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 at ‘Art 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 :(
Here are the final few sketches from the UC Academic Advising Conference. I went to two different workshops on the Friday and when I say different I mean polar opposite. One had superhero costumes and databases, one had cops and guns. The session sketched above was given by staff from UC Riverside, and they shared with us some of their “E-Knowledge”, their use of certain databases and websites to gather up student data. The first presenter dressed in a Superman outfit (or maybe Supergirl, minus the Supergirl costume adjustments, I’m not an expert, I’ve been reading a lot more Marvel lately than DC)
The final workshop attended was the most interesting by far, albeit disturbing. “Surviving an Active Shooter”, presented by the UC Davis Police, is unfortunately in the United States of America an all too real factor to consider, as we saw tragically at UC Santa Barbara last weekend. Mike Valenzuela was the main presenter and he showed us all a variety of scenarios and types of firearm. I was official sketcher so I didn’t have to take part in the exercise on how to run out of the building. The videos we had to watch were scary to say the least, but the tips they gave on survival, and the mantra of “RUN-HIDE-FIGHT” (very much in that order) were very strong. I would recommend anyone to take a course like this, and many thanks to Mike, Mary, Tim and Janet for offering this workshop. I absolutely hope I never have to use what I learnt.
These last couple of sketches are of some UC Davis staff I know, my former department colleague and one of the conference organizers Elizabeth Dudley (I had to include her camera as she is a great photographer), also a keen cyclist and foodie – check out her website, the Cycling Foodie. I must thank Elizabeth, as it was she who recommended me as the official sketcher to the organizing committee (after I had left it too late to register, doh!). Cheers Elizabeth! Below is Cris Breivik, a long-term academic counselor who works with Elizabeth in the L&S Dean’s Office (who I’m sure I have I have sketched before at a meeting or previous conference). He is very well-known on campus and even has a banner devoted to him (it’s near the Silo). I think I captured him quite well.
And so that is that. I enjoyed this UC Academic Advising Conference, in both my daily work and my sketching capacities, and am pleased I had the opportunity to live in both worlds for a couple of days. By the way, the UCAAC posted all the sketches on Facebook in this full set: “UCAAC SKetches by Pete Scully” Cheers!
Day Two of the UC Academic Advising Conference opened with a series of brief ‘TED Talks’. What are TED Talks? I showed up a but late to find out, and was somewhat crestfallen to discover that it wasn’t a series of storytimes with teddy bears (yeah I know, what was I thinking, but I watched Playschool as a kid, Big and ittle Ted, Humpty, Jemima, Hamble etc and, well I don’t know, but anyway it wasn’t anything like that. Forget I mentioned it.) Ok, so apparently they are academic presentations which are short and delivered at breakneck speed on various subjects to popular audiences, at least that’s the impression I got.
The first one, which I walked into a few minutes late, was by Prof. William Ristenport from Chemical Engineering, and was all about coffee. Science stuff about coffee. UC Davis made headlines recently because it was doing some sort of sciencey thing about coffee which apparently made people very excited because, you know, they drink it. I don’t like coffee personally so I see this sort of excitement in the same way as when people get excited over pictures of dogs wearing clothes, but I daresay the coffee scientists and enthusiasts enjoyed this one. The time limitation factored and everything was presented at high-caffeine speed so I wasn’t able to take many notes but it was interesting and Prof. Ristenport did a good job of entertaining everyone. And yes the students who take part in these coffee science sessions do get free coffee which I’m sure makes all the difference.
Again, I didn’t write many notes in the next TED Talk, given by Jonna Mozet, who is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology in the School of Vet Med. It was about diagnosing mystery illnesses and explored epidemiology in the wild among animals, and was interesting but a bit above my head.
The third one was really interesting, given by Marilyn Ramenofsky, an adjunct professor in Neural Biology, and a former world-record holding swimmer. Her story spanned the decades and she told us about her years as a swimmer, medalling at the 1964 Olympics, and breaking the world record for the 400m freestyle. She fell in love with Biology and now researches bird migration at UC Davis. I think everyone loved her talk most, lots of people were talking about it afterwards.
Finally, there was a talk given by James Housefield, Professor of Design at UC Davis. I have conversed with James via email (about sketchcrawls) before but hadn’t met him until now, and I really enjoyed his talk (although he did make everyone hug each other at the start which – see previous post – is not really my thing). This was a very lively talk and as you can see I was getting into the people sketching by that point and took a lot more notes. “Embrace the Unfashionable!” this was his mantra.
So that was the breakfast session of Day To. The rest of the conference’s events will be covered in the next post. Thanks for sticking with it!
(By the way, “TED” stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design” and has nothing to do with furry inanimate bears)
And so, continuing the sketches from day one of the UC Academic Advising Conference at the end of last month…
The Keynote Speaker was Jenny Blake. Jenny is an author and career coach who used to work for Google before branching out on her own, travelling the country giving talks and signing her successful book “Life After College”. According to her website, http://jennyblake.me/, she loves helping smart people organize their brain, and it really shows. I’m not one to go for all the motivational speaker stuff that is so popular over here and elsewhere, but I must say that Jenny was extremely inspiring. “Is the life you’re living worth the price you’re paying for it?” This is a great questions for us all. I’m always wondering how to manage my life and all its busy-ness. I’ve had a ‘cluttered’ time the past few years, and even considered reining in stuff like my drawing all the time, as if that would help. Jenny talked a lot about ‘decluttering’, and then at one point she encouraged us all to do something we’ve always loved doing. I realized that in my case I was doing it right there and then – drawing!
I felt pretty positive after listening to her speech and my sketches over this conference showed it, . Here is Jenny with the sketches after her talk. Thanks for an excellent seminar!
After the keynote speech, it was time for the first afternoon breakout workshop, and I happened to attend one of those which sounded useful but was perhaps a little less up my alley. “Self-care Made Simple”, sketched below, was a popular workshop because while it had little to do with actual advising, it was offering ways to better manage our stressful lives and a lot of people, as they say, love that shit. I came in a few minutes after it had already started, and took one of the only spare seats, which was at the front. The whole place was silent, apparently in the middle of some period of quiet meditation. Ok, I thought, I’ll sit at the back, better view. The only sound in the room was my pencil case opening, the zip tearing through the silence, my pens scratching against the paper. From then, there was standing and stretching, walking about in a circle, there was some hugging (and another session next day also tried getting people to do this thing called hugging – yeah, no, I’m British), there was a lot of conversing (or “ventilation” as they called it) and of course there was “visualization”. They put on a tape which sounded like something from the Dharma Initiative, one of those self-hypnosis things, “Imagine you are on a sandy beach…become the sandy beach, imagine you are that sandy beach”, all that sort of stuff. I really fought hard to Jules Winfield it, “do I LOOK like a BEACH?”, but I didn’t need to break the spell as one lady (who is in the sketch) was asleep and snoring away. That made me smile. I don’t mean to mock the workshop, it was probably really great for almost everyone in the room and I met the presenters and they were very nice and I think they liked my sketch, but as I say, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. (A nice cup of tea is more my cup of tea.)
The final workshop of the day was very interesting and informative. “Helping and Supporting International Students” outlined (in admittedly technical terms with diagrams) the tribulations that are faced by students from other countries adjusting to degree programs in the U.S. I did really enjoy it and recognised a lot of the issues not only with my own experiences of international students at work, but also with my own experiences as someone living in a foreign country (and yes I do still see this as a foreign country – see above under ‘hugging’). There were some foreign students there sharing their experiences, and I sketched away. It’s funny sketching these sort of workshops because they are like a time-lapse photo, the lady speaking by the podium wasn’t there when the students were seated in a panel up front, and the blonde lady with the pink scarf stood to the left is the very same person sat to the right there, at a different moment. An important lesson in sketching however is that none of that matters, you are sketching an hour in history and all of those things were true at various moments. Also, you weren’t there so you don’t know any better (or care, probably).
Hope you liked the sketches! Check back for Day Two!
A few weeks ago, I attended the University of California Academic Advising Conference which was held at UC Davis. This conference was always held annually, hosted by a different UC campus each time, and I had previously attended the conferences in 2007 (Anaheim) and 2009 (San Diego). I hoped to go in 2010, however the UC had a big budget crisis and sadly, the advising conferences were cancelled for the foreseeable future. That was a shame, but nobody could afford to send staff on these trips like they used to. There was a mini-revival one year in Riverside, however this year 2014 marked the first year that the beloved “UCAAC” returned in full swing, and our very own campus was to be this year’s host. I however left it too late to register, and almost missed out. Fortunately though, I was at the last minute invited to attend as the “official sketcher”! Many great thanks to the organizers for extending this opportunity to me, I was incredibly honoured and took full advantage (and of course, learnt a lot about advising, this all being massively important for my day job too). I sketched quickly and productively, colouring on site as I went along too, using the smoother but thicker Zeta paper in a Stillman and Birn sketchbook.
Here are my sketches from the first part of the first day!
The Welcome Speaker was Carolyn de la Peña, American Studies professor and vice-provost and dean for undergraduate education, who opened the proceedings. I tried my best to write down some of the things she was saying while sketching her.
The first breakout workshop I attended was about graduate student recruitment (ever wonder what I do all day? That’s a really big part of it). It was called “Creative Strategies” and was presented by Melissa Woehrstein from UCLA. I enjoyed it, and asked questions, but it was just long enough for me to get this whole scene sketched. I did tell Melissa beforehand that I would be sketching, and many of the same people show up in each of my workshop sketches, many of whom I have attended meetings with for years. It’s always funny when they suddenly get to see you in your other guise as the sketcher, I kinda felt like as if Clark Kent wore his cape while sitting at his desk at the Daily Planet (actually he probably does, under his shirt, but that’s the best analogy I can come up with, not that I’m Superman or anything). Anyway hopefully it didn’t distract anyone, but everyone was very positive about my sketches which was nice. Plus I had a badge that said “Official Sketcher” (handwritten admittedly but still, Official).
More to come…
Here is one from a month ago…getting there slowly… This is the junction of 3rd and A streets in Davis, at the entrance to the UC Davis campus. Imagine all the cyclists that come through here every day! Running through that Stop sign, barely dodging pedestrians, this is what Davis is all about. There’s a big second-hand textbook store across the street. My oldest friend sells academic textbooks, funnily enough, but he lives in Korea now. Here is the map, in case you are just not sure where this could be.
This is Mrak Hall. That’s “MRAK”, my dear autocorrect, not “Mark”. It is a big solid looking building on the UC Davis campus, the place where the administration sit, and make all the rules and policies we have to follow. I have sketched it before but not in a long while. I come here often to drop off paperwork and turn up a day early for meetings (doh!). In front there, on those two little hillocks (“HILLOCKS”, dear auto-correct…) are two of Robert Arneson’s Eggheads. This is called “See No Evil, Hear No Evil”, which was obviously named after a hilarious movie with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder. The last time I drew them, they were located in a slightly different place, in fact they were pretty much where I sat to draw this picture. I sat on the steps of King Hall, whose extension forced the eggheads to move to the middle of the roundabout in 2009. In fact my last sketch is below, from 2007. That long ago?
A couple of weeks ago, UC Davis celebrated its 100th annual Picnic Day. One hundred! Click on the images to see larger versions (or you could hold your face close to the screen, though I wouldn’t advise it). Picnic Day is a UC Davis institution, the largest university open house in the country, attracting thousands of visitors to such attractions as the Doxie Derby, Battle fo the Bands, the Chemistry Magic Show, and, er kittens. Yes, we waited for half an hour in line to see kittens, only to find out they were now cats (they were probably kittens when we started queuing). Four cats, just sitting there doing nothing, two of which were asleep. Yet massively popular. My six year old wanted to see nothing else. The first thing we watched however was the Parade, the annual march of bands, bikes, floats, the occasional political candidate, which was as fun as ever. We sat down outside Shields Library to watch it, when I started painting, but broke my water jar (as described in a previous episode). I added the rest of the colours at home.
This second spread was sketched at the Battle of the Bands. I went home with my family, already tired after the excitement of the cats, and had a rest before heading back in to see the famous band battle. I’ve only seen it once, briefly, but I don’t really like crowds. I am getting better at sketching in large numbers now though, but nonetheless it was tricky. I stood at the top of the slope leading down to Lake Spafford, on the banks of which were gathered the bands themselves. Now these aren’t your guitar-hero indie-beard bands, oh no these are the colourful marching bands, and boy is this an event. The bands come from universities around California. The idea is that each band takes turns playing a song, and then by the end of the day (or night), the last band standing, the last one that has not exhausted all its known songs, is the winner (and I’m told it’s always the UC Davis Aggies). It is crazy, and chaotic, but it all works, and those musicians really keep it up for hours and hours. On the left there is a dancing tree from Stanford. I finally left during a long bit in the middle where all the bands came together in groups of the same instrument, and placed themselves around the crowd in a kind of promenade-theatre fashion, playing a continuous jam (I left after 45 minutes and it was still going on) in a variety of poses. Definitely a Davis event to be experienced at some point in your life.
And this was all. In nine years this is the most Picnic Day sketching I have ever done.
I am catching up, slowly. This is another one from UC Davis, Valley Oak Cottage, over at the Arboretum’s Headquarters. It’s a stones-throw from where I work (admittedly quite a big stones-throw, and no, campus health-and-safety officials, I don’t throw stones around to determine distance). Another one where I stood and drew all the ink on site but added the colour in later. I’ve had to do this a lot lately, rather than paint on site, because of three very important reasons. First, lunchtimes are limited and my level of detail is increasing. I do love drawing so much that the colouring in is just an afterthought. An important one but not as important to me as drawing on site, getting all the perspective in there, etc. I do prefer to add the colour from real life but I’m not all that with paint anyway. So basically, if I have a short amount of time I have to prioritize, then my priority is inkwork first. Also my sketchbook, the Stillman and Birn Alpha landscape, is bigger than I used to use and bigger sketches take longer. Second, lately I have actually been enjoying doing big complicated sketches in the daytime, and then having something to colour in at night while watching television. It’s like I’m drawing myself a colouring-in book. You have no idea how satisfying it feels. Actually its better when I draw superheroes rather than trees and buildings, but it’s still fun. Third, I actually lost my favourite little waterjar, then one I used for years, and then a couple of weeks ago I broke my only other favourite small waterjar, the back-up one, sketching at Picnic Day. It smashed all over the kerb, just before the marching band arrived, scattering broken glass all over where we were sitting, good job there Pete. So I need to get a new little jar, and then I can paint on site again. My previous experiments with waterbrushes didn’t really pay off for me. So there you have it. I must say though, it’s Spring and all the leaves are back, and, meh, I don’t like drawing foliage.
This footbridge crosses the bike path which runs between Shields Library and Olson Hall at UC Davis. I have never sketched it before so it was well overdue. If you have spent any time at UC Davis this is a very familiar sight. How many of us have cycled down this curve, avoiding other bikes as they dash in unlikely directions? All of us. Well, Davis is the #1 Cycling Town in the U.S. Yes, it’s official, as was announced by USA Today just last week. Well done Davis! Is it the #1 sketching town? I dunno about that, but I have given it a good go myself these past few years. I wonder what town would win #1 sketching town in the U.S.? San Francisco or Portland, of the places I have been, but then again I’ve not been to that many places. It’d be fun to find out!
Oh by the way, Happy Easter!