’s beginning Illustration class. How time flies. Happy Easter everyone!

Zazu Kitchen


The Zazu Kitchen, located in the Barlow section of Sebastopol, is an authentic farm to table restaurant. They grow much of their own produce and put together the menu after hunting through the gardens to see what’s ripe. A great place for lunch or dinner.

Pauline’s Vineyard

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Vince Tofanelli and I walked his mother’s vineyard this morning while he told me wistful stories of growing up. Afterward, I sat for a couple of hours sketching the property located in Calistoga (north end of the Napa Valley). The mustard was in full bloom and with the help of the warm sun, the air smelled sweet.