I'd like to thank Sylvia Crawford for acknowledging all of the work and dedication which went into restoring and rehabilitating the Sonoma Community Center. Here's her article in today's IT:
I feel fortunate to have attended the grand re-opening of the historic Andrews Hall theater at the Sonoma Community Center. MTP has been working with the Center for the last 5 years on many projects to upgrade the building and the campus in downtown Sonoma. There's a great article in the Sonoma Index Tribune describing the inaugural event:
I just completed this 3d massing study for a major remodel and addition to an existing 1-story California mission-style ranch house. The owner's want to open up the interior to capture more daylight and add a 2nd-story loft and roof deck over the garage to access southern views neglected in the original design. I'm also proposing a new trellis to accentuate the entry pathway.
This contemporary interpretation of traditional Californian architecture will fade behind a thickly wooded site of existing oak trees which also help shade the building from harsh morning and afternoon sunlight.
When friends come to town and request a tour of wine country I always suggest leaving the car behind and renting a bike for the day. Slowing down is a vital component to our lifestyle, and there are so many fantastic wineries within a short distance from the square. My favorite itinerary is to grab sandwiches at the Sonoma Cheese Factory and then head out past Sebastiani Vineyards to Ravenswood for a tasting, swing down to Bartholomew Park and picnic near their gazebo, then take the short ride over to Buena Vista to check out their newly restored and historic tasting room. If the group is still frisky after this tasting tri-fecta I'll wear them out with an uphill ride to Gundlach Bundschu via the back entrance off Thornsberry Road. From GunBun it's all downhill back to the square (literally and figuratively).
I don't make it in as often as I should, but it always makes me feel good to know that the Golden Gate is just 45 minutes down the road when things seem a bit slow in Sonoma. This view is from the fishing pier underneath the bridge that's accessible from the Marina Green in San Francisco.
You can't tell from the rim, but life abounds in the cool pockets of air and water at the base of the Grand Canyon. If you've got two weeks to spare I highly recommend rafting down the Colorado River. Hidden springs, waterfalls and luscious landscapes are waiting to be discovered around every corner. I owe a big THANK YOU to Grand Canyon Expeditions for taking me through the canyon in style.
It's a gorgeous Saturday afternoon here in wine country, so I'm going to flee from the computer and help the local economy by popping a cork on a robust Cab from Sonoma. Cheers!
If you want to experience the grandeur of Yosemite without the crowds head a little farther south and enter the Ansel Adams Wilderness in southern Yosemite. This hammock on the shore of Lady Lake quickly erased the strain of the 3-hour uphill trek. The serenity found in this undiscovered slice of the Sierra Nevada's wasn't even disturbed by an unusually bad mosquito season due to late spring snowstorms..... nothing like the sweet smell of DEET in the morning.
I don't know if it's ignorance or obstinance that drives us to build on the edge of cliffs for an ocean view, but it's a request that will never be turned down by an architect. We're all guilty of aspiring to the dramatic, and there's no better way to remind oneself that life is sweetest when lived on the edge.
I love to travel by train, and enjoy the challenge of sketching a landscape going by at 100 mph. It's a stream of consciousness form of drawing that reminds me of Jack Kerouac's writing style. This watercolor was drawn on the way from Tokyo to Hakone with a bottle of sake for inspiration.
All art may be ephemeral, but a sketch of a rose for my wife on Valentine's day will age more gracefully than a bouquet.
My favorite paradox: Playing the blues makes a body feel good.
I love touring beautifully designed cities and buildings, but no man-made creations can rival the scale of nature. To get this sketch of my favorite harbor it took a long slog through the humid Hawaiian air and a fair amount of bushwhacking. The memory of this view, however, almost makes me forget that my legs were so sore I didn't leave the beach for the rest of the trip.
A path or stairway with an unseen destination is much more tempting to follow, and elevates the sense of arrival. Frank Lloyd Wright was the master of surprising people with hidden entries, but whomever designed this path to a secluded hot-tub at the top of a hill in Tuscany was also a skilled guide.
It is hard to divert a sunbathers attention from the ocean, but this gracefully weathered church on the hilltop above the beach enticed me to turn my lounge chair around. If you ever find yourself in Barcelona I highly recommend taking the short train ride out to Sitges for an afternoon.