Spoke Folk

This past Saturday, I loaded my bike into the car and drove down to Spoke Folk Bike Shop in Healdsburg for a tune-up. A young woman named Kimberly welcomed me in from her place behind the counter. We discussed details of the tune-up package, she estimated the cost, and we scheduled a pickup time for Tuesday afternoon.

Lately I’ve been padding extra time around appointments to allow more time for sketching. So with the afternoon clear, I set up a folding chair across the street to study the building’s domed, corrugated-steel roof. Pulling out my sketchpad, I draw its overall structure, and then dive in with paint. In reality, the building is beige and forest green, but I chose to liven up the colors with orange-yellow for the sunlit areas and purple for the shadows.

Back at the bike shop Tuesday afternoon, I paid and happily wheeled my bike out the door. Another customer just outside commented “nice vintage bike.” I thanked him, but thought “vintage?” It’s hard to believe, but it’s been twenty years since I bought my Cannondale mountain bike. At the time of purchase, I was planning a ride in the Tour de San Francisco, a challenging and hilly 24 mile race through Golden Gate Park that wound its way up the Pacific coast to Chrissy Field, just south of the Golden Gate Bridge. I participated in the race for two years in a row and it’s one of the most beautiful rides around.

Outside the bike shop, I admired how clean the Cannondale was now, especially when compared to the way it looked in my garage just a few days ago. Stepping my right foot onto the pedal and pushing myself up, I coasted down the street. It felt great to be back on my bike, just like old times. Making my way through the downtown area, I felt the bike humming along with me. What a smooth and invigorating ride!

Now, after having gotten reacquainted with my rusty bicycling muscles, I realize it’s time to get back into shape. I’m looking forward to riding through this picturesque Sonoma County wine country, discovering it up close, and sketching it along the way.


14 thoughts on “Spoke Folk

  1. Thanks very much Steven! Yes, there is no substitution on professional watercolors. Do yourself a favor and get some asap!

  2. My husband just had his “vintage” Diamondback tuned up at Spoke Folk too, but then about two weeks later it was stolen. Testament to how great it looked! So keep your eye out for it when you’re riding – red, shiny new looking. I’m determined to find it 🙂

  3. Oooh, that’s really too bad, Beth. Boy, that must really be disappointing. I sure will keep an eye out for a red Diamondback in hopes that it can be found!

  4. Thank you Vicky! With color, I think the most important thing is to use professional grade paint. Most of the pan colors provided in the artist’s travel sets (even the W&N variety) don’t contain the same amount of pigment as the tube colors. Since I travel with a limited palette, I am forced to make limited color choices. I think this can be an asset because I push the colors in directions I might not otherwise do.

  5. Very nice color work! It is cool that you are inventive with your color choices. After all the artist is not a camera.

  6. Thanks for the comment Mike! Cameras are great for somethings but for me, sketching rules! When I went to Greece, I took about 800 pictures but I hardly ever look at them. It’s the sketches that I took while there that are so meaningful. Even if I’m inventive with my color choices, the sketches seems so much more real and important than the photographs.

  7. Thanks Peter! Actually there is more to the story about needing water than I posted on my website here. But I’m saving that story for my forthcoming book: Impressions of Wine Country!

  8. Thank you Jean! Finding the time to create art while living life’s adventures is a great way to live!

  9. this is stunning, richard! i’m going to agree with the crowd and say that i love the washes. i learn so much looking at your work. and i do also love that you’re taking your sketching gear out and incorporating art into your daily chores. good for you!

  10. Thanks Martha! It takes planning to squeeze in time around errands for sketching but it’s so worth it!

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