Freestone, CA

I received an invitation from Sebastopol artist Susan Cornelis to sketch, along with several other artists, in Freestone (near Sebastopol, CA). Freestone is a tiny country town, with enough sheep, cows, and goats to outnumber the residents. I had never sketched in Freestone before but knew it had creative possibilities. I met Susan at a figure drawing workshop a number of years ago and discovered she is a terrific sketchbook artist. She also teaches art classes at her studio and today, I’ll get to meet some of her students.

I took advantage of the sunny weather and headed out early. While sipping freshly brewed coffee along the 45 minute trip from Healdsburg, I took the longer, but prettier route along East Side Road, a wooded, windy road, among vineyard-covered hills. The apple I had for breakfast was not quite enough to satisfy but I was holding out for the Wild Flour Bread, a well loved bakery in Freestone. This bakery has all kinds of tasty treats from cheese fougasse, and Egyptian pear bread, to ginger pear scones, all baked in a wood fired brick oven. Their breads are all risen with organic sour dough (fermented flour and water) and wildly popular here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The place was packed with people but after a short wait, I was able to buy a sweet smelling sticky bun, all coiled up like a snake.

Back outside in the crisp morning air, I located Susan with a group of other artists all ready to sketch. We spread out around town on fences, car hoods, and folding chairs, catching the attention of people as they passed by. I choose a place in the grass across from the bakery, set up my chair, and pulled out my art supplies. I drew the bakery and the shop next door, called Enduring Comforts, that sells vintage furniture, linens, and jewelry. Feeling hungry, I reached into my bag and pulled out my sticky bun still warm and smelling of cinnamon.