Tag Archives: UC Davis

the changing of the guard

Mrak Hall, UC Davis
Well it is the Thanksgiving Holiday, and by this time of year in Davis the autumnal colours have really exploded into bloom. It happens that bit later than in most parts of America, it seems, and the transition between November and December is when it hits its peak. This is Mrak Hall, above, where the main administration for UC Davis sits. I sat on a bench one lunchtime this week (a more pleasant experience now that the campus is smoke-free) to sketch this view, and I remembered that I’ve sketched it in Falls gone by on a couple of other occasion. Below, December 2010, a couple of weeks or so later in the season. You can see how the red-tinged tree has turned more orange, while the yellow tree has started to thin out on top.

mrak hall in december

Let’s go further back in time to 2007. The same date, December 10th, and a similar rate of autumnalisation (not a word people use, but I just did) though with more leaflessness on the top of the trees (I neglected to draw the leaves on the ground, obviously too difficult for me back in 2007).

back in mrak

That top sketch of Mrak was the final sketch in watercolour Moleskine #13, which was the ‘Art-Plus’ version (and slightly inferior to all the other versions, paper-wise). This bottom sketch was from watercolour Moleskine #2, and the middle one from #6. Time for a new sketchbook!

and for once in your life you have nothing to say

silo panorama nov2014 sm

Click on the drawing to see it bigger. Another panorama, this one being from the Silo area of UC Davis, which as you may recall I have sketched once or twice or a million times before. (Aaaargh, I’ve been in Davis for ages!) Still, I’ve not drawn a two-page panorama from this angle. I had intended to colour the whole thing in (hello laziness, my old friend) but those trees are just a dull green with some crunchy brown so you’re not missing any Fall colours. You can see some of them in the rainy drawing below of the view of the Farmer’s Market at the Silo (every Wednesday lunchtime) which I sketched last month from the staircase you can see on the building in the right, above. Happy Thanksgiving folks!

silo farmers market, uc davis

you can’t give me the dreams that are mine anyway

MU and Freeborn, UC Davis
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.

boards don’t hit back

boards at the quad oct2014 sm

(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.

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 :(

UCAAC 2014 – part 4

UCAAC E-Knowledge sm
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)
UCAAC Active Shooter sm
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.
UCAAC Elizabeth sm
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.
UCAAC Cris sm
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!

UCAAC 2014 – part 3

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.
UCAAC Ted1 Ristenport sm
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.
UCAAC Ted2 Mozet sm
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.
UCAAC Ted3 Marilyn sm
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.
UCAAC Ted4 Housefield sm
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)