Tag Archives: watercolor sketch


The Dovekeepers

This book, set two thousand years ago and based on nine hundred Jews holding out on Masada mountain against the Roman armies, was written by Alice Hoffman.   What a fascinating read!

I finally got a chance to watch the miniseries and, in trying to use up the last few pages in my sketchbook, sat and did a few sketches while watching it.



Women at the market in Masada

Women at the market in Masada

A Berber Market – Part 2

(If you missed part 1, you can read it here)
Next we walked over to the adjacent industrious and colorful Berber fruit and vegetable market.
Even though it wasn’t far from the meat market, the 5 minute walk was filled with sights and sounds that I have never seen at home.

Chaos at the market

Cars, donkeys, trucks, sheep and people going every which way

(There were actually too many things to absorb at once, so I ended up shooting photos and many of my sketches were done later.)

Helping out at the market

Helping out at the market

Sheep at the Berber market

Sheep – not sure if they were on their way to the meat market! Hope not!

There is a tent with a barber (a Berber barber, hehe) and always the donkeys and carts. I was fascinated by their tent construction (simple), the scales they used (no batteries needed!) and thoroughly enjoyed the dealings of buyers and sellers.

Vegetable vendor at Berber Market

Vegetable vendor

A pile of carrots

A pile of carrots – This was typical, to spread them on plastic on the ground.

We found a few spots on a shady hillside to sit and sketch, mine was nestled between two donkeys. At one I was at the ‘wrong’ end, the other, near his head. I became rather infatuated with my nearby friend, as he/she posed rather nicely for me. (Yes, he was tied up, but still, I like to think he would’ve stayed anyway.)

My "neigh"bor donkey

My “neigh”bor – still not sure about the whole donkey/mule thing

Stay tuned for the third and final part of this extraordinary day!


A Berber Market – Part 1

Day 4, Wednesday:
There were SO many new sites and experiences here, so I’m using more than one post for this day.
We left in the morning for a Berber market. These markets are held weekly at each location. First was the meat market, not fun for those who don’t like the sight of dead creatures. The smell of raw meat and blood was strong, and dogs were hanging out to see what pickings they could grab. We didn’t stay there long – a few didn’t seem very happy to have our group taking photos, and we were probably in their way of sales.
To see someone sharpening knives with a stone, and raw meat for sale, just hanging from a stick might seem crude, but this is the way it has always been done here.
I appreciate their natural approach to life.

Berber market buying meat

Our guide bought some fresh meat for his family

Berber market man sharpening

Sharpening knives at the Berber market

Berber market man walking

Walking around at the Berber meat market


Let’s go!

Way back in July, I had the honor of hosting Stephanie Yue, aka Quezzie.
She has an entertaining ride report on Adventure riders, as well as a blog: 250superhero.blogspot.com. She recently completed a more than 30,000 mile solo ride to travel the four corners of the continental US. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, she did it all on her 250cc Vespa! (Did you notice the “solo” part?)

Stephanie Yue

Hi Steph!

Her overnight visit began in Ithaca, NY, where my friend Jim and I scooted to the Scooter Shop to meet her.  We then stopped at some falls (of course, it’s Ithaca!) and then the Blind Tiger for a cold one (of course, no reason not to!) before ending at my house for dinner.
She is great company, and an amazing person, I’m so glad I have the chance to meet her!
She also inspired me to try more long-distance rides, but the only place I’ve gotten so far is a solo trip back to Ithaca. Oh well, I have put nearly 3,000 local miles on the scoot this year, and that is an accomplishment for me!
Here’s a few sketches (finally scanned, I’m still behind!) from that visit:

2006 Vespa

My prep (easy!)

Stephanie's prep - not easy!

Stephanie’s prep – not easy!

A colorful stop in Boiceville, NY

A colorful stop in Boiceville, NY

Positano 2014…and 2015 trip clues for you

Back in March 2014, I was in Positano, you may have seen my post before.
But, I just went through my sketchbook and found several sketches that weren’t scanned in.

On a different subject and a different trip:
A little clue about an upcoming trip I’ll be taking – it is titled “Blue boats beneath golden ramparts.”
And, surprise – one of my Italy sketches last year was of their blue boats! Coincidence?
Clue #2 – the trip won’t be in Europe! Hehe, more clues will follow!

Meanwhile, enjoy these from Positano…

Positano At the bar

View from the bar

Positano view from the beach

Positano view from the beach

Positano - charming street view

Positano – charming street view

Positano - mountain profile

Positano – mountain profile

Positano laundry

Positano laundry

Positano blue boats

Positano blue boats

Les timbres/ Stamps


This sketch, way more detailed than my previous skull (skull sketch, not my real skull!), is inspired by an upcoming visit and “Paris Letters” by Janice MacLeod.
A French friend and I have been pen pals for a long time. How long?  I dug out the box of saved letters and see that he received my first letter December 19, 1992! Twenty-three years!

Stamps Les timbres

And what a collection of stamps on those letters, from France, Mayotte and other places.  So many beautiful ones.
Here are a few, maybe I’ll get ambitious and do some more, but no promises, as I ended up being very detailed with these, and they are so small!
We have visited a few times over the years, but this will be only his second visit to the USA. I’m looking forward to taking him on tours and places that are familiar to me, but new to him.  #feelingexcited

PS – Yes, we know how to email, but don’t you just love getting a real letter?


Skull practice

I’ve had this plastic skull for a while, waiting for the right time to sketch it.

Skull I’m technically not “snow-bound”, but with a hill on my way home, I prefer to stay home and not risk having to walk the last leg of my return.
Staying home has led to much more art getting done, which makes me very happy!
I plan to do more sketches of it/him, but I was pleasantly distracted by my next post…

Ink and watercolor in a moleskine.

On writing…

A Writers book of days

Cover for “A Writer’s Book of Days” by Judy Reeves

I have never been a great writer.  Wait – make that, never been a writer at all!  But I have always wanted to have some nourishing text to accompany my art.  And, I love, love, love adding quotes.  By someone else, of course.
I am currently reading “A Writer’s Book of Days” by Judy Reeves and it occurred to me that her daily writing prompts could be used for sketch ideas, and maybe, just maybe, if I “write” more and more often, I will improve. Same as with art, right?
So now, some of my sketches may include writings inspired by the book.
Feel free to throw any suggestions for improvement my way, this writing thing doesn’t come naturally to me! (Suggestions like “Shut up! or “Stop, just sketch” might be ignored, though!)

Oh wait, can we NOT call it “writing”? Maybe “words with my sketches” will be less pressure on me.

Hey, thanks for listening/ reading!

2015 Calendars are in!

2015 calendar proof art by bernadette 8x10So happy I used a local printer this time!  I was able to design the vertical format myself, and the quality is lovely.  I ordered extra in case you want one for yourself! https://www.etsy.com/shop/artbybernadette
I’m also designing some unique undated 5×8 planners, not sure if anyone will want one except for me and my planner-holic sister. 🙂