Sonoma

Sonoma Mission Sept 2020 A few weeks ago we went to the town of Sonoma for the afternoon, to have an outdoors lunch with my wife’s mother. It was nice to get out of Davis and I took the opportunity to go and do a sketch of the Mission, above. If you don’t know about the Missions of California, here is a good site for you to find out about them: https://californiamissionsfoundation.org/the-california-missions. The one in Sonoma, called San Francisco Solano, is the most northerly one, the end of a trail that leads all the way down to San Diego. This little adobe building dates back to 1823 as the culmination of three hundred years of Spanish-Mexican settlement in California, going back to 1523. It was actually badly destroyed in the 1906 earthquake but was rebuilt and restored. I have drawn it twice before, but it turns out it was a really long time ago: 2007 and 2006!sonoma mission

the sonoma mission

The very first time I came to California, in 2002, we spent a couple of days in Sonoma housesitting at my (future) wife’s friend’s place. I really liked Sonoma best out of all the places I went to on that trip, and I remember the delicious wine and the great cheeses from that cheese shop. Now during the pandemic there are still people out and about but the cheese shop was closed, and seating at restaurants and cafes was all outside. We had an early dinner in one of our favourite spots, Hopmonk Tavern, and I sketched my son on his device while the ladies talked. This is one of only a few occasions we have eaten out since the whole pandemic started. This was a brief respite form the terrible smoky air in California, but that soon came back. That very night there were enormous fires that erupted near here in Napa Valley, destroying some historic wineries and lots of homes, raining large flakes of ash down on all the towns around. I hate this awful year, and I really hate fire season. It’s never been so bad, and it’s terrible on all the industries around this way.

Son in Sonoma on his device

do you wanna build a sonoma

sonoma CA
Last month on Mother’s Day we went to Sonoma and had a family lunch. While the kids were playing in the park and the ladies were talking I went to sketch the Sebastiani Theatre building, which I last drew 10 years ago. I like Sonoma. It reminds me of the first time I visited California, and my girlfriend (now wife) was housesitting her friends’ house there for a few days. I remember the amazing cheese from the cheese shop, and the delicious wine. Drinking nice wine with cheese made me feel like I’d made it. I’d previously lived in France of course, where both items are in abundance, but had only ever had the cheap plonk from Super U and could never get through the door of the cheese shop in Aix for the whacking smell. I’ve always liked Sonoma though, and always enjoy going back. Oh, and here is a fire hydrant.
sonoma hydrant

hidden in the backseat of my head, someplace i can’t remember where

fremont diner sonoma
In all the years we’ve been living here in CA and passing through the wine country region on the way to Santa Rosa, I’ve always wanted to sketch this old diner with this amazing old truck parked out front. I was never sure exactly where it was on that road we’ve driven down a hundred times, just one more place we pass. On Easter Sunday, on the drive back, my wife suggested that we stop, so I was finally able to add it to my Moleskine. This is the Fremont Diner, on the outskirts of Sonoma, a town I have always loved. It was raining, and the diner was closed, so we sat in the car, my wife read a magazine while I sketched. One day I’d like to eat here. Apparently they do ‘fried pies’. Sketched in dark brown uniball signo um-151 pen with watercolour, in a watercolour Moleskine.