Tag Archives: stillman & birn

the once and future queen

dairy queen former location
One of the buildings in Davis I have sketched a few times is the Dairy Queen, on 5th St. The DQ was very popular here, with its iconic sign, a place to take grandkids for an ice cream, and I even sold a couple of my sketches of it. Finally of course, it closed down, and the site has been bought by a developer. However, the developer has not torn the whole thing down, as you might expect, but has kept the shell of the building, specifically its iconic curving roof. I can’t wait to see how this ends up. When I heard about this recently I took myself back up to this spot on 5th St, which I never pass as much any more now I live in north Davis, and sketched from across the road. Goodbye Dairy Queen. I’ll probably sketch this site again before they’re done redeveloping.

By the way, here’s how it used to look…

dairy queen davis

moving, keep on moving

our new house
One of the other reasons I’ve been so busy lately is because we just moved house. Still in Davis, not even far from our old place but moving al the same. I love every single aspect of moving. The boxing up of every single thing no matter how miscellaneous, carrying heavy boxes of books, moving furniture, going through all of your things and saying, do I need this, do I need that, and then saying yes I do, remember the last time we moved? All the cleaning, taking down the curtains, filling in the holes where the pictures hung, figuring out if the furniture you have will fit in the shape of new place, all of the stress thinking about it which makes you really ill for a week before the move, I love it, it’s my favourite thing ever, even better than airports. Not really. Two weeks after the move we’re still unpacking, fitting into the new space, getting used to the quirks, but it’s a nicer place and I like it. Before we left our old place I decided to sketch it. So now we live in our fourth place in Davis since 2005. A new chapter!
our old house

decks appeal

Wyatt DeckAnd so, finally back to posting some sketches, if I can even vaguely remember what that feels like. The World Cup is over! Gone for another four years, what will we do? It’s not like there is any other football to watch in that entire time. Haha. I enjoyed going over the kits so much I may even torture you all with more, from the clubs, as many as I can possibly do. Mwahahaha. And football-puns? You ain’t, as they say, seen nothing yet. Oh, alright I’ll lay off the puns for a while, it is pre-season after all. I need to train for a few weeks to get my football-punning back up to match fitness for the new Premier League season starting in August. Expect to see me jogging around the green belts of Davis trying to make punchlines out of Pocchetino and find an angle on Van Gaal (you see? Much training needed). But in this time of world-cup-football-ness, amid all the dodgy haircuts and the acrobatic goalkeeping and the constant non-stop biting (it was only the one bite, wasn’t it?), I did manage to do some sketching. This was a panorama I did over two lunchtimes at the Wyatt Deck in the UC Davis Arboretum. Technically it was three lunchtimes but on one of them I didn’t do any sketching as I forgot my pen (doh!). I had intended to add paint to it as well but I decided I preferred it like this. I listened to a History podcast while sketching and it was a man who was a South American football historian talking (among other things) about the great Uruguay team of the 20s and 30s, the River Plate team of the 50s, and what football meant/means in terms of national identity among the nations in South America, how historically it was able to strengthen their differences while also presenting them with an opportunity to announce themselves globally (at the Olympics and later the World Cup). Very interesting. It’s funny how what you listen to when you sketch gets so involved with how you see the sketch from thereon – none of you will see any reference to Paraguay’s style of play or the founding of great Brazilian clubs by British immigrant workers in this drawing of some wooden buildings at the Arboretum, but I see those great south American football names in every line drawn. Except in the middle, which will always be about Batman, because I was listening to another podcast by that point which talked a lot about the Tim Burton Batman movie. Again, you can’t see that, but I do. Now I always wonder what was really going through artist’s minds when they were creating their work. I look at one of Mondrian’s compositions and I think, I wonder if he was thinking about getting a cat and in between colouring in those squares whether he went down to the pet shop to look at kittens, I don’t know. You don’t know. Or when Van Gogh painted that portrait of himself with no ear, maybe in fact he was listening to his annoying unemployed next door neighbour practicing their singing really badly day in, day out, and he just subconsciously painted himself with no ear without even thinking about it, you just don’t know do you. Or when Damien Hurst was putting that sheep into the formaldehyde, maybe at the same time he was listening to his favourite gardening show on the radio? And now every time he sees that sheep he keeps thinking, ooh I’d better water the petunias when I get home. You just don’t know.

By the way, click on the image above and you’ll see a bigger version. What you won’t see is any reference to Boca Juniors or Bruce Wayne.

soccer, lifestyle and everything

Soccer and Lifestyle June2014 smSoccer and Lifestyle, 2nd Street Davis. Click on the image for a larger view. You’ll want a larger view, to get a look at all those lovely football kits – or soccer jerseys, uniforms, shirts or whatever your preferred vocabulary choice is. This is one of my favourite shops in Davis (actually it is my favourite shop), and was the first shop I ever came into when I first visited Davis. I remember chatting that day to the owner, Rami, about Spurs and also Charlton Athletic for some reason. I was just so impressed there was a shop here devoted to my favourite things – football shirts – that I told my wife “we have to move here!” and since I’ve been here ever since that is fairly big. Anyhow, I’ve sketched the window before (in 2010) but never sketched the store itself, so with it being the height of the 2014 Brazil World Cup I figured that now was the right time. I went down there one lunchtime, wearing my recently purchased dark blue France shirt (it is in my opinion the best kit at the tournament) and sketched while watching the first half of France vs Switzerland, a demolition of a match for France out tore the usually pretty strong Swiss up. The owner, Rami, is a friendly guy who knows his stuff (actually they all are, those who work there, always welcoming for some footy chat). I love standing among all the colours of the World Cup shirts; I bought my son the new green Mexico shirt, which he loves because of the little lightning flashes on it. With all the crazy colourful boots (cleats) and all the footballs (soccer-balls) from various World Cups, as a kit-nerd and a footy-fanatic, this is very much my kind of store.

And what a World Cup it has been! The most entertaining yet probably. Certainly the most random-statistic-filled yet. All of which means the knockout stages will be dull tired affairs, but then I said the whole tournament would be so, and I was wrong. England were poor, predictably so, but my adopted team USA has been heroic and will face Belgium in the Round of 16. Then you have the Suarez biting story, which is such a bizarre pantomime villain tale it is almost as if it was all pre-fabricated to give this amazing World Cup a proper bad-guy, to add drama to the plot as we enter the middle act. Who knows. Anyway, of the flags hung up on the wall, the following sixteen are left…

DSC01351

So it’s “Get on the Plane, Spain”, “Get your Coats, Croats”, “You’re a Gonner, Ghana” (works better with an American accent that one), “Cote D’Au-Revoir” (come on, that’s pretty good), “Here’s the Door, Ecuador”, “Herze Today, Govina Tomorrow Bosnia” (I think I heard that one on the Guardian podcast so don’t blame me for that one, my original pun were “Everybody Herz” or “Who’s the Bos” but I wasn’t sure about either), “Iran Away”, “Export-ugal” (yes I know), and “Russian Home to Beat the Traffic”. Phew. (I actually couldn’t think of a good one for England) That is a very small sampling of what it is like living in the Scully household during the World Cup, or any cup for that, and I can’t apologize for that. There are so many punning opportunities I can’t help it. If you like hearing the very worst scrape-the-barrel World Cup punning perhaps you would be interested in following me on twitter, @petescully. Converseley if you absolutely cannot stand it and it makes your head want to explode, maybe unfollow me until after July 13 when my tweets will be all about sketches of little houses I promise you.

IMG_0853 sm

And football shirts…I have been meaning to do a run-down of the kits at the world cup, and wanted to give illustrations while talking about (complaining about) each one. But that was too time-consuming, so you have to wait a bit longer. In short, I hate them all except France, Mexico and the USA (only kidding, there are some others I quite like). I think I will do that in a separate post. Tomorrow is Brazil vs Chile, and you’d better get your kit on, it’s going to be a great game. It’ll be followed by Colombia v Uruguay, and Colombia are the better team, but I reckon Uruguay will clinch it by the skin of their teeth*.

(*I actually don’t, I think Colombia will hammer them but the time period for using that admittedly feeble joke is running out and I don’t like wasting opportunities like that)

hillel house, davis

Sam Len Hillel House, Davis
Here’s one from about a month ago – time flies when you’re really busy, huh – and I never did add the colour, but I liked it’s pen-only form. This is the Sam Len Hillel house on A Street, Davis, a new building (I sketched the temporary Hillel House just up the road a couple of years ago while they were building this). It was a warm day, you get a lot of those here in Davis.

bohème

Boheme, Davis
And back to the posting of sketches. I’ve been a little preoccupied with the Scene In Davis show, and also that other thing called the 2014 Brazil World Cup. Wow, what a World Cup it’s been so far! A million miles from the 0-0 borefest I had expected (though today there was finally a 0-0 draw). It’s been gripping stuff, and today especially I must so “Go USA!” Which is American for “Come On USA!”, it’s not a slogan for the tourist board. I do intend on posting a full description of the World Cup shirts, but perhaps tomorrow, after everybody has played once. Anyway, this sketch is of Bohème, on Third Street, Davis. I drew it all on site but added the colour when I got home. They sell hip used clothing, which is nice. Probably no old football shirts, though. If I were to wear a hip old international world cup shirt, I would probably go for an old USSR one (with the cyrillic CCCP emblazened across the chest), or maybe a green German away kit from the 1974, Italy’s kit from Italia 90 was cool too, or perhaps – and this is a controversial choice – the USA away kit from 1994, the light blue one with the stars, though I don’t think that really qualifies as ‘hip’. I’m not much of a hipster, unfortunately.

hair today, gone tomorrow

Razor's Edge, Davis
This is my barber shop, the Razor’s Edge on 3rd Street, downtown Davis. I have been getting the same haircut here since I moved to this town almost nine years ago, but I had never ever sketched the place. Well you know how it is, you sketch somewhere, then suddenly it closes down (it’s happened a lot to me), and to be honest I couldn’t afford to have my barber close. I have tried other barbers in town and you’d be surprised how different my hair looks each time, whereas here I know what I’m getting. You know how it is. So not wanting to ‘curse’ it, I never sketched it. Anyway, recently I heard that the building would be demolished to make way for, well a more modern building that can charge more rent, I suppose. So I decided I just had to sketch it, for posterity. Now the last time I did this was The Beat, a record shop in Sacramento, I sketched it last summer before it was to move to ‘another location’. It was definitely not closing for good. Well, sadly it never reopened. I’m glad I sketched it, but the curse had struck again. So before finally putting the Razor’s Edge into my sketchbook, I went in and asked if the barber, Sukh, had found another location yet, just to make sure. He certainly had, and he’d signed a new lease and will definitely be moving into a new spot about a block away in July. “Hooray!” I exclaimed, and here is my sketch.
(And yes even I, with my low standards for cheap gags, cringed before using that title for this post, but it just had to be done. It’s not every day your barbershop closes.)

part of the queue

davis farmers market may 2014
Recently I went to the Davis Farmers Market on a Wednesday evening to do a bit of sketching. It was a warm evening, as you get around here, and a lot of people were buzzing around getting food from vendors and listening to live music. It’s always tricky figuring out what to sketch; in order to capture the vibrancy of the scene, you need to sketch a bunch of people moving around. I chose a spot near the food vendors and sketched the market information building, which sells t-shirts and baskets and other such stuff, while a queue of people lined up before me for tacos, finding themselves inevitably the foreground subjects of my sketch. I stood holding my big sketchbook (the larger size Stillman and Birn Alpha book rather than my smaller everyday sketchbook) at an unusual angle, I look kinda funny when I sketch like that. Someone came to look at my work, but they were at the wrong angle and probably thought I was holding it up so they couldn’t see, but that’s just how I hold it, close to my chin like a violin. I had time that evening so added the paint on site, sitting down on one of those benches by the tree to do that. I didn’t eat a Naanwich or any other of the market foods, I can’t really eat and sketch.

Anyway this particular sketch (and several others) will be on display and for sale this month at the ‘Art Is Davis’ Co-op on D Street, Davis, as part of the ‘Scene In Davis‘ show. We will be having an artist’s reception in the early evening of Friday June 13th, so if you are in Davis please do come by, look at some of my sketchbooks, and say hello!

music and skateboards

Os Lorenzos sm
A few weeks ago I was invited by Yolo Arts to sketch in Woodland on a Friday evening, as the event sketcher for ‘Music On Main’, part of the 1st Friday Art Walk’s evening entertainments. My first stop was at Steve’s Pizzas on Main Street, where, in the courtyard at the back, a band called Os Lorenzos were playing jazzy tunes. I sketched for nearly an hour, got the musicians to sign the sketch, and moved on.
Acoustic Sanctuary sm
In the square outside Woodland Opera House was this odd looking little truck. “Acoustic Sanctuary” is the colourful vehicle of the one-man-band Winko Ljizz, usually resident in midtown Sacramento, whose purple truck is filled with musical instruments and enough stools for a small audience. I didn’t have time to sketch inside – I was scheduled to sketch skateboarders next and the evening was running away fast – but I’d like to sketch Winko performing his many instruments sometime.
Main St Skater sm
Part of Main Street was cordoned off for a special skateboarding demonstartion / competition, organized by the SorD Boardshop (“SorD” stands, ominously, for “Skate Or Die”, though I’d rather simply “Skate or Maybe Walk Or Ride a Bike, Thanks”). The young skateboarders zoomed all about making jumps and other sorts of jumps (I don’t know any skateboarding lingo) while onlookers looked on. I’ve never sketched skateboarders before – well they move so fast – so it was a fun challenge.
SorD skaters sm
And finally the sun set, but I had one more sketch to make. A three-man mariachi band called Trio Los Lafiras was moving about from place to place performing traditional Mexican songs. I started following them as I saw them walking down the street, and eventually they went into a brewpub and asked to perform a few songs. I tagged in behind them, big sketchbook in hand (I had bought a large format spiral bound Stillman and Birn ‘Alpha’ sketchbook for bigger sketches that I could take out if I needed, I really like that paper) nd told them I would sketch them as quickly as I could. They played three songs, giving me just enough time to sketch them all, paint in their yellow shirts and draw the brickwork too (I added the ‘spotlight’ detail after they’d finished), which was pretty bloody fast if I say so myself. Well, their music was excellent, truly brilliant. I can’t stress how much more fun it is sketching to music, but believe me sketching to a Mariachi band is so much more of a delight. I even knew the tunes they played (though mostly from their 1980s football terrace versions, admittedly). So a fun end to a very busy sketchy evening.
Trio Los Lafiras sm

Many thanks to Kristina Fong at Yolo Arts for giving me this great opportunity to sketch!

giedt on up

Giedt Hall, UC Davis
This is Giedt Hall, UC Davis, sketched one lunchtime a few weeks ago. I am a slow poster these days, I’ll admit, but I’ve also not done as much daily sketching this month so you’re not missing much. A couple of sketching events still to post though, and also let you know that I am participating in a show at the end of next week atArt Is Davis on D St, Davis (next to the Pence), called ‘Scene In Davis’. I’m very excited about it, and I believe the work will be hung for the whole of June, with a reception at the ArtAbout on Friday June 13. Also on that date, I will have work showing in the Pence Gallery for their ‘Garden Tour’ silent auction/exhibit, as well as a small piece in the ‘Tiny’ show (of work that is just 5″x7″ – pretty big for me…). So June will be art-tastic! Still no time to organize sketchcrawls though :(