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Mendocino Coast

The Mendocino County Coast is a sketcher’s paradise with many interesting buildings, coastal views, and flora and fauna (who doesn’t love sketching coast redwoods?).

I have sketched many buildings in and around Mendocino and there are infinite subjects to sketch in this area.

In Ft. Bragg I walked out to Glass Beach. The rock formations appealed to me and I did a loose brush pen sketch from my folding sketcher’s chair (featured sketch). Sketching these rocks was recording a moment in time because the sea coast is always in a state of flux. Rocks crumble and reform, arcs collapse and the unrelenting tide shape and sculpt the coastline.

There seemed to be more common ravens in Ft. Bragg the I remember before. These very intelligent and adaptable birds have been expanding their range along the coast. As I was sketching I was watching these large corvids (the world’s largest songbirds) foraging among the rocks and seaweed like a black oystercatcher. I even slipped one in on my sketch.

I headed south to the scenic and historic town of Mendocino. Here a had a building in mind that I wanted to sketch. This building was built in 1901 by Portuguese settlers and as it turns out, it is the largest hall in the town of Mendocino. This is Crown Hall.

Crown Hall is on a side street (Ukiah Street) that parallels Main Street. The hall can be rented out for weddings and other events. The building features a kitchen, a bar, and a stage.

The stage is what really attracted me to doing a sketch of Crown Hall. This was a venue used by a legendary Northern California folksinger, Kate Wolf. She preformed at various locations in Mendocino and the last Kate Wolf recording released, Live in Mendocino, features live recordings from concerts in Mendocino County, including a concert at Crown Hall in 1982.

Kate Wolf was born in San Francisco in January 27, 1942. When Kate was 27, she visited Big Sur and heard locals playing music in their living rooms. So inspired, she moved to Sonoma County and stared writing and performing music in local bars.

Kate’s following grew in the 1980’s and she performed all around the Golden State and was even featured on the music show, “Austin City Limits” and on the radio show “A Prairie Home Companion”. In 1981, Kate released “Closer to You”, which is probably her best album featuring her own compositions. In 1983 she release the live album “Give Yourself to Love”, the title track becoming one of Kate’s most well known songs.

Sadly, Kate Wolf died at the age of 44 on December 10, 1986 after a long battle with leukemia. In her honor, the Kate Wolf Music Festival was held in June of 1996 in Sebastopol. Since 2001 it has been held at Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville, ca. The three or four day music festival traditionally ends with a cover of “Give Yourself to Love”

I included the first verse and chorus of this song to my sketch.