We interrupt the London sketches (actually I am off to France in the next batch) to bring you an update on the construction of the new Shrem Art Museum at UC Davis. But first, the weather. It is bloody hot. A hundred and six they say today, but it’ll be more, knowing Davis. July in the Central Valley. The Shrem Art Museum has been under construction for a few months now and I first did a sketch of its progress back in February. I did a couple more sketches in April from the side, and this week did an updated sketch while standing in the shade of the Mondavi Center on a hundred degree day. In short, ti is coming along nicely. It reminded me that I need to get over to the former location of the Boiler Building, where at last construction has begun on the new Music Recital Hall. If this heat calms down a bit I might get over there next week. The sketches below were done in the Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook #2, while the one above was done in the Stillman and Birn Alpha landscape book #2.
This is Tercero Dining Commons at UC Davis. At least I think it is, I’ve never been in there. Actually that isn’t true, I’ve been in the shop. I don’t know what the building with the funny protrusion from the roof is, I always thought it was a chapel or a giant periscope. This description is going well so far. I used to be a tour guide in London, and I tell you I was much smoother than this. “That is Buckingham House PALACE, Palace, where the King QUEEN lives, on your right LEFT is St. James’s Park GREEN PARK, Green Park, the only Royal Park with no grass FLOWERS, no flowers, Charles the First SECOND, I mean Second, got rid of them all, actually no it was his wife, there’s a funny story about that, no wait was it, hang on, here’s our stop. Oh hang on no, its the next one.” It was something like that. No, I was actually pretty good at it, except when being knocked down the stairs by branches of trees. It was an open top bus in central London, and those trees are vicious. I did have to know my stuff though, and spent hours researching the histories of buildings I might get in stuck in traffic next to. Sometimes here in Davis despite my many years here and my many observations, I do feel like I don’t really know what a lot of stuff actually is. Fire hydrants as you know are a fascination to me, but I have no idea how they work, not really. I’m sure they are more complicated than I think they are, but they’re so mysterious. The Varsity Theatre shows movies, but I have no idea how that works, or even what a movie is, it’s like magic. When I sketch a bar, I have no idea what anything is all about, I see people having conversations and it’s just like, what is that they are doing, one person says a thing, the other person says another thing, it’s just so otherworldly. Anyway, I was sketching this one lunchtime, listening to Football Weekly. I had neglected my urban sketching for a few weeks and felt great after I’d done it. Sketching helps brighten your day, even if it doesn’t make it make any more sense…
Well, that was annoying. It’s the day after the General Election in the UK, and, well, what a let down. I did manage to vote this time, from afar, little difference that it made. Anyway, I’ve not posted in a while as I did a little traveling (and also, you know, lazy), but I have a whole bunch of recent sketches to post so I’ll have them online soon. I went to LA, sketching beaches, bars, buildings and more hydrants. I also sketched more toys at home. But this one, well, it’s a quiet moment of repose, sketched at the rear of Hart Hall UC Davis early last week. Back in the UK, five more years of the Tories, but this time without any Lib-Dem cling-ons. Sigh.
This is Celeste Turner Wright Hall, a colourfully painted building on the UC Davis campus, home to the Main Theatre and to the Department of Theatre and Dance. Yes, that’s spelled “Theatre” not “Theater”. This building was named after Celeste Turner Wright, who was the first tenured female faculty member at UC Davis. She was also the first drama instructor on campus; you can find out more about her long and illustrious career here. This building was built in the 1960s and was famously photographed by Ansel Adams. In front there are a couple of Robert Arneson’s Eggheads called “Yin and Yang”. I sketched it last week at lunchtime, furiously drawing as much as possible. but added most of the colour later. Oh, click on the image if you want to see it larger.
Hey I thought you might like to see this, the first time I ever sketched it, which was back in November 2006. I remember doing this and loving playing with all the paint, still actually one of my favourite Davis sketches, mostly because it’s so different from what I do now, but also it was still that first year here, still discovering everything. Looking back, it really took me a lot of time to settle in, even though I worked both on campus and downtown and explored whenever I could, riding around on my bike in the stupid, ridiculous heat. Well, I’m still here, still exploring.
Another period of little sketching, but these are actually from a couple of weeks ago, though I never coloured them. The scene above, looking at Asmundsen Hall at UC Davis, now has a lot more bright pink blossom near it, which wasn’t there when I sketched it. It’s been warm and sunny lately, which is nice. Except we need rain because California is running out of water. A year’s worth left, say NASA. Ah. Yes, let’s have some big wet storms please. Below, Kerr Hall. I really wanted to colour this, but never did.
The Barn, UC Davis. I’ve sketched this a couple of times before, The Barn. The word “Barn” comes from Old English, “bereærn“, which literally meant “barley house”. A lot of buildings on campus look like this as you well know. I needed to sketch something familiar. I feel like I’ve sketched a lot of barns (and former barns) in Davis. Barns and bars. I must confess there was more blossom on that tree now than my sketch lets on. Spring is truly sprung in Davis. Can you believe it’s March already? Of course you can. The days march on as they have always done, but as we get older, each day is relatively shorter than the previous one. Albert Einstein said that, or at least it sounds a bit like the sort of thing he might have said. Lunchtimes feel shorter, at least. Once again I did the colour when I got home.