Join us for another sketchcrawl in Davis California! I’ve not had as much time lately to organize these as often as I would have liked, but the sun is out and the birds are singing, and so there’s no excuse not to do some urban sketching. This time we will meet at the Farmer’s Market (meet at the corner of 3rd and C) at 10:30am, and sketch the market and the are around before meeting up again at 3:00pm by the Carousel in Central Park to check out each others sketchbooks.
WHEN: Saturday May 18, 2013
START: 10:30am Farmer’s Market (3rd and C)
FINISH: 3:00pm Central Park, by Carousel
This event is free and open to anyone who likes sketching. It’s fun to meet other sketchers, and urban sketching is a great way to look at the town where we live.
Facebook Event page
At the end of 2012 I sketched a series about the final days of the old boiler building on the UC Davis campus, as it was being torn down.It has been an empty space ever since, though there are currently odd piles of dirt dotted around like giant molehills that weren’t there before. What will take this place is the Music Recital Hall. You can see if you look really closely something resembling a tiny puddle. Well, not much of one. Last night, for the first time in absolutely ages (three months maybe?), we had rain in Davis. Loud, epic, sweep away your shed rain. Any rain in Davis gets a weather warning it seems (water from the sky is just such a weird concept), this one got a flood warning too. It never rains, quite literally, but it pours. And then it is gone. And people are probably already saying, it rains so much here in spring. A couple of weeks ago with the onset of 90s weather looming I overheard someone say that “we’ve had a week of spring and then it’s summer!” as if it hadn’t been in the 60s and 70s and full of sunshine since January. I also heard someone say that we have had a really long winter this year. That was in mid-January. Seriously, dudes.
The first year I was here, though, we had some proper extreme weather. Rain like I haven’t seen since, for months, with massive floods on New Years Day. I just assumed that it was a permanent lake between here and Sacramento, it was a real surprise to me when I first saw the land part of those wetlands by the Causeway. The rains and snowmelt finally gave way to summer, and what a summer that was. We had two weeks where it didn’t fall below a hundred degrees, even at night, and while I’ve experienced hot summers since, there has been nothing quite like that summer of 2006. Here is a sketch from back then which illustrates it. This Londoner just doesn’t do such heat. Well, summer is coming.
After a Saturday morning of making pancakes, watching football, playing superheroes, Cars Monopoly and Play-doh, I went downtown to watch Iron Man 3. I have spent a lot of time lately drawing different Iron Man armours for my son to colour in, so was looking forward to watching the movie itself. So was everyone else in Davis it seems; the show I wanted to go to was already full, so I got a ticket for the next one and went off to do some sketching. It was too hot to sit outside (90s; I know, in a couple of months that will sound chilly) so I popped into the University of Beer, a newer bar in Davis devoted to all types of beer, and drew the bar. I should have drawn the wall on he right as well, which is covered in colourful beer signs, but this is all I had time for. I went off for a curry for dinner, and then off to the movie, which was fun, and long.
De Vere’s Irish Pub, Davis. Click on the image to see it larger and in more detail. It was the end of the week (the weekend usually is), and an evening out at the comic shop followed by some beer and sketching was in order. This is a nice pub. I like drawing pub panoramas in my Moleskine, and this one took only two and a half beers (it’s always something-and-a-half; I like to spend that last half pint looking at the sketch, pencil case away). I have drawn curvilinearly in here before, but now it is time to pull back and see more of the room. I didn’t speak to anyone, just got on with the sketching. It wasn’t very busy on this particular Saturday evening, and it was warm outside. This is an exceptionally warm Spring. We have had some terrible winds, but warm winds, and the weather has been pushing the 90s (actually this week it’s been pushing the mid-90s, it’s like Britpop).
If you’re interested, this is how it looks in the sketchbook.
Sometimes you just draw where you can. These were all done during Spring Break (which for me was most definitely not a break, more of a severe bruise). I sketched on a map of campus, scrawling whatever notes were in my head on that particular day. This is kind of how the inside of the old head looks. The map itself is blotched with neon yellow, remnants of a campus tour I gave the week before. Time is flying by so quickly. Some days are less Gollum and more Gandalf.
Ooh what a busy old time April 2013 is. It doesn’t stop, and the old inbox keeps growing regardless. On Wednesday I just had to sketch something, anything. I cycled downtown and just carried on that row of 2nd St I have been sketching. It was a bit of a rushed job. Vehicles were left out. This is yet another real estate office (I wonder if there is such thing as unreal estate, or surreal estate, or atletico estate?). This is the week of course that Maggie died. I will probably draw her on a brown Chinese envelope (oh, is it too soon?). Brown pen in moleskine. Back to work.
It feels like I’ve not been sketching as much lately. This is true. Though my busy 2013 initially brought a burst of sketchbook activity hitherto unseen (or so it felt), I’ve had little energy to go out and sketch as much as before. Well, that and the dreaded allergies – it’s that time of year. This always happens to me at around late March, early April: not just the allergies, but a general slowing down of the manic sketching. I refer to it as my annual “what does it all mean” phase. It picks up again pretty quickly. The weather is getting hot already, but we’ve had a lot of wind as well. Sneezing city. Anyway, I did take a lunchtime last week to try out a lovely new sketchbook I was sent by the kind people at Stillman and Birn. It’s their latest product, from the new extra heavyweight ‘Zeta’ series. Much smoother paper, but super thick too, 180lb. I usually try out new sketchbooks at the comfort of my living room table, where all the elements are just so, and let’s face it that isn’t how I do most of my sketching. So I took it downtown, and used a worn-in micron pen. It took a bit of getting used to – while the paper is smoother, my penwork is used to the slightly less smooth paper of the watercolour moleskine, but I got the hang of it. I am relishing doing a big pen-heavy piece. I was also drawing in a larger format than usual, and I always forget that takes a bit longer. I added the colours at home. The paint, that was going to be the test, and yes it’s different from watercolour paper, but it really takes the paint very well. It’s thick paper, so it doesn’t buckle at all, but unlike some other smooth papers the paint doesn’t bead up. Overall, very exciting paper!
This is that block on Third Street I have sketched several times.
Unlike back home, Good Friday is not usually a day off for me here in the United States. Easter Monday continues not to be. But this year it was, because it also fell on Cesar Chavez Day, and for that equally good day, my stressfully busy week is shortened so I can sleep in a bit, pop to the shops to get frustrated at how little decent Easter chocolate there is, get my hair cut really short, and of course take the time to sit on the sidewalk for a couple of hours and draw something. This is Newman Chapel on 5th and C, Davis, which I have sketched before from different angles. I’m not a religious man as you know, but I like having Good Friday off. Any holiday that is on a Friday is good in my book.
Last Thursday, after a four-day-yet-particularly-busy-and-stressful week, I needed to go out and draw something complicated, and have a couple of beers too. I hadn’t really sketched at the G Street Wunderbar since it ceased to be simply the G Street Pub a while ago now, so this place deserved a nice barside panoramic. There it is above (click on the image to see it bigger). There are a LOT of bottles behind that bar. I had to sketch them very quickly. Here is a detail:
It wasn’t that busy when I got there, but more people filed in as the evening wore on. Several bands were on the bill that night, so I had a bit of music to accompany the sketching work. I didn’t draw the barstaff or drinkers though, as they all moved abut too quickly for a sketch like this.
And here is how it looks in the Moleskine, if you’re interested. The pen is dark brown, uni-ball signo um-151. The whole thing took about three hours (or four beers). Next time I’ll do it in colour…
Here are my previous sketches of the bar when it used to be the old G Street Pub, when it had Camden Town-esque toilets which are thankfully no longer there. I’m slowly checking off all the bars in Davis. If you want to see them all, along with others from around the world, see my Flickr set ‘Pubs, Cafes, etc‘.
I’ve drawn the old City Hall, but have never drawn the current one. Davis City Offices, from where Davis is governed by the City Council, are housed in an old brick high school building on Russell, a lovely building to draw you might think, if it weren’t for those trees in the way. I’ve never really found a good view which isn’t mainly foliage, but this one from across the street is as good as I could get. I’ve been in here once, to sketch an arts council meeting. There is a plaque inside apparently which lists the name of every “Davis Citizen of the Year” since 1945 (hint hint, you know).
Sketched in Watercolour Moleskine #12 with a brown uni-ball signo um-151, coloured in when I got home. There are a lot of buildings along this street I’ve meant to sketch for a while but haven’t gotten around to, time to start checking off that list.