This is the side of the soon-to-be-remodeled Freeborn Hall at UC Davis, with the Memorial Union building in the background. I sketched this one foggy autumnal lunchtime last week. I only wanted to add in a dash of colour, for the Fall season is in full flow here. Actually I wanted to colour in the whole thing but couldn’t be bothered, so before you applaud my effective limited use of colour, remember you are congratulating my laziness. Only kidding (kind of). With this drawing, I was really attracted to the shapes more than anything so I think it does work with just the lines and a splash of autumn. I am amazed I had never noticed this scene before, despite walking through it a million times. I had gotten off the bus one morning, listening to some music or other (I think it was Pimlico by David Devant) when it just framed itself in front of me, ready-made. Whoah, those angles, that composition, that unmistakable UC Davis look. If I hadn’t been in a hurry to get to the office I would have stopped and sketched it right then and there. The image rattled around in my head for a couple of days like an unbelievably good idea that I had to realize before someone else discovered it, or the building got demolished, until I finally found a lunchtime to cycle over and capture it. It took about a half hour to forty minutes to sketch it. I love how it turned out as well, a good example of how I like a line-only sketch to be.
(Click on the image to see a close-up). This time of year sees a noticeable increase in the number of these wooden sandwich boards that you find all over the UC Davis campus. Most of them advertise fraternities, sororities, clubs, groups, chapters, paragraphs, commas, and other things I do not understand. There’s a sign that simply says ‘Join Alpha Sig’, so I thought, ok board, you told me to so I will. It is probably some kind of Canadian mutant super hero team. And then I thought, actually I had better not, Alpha Sig might be the name of some alien robot (it certainly sounds like it) whose mission is to enslave the earth, and I can’t be getting involved in that sort of nonsense. And then I thought, why would Alpha Sig, with his (I am just assuming he’s a he, thought it’s probably not a question I would ask an alien robot, “oh by the way oh evil one, oh actually nothing it’s none of my business, get back to destroying that city”) advanced alien technology, why use such an antiquarian painted-wooden form of communication, in this age of social media and facebooks and hashtags. By the way, young people of Davis, please don’t say the word “hashtag” in front of other actual words at the end of your sentences, seriously, just don’t. Not out loud. Speaking of which, all the while I sketched this I was forced to listen to a group of young people talking in that way they talk, those ‘conversations’ they insist on having, where one person says something and then another person and so on. I had no headphones to listen to football podcasts because they were broken (where was Alpha Sig and his/her advanced alien technology when I needed it? Painting wooden boards probably). There they were talking about young people things like going to class, partying, and how absolutely awful their one other room-mate who-isn’t-there-right-now is. Almost an hour of whiny nonsense. I know people have this idea that overheard conversations are great catalysts for all sorts of creativity but they’re wrong, because they aren’t, they’re just boring and you should avoid them always. And so there’s all these boards, colourful and inviting, wanting you to JOIN IN and be PART of them, and evidently they work because those frat houses dotted around the outskirts of campus don’t just trash themselves you know.
These boards are up on the north side of the Quad, next to the Memorial Union (and the CoHo, where I get my lovely Thai curry pho). I couldn’t be bothered to draw the rest of it.
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…