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.
More construction on the UC Davis campus, but this one, ladies and gentlemen, is long awaited and very significant. This is the south side of the Vanderhoef Quad, a square on the side of campus I call “Trans-arboretum”, which includes the Buehler Alumni Centre, the Graduate School of Management, the UC Davis Welcome Center and Conference Center, and of course the massive Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Hey, I’m going there in April to see Belle and Sebastian. This is the gateway to campus and has been gradually sculpted since I first arrived in Davis. So what are they building, well this will soon be the Shrem Museum of Art. That is the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, to give it the full name. When the museum was announced it was very exciting news and the designs for the new building were modern and innovative. The final design, by Brooklyn-based architects “SO-IL” along with San Francisco based Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, was announced in 2013 and the ground-breaking ceremony took place last spring. You can read about the design here. I’m not joking – I am seriously excited about this museum. Davis is an artist’s city and UC Davis an artist’s campus (I should know eh, drawn it enough times) and this is going to be an amazing addition. I will be sketching its progress as the building goes up, but this is the first. I stood in the shade of the Mondavi Center (it is very sunny here in California right now, apologies to those buried in the snow everywhere else in America).
Visit their website at: http://shremmuseum.ucdavis.edu/index.html
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Plato
There are changes afoot on the UC Davis campus. Oh, there are always changes afoot, things coming down, things going up, it’s been change change change since I’ve been here. Very soon however there will be a major remodeling of the Memorial Union, which is kind of their Student Union buidling and a big hub on campus (including the UC Davis bookstore where I buy a lot of my art supplies). Freeborn Hall on the right has been closed for a while, ready for its remodeling.
January ploughs on. I’m doing some sketching but not much (actually none in more than a week, but I still have a couple of panoramas from Sacramento to finish colouring and then scan in). The first month of the year is always a busy one, and I have been building new Lego sets (my son’s birthday was last weekend) and making birthday banners and what not. The weather’s alright, been kinda warm this week, was a bit chilly on the first day I did this (it was done over a couple of different days). No rain though, a very dry January, which isn’t good for our droughts. Otherwise, a little morning fog but lots of nothing really. Out east they’re having really big blizzards. I hear out east that they have fifty different words for snow, or rather fifty different ways to describe any sort of snowstorm, “Snowmageddon”, “Snowpocalypse”, “Snowgnarok”, “Apocalypse Snow”, “The Towering InferSnow”, “World War Snow”, “Age of Snowtron”, “The Snow Awakens”, “Gone With The Snow”, “The Snowfather” and of course “Snowzen”. Yeah, it’s bad out there. Here in Davis, typically bland winter weather continues. The “Blandocalypse”, weathermen are calling it. “Blandmageddon”. “Blandgarok”. “Apocalypse Bland”, “The Towering InferBland”, “World War Bland”, “Age of Blandtron”, “The Bland Awakens”, “Gone With The Bland”, “The Blandfather” and of course “Blandzen”. Yeah, it’s bad out here.