This is the Heitman Center, UC Davis. Well, it’s the Hog Barn really. I’ll always know it as the Hog Barn. See the pig on the weathervane? Well these days it doesn’t house sows or lodge hogs, nor is it digs for pigs. It is modern and clean and used for staff development classes, with flip-charts and coloured markers and overhead projectors. I went to a class there recently, though I left halfway through, it was a bit of a boar.
Don’t be fooled by the colourless demeanour of this image – it was very sunny, and warm, mid-70s. The rains have come in the couple of days since this sketch though. this blog is fast becoming a Davis weather report. Spoiler alert – there’s very little to report. The storms last night were fun though, but it was just a bit of rain, not like the deluges you’ve been getting back in England. The rain, of course, first item on the local news, with shots of reporters in their yellow raincoats offering such insights as “people struggled to stay dry” while showing locals strolling about calmly without umbrellas, unperturbed. (The news here does make me laugh; second item on the bill was a story about some hay that been stolen. Yes, stolen hay.) Anyway, to sketch this I sat in the shade of Rock Hall (the building from the previous post) to stay out of the warm sun and listened to a podcast about Merlin of all subjects. I haven’t sketched this scene from this angle in about seven years, amazingly. The big tower is the UC Davis Silo, which of course I have sketched many times. This was done in brown uniball signo pen in the Stillman & Birn alpha sketchbook.
One from campus, a lunchtime sketch of Peter A. Rock Hall. This building used to be called 194 Chemistry (or ‘Chem 194′), a catchy name that sounds more like an indie dance combo with a middlebrow following. It was renamed about a year or so ago after the former Math & Physical Sciences Dean Peter A. Rock, a Chemistry professor who sadly died in 2006 (I was new to Davis then but I remember that). The front of the building has been recently revamped and so Chem 194 was renamed in Prof. Rock’s honour. This is a much better name, I think you’ll agree. Rock Hall. Now it has a name that means something. One thing I learned, in order for a building at UC Davis to be renamed after someone, that person must be dead for at least two years. Apparently so. I do love all of the touches made outside the building – an improved sidewalk, dotted with interesting little hand-made tiles depicting colourful interpretations of each of the elements, as well as details such as a brass periodic table. What was once just a big Chemistry lecture hall is now a pretty cool part of campus.
This is Freeborn Hall, UC Davis. It’s a big building near the Memorial Union, and from what I understand, this will be its last year, at least in its present form. There are many on campus who will mourn its loss, so I thought I’d better add it to the roster of things I have sketched in this town. To be honest I’ve never really liked this building much, and that is partly because it’s a bugger to sketch – those trees in front normally block any decent view when they are leafy, and it’s so long and sloping that you need to do a panorama to catch it all. So I did a panorama, to catch it all. Click on the image for a larger view. This was drawn on location furiously over one extended lunchtime and colored in later on at home.
Yeah, I’ve never been a big Freeborn fan, since I went to see an Art Brut gig here about four years ago or so, late 2009 I think it was. I don’t know why Art Brut, a band I followed back in the early days in London and have seen in San Francisco, chose this particular venue as it was completely the wrong place for a band like them: a cavernous empty arena with about fifty or so fans huddled in front of the long stage for warmth. The band were excellent, playing many of my favourite tracks at full belt, but by their nature they are best in more intimate spaces with more people packed in (that said, first time I saw them was at the Tate playing alongside David Devant in a spatially weird but utterly compelling gig). Getting inside Freeborn was a hassle too, with the slightly paranoid security checking every part of every person coming in, more thorough pat-downs than I’ve had even at an airport, not even allowing things such as coins or dollar bills to remain in pockets (I was told to put my money on a table where it was blowing around in the strong wind while they searched my jacket for illicit objects). I understand they have their security, but it felt well over the top for any gig I have ever been to, especially as it was such a small crowd (put it this way, I’m pretty sure they don’t search the attendees at the Whole Earth Festival like that). Inside, there was nowhere to get a drink; not that I am looking for a full bar, like, but I couldn’t even find a vending machine for a diet Coke, just a small water-fountain. So yes, not a place I’d enjoy going to a gig again, but Art Brut of course were great that night, and the novelty of them being in Davis is still funny to me (hey by the way, Art Brut released their 10-year anniversary album last April, “Top of the Pops”, and if you download the free app that accompanies the album – search on iTunes – you will find an original comic drawn for every single song, and two of them were drawn by me! Part of Classic Rock’n'Roll history, mate.)
I’ve been to other events at Freeborn as part of work, a seminar here, an event there. Freeborn though is well known as the location of beloved Davis radio station KDVS, and you gotta love them. Hopefully I will get to go and sketch their immense record collection sometime before Freeborn is redeveloped.
This is a scene found at UC Davis, the rear of Walker Hall. It is a view that has changed considerably over the years since I’ve worked there, well I say considerably, there used to be a wall and more cactus where the brown earthy space is now. A lot has been done to improve this whole corridor, make it more open and accessible, especially with the shiny Student Community Center next door (which I sketched last year). It is interesting to see how the campus changes over the years. This building however appears not to have changed itself, and I like that old-school look it still has. Its near-neighbour Hart Hall is still a beloved campus icon, but the similarly-coloured and tiled Boiler Building is now gone. During a very busy week I have struggled to keep it all together, but I found that I would have more focus if I got out to sketch furiously at lunchtime. I have had a mild cold too, so stepping out into the warm weather with that bit of sunshine made me feel pretty good. I did all of the ink in one lunchtime for this one (it’s not that detailed) but coloured it in later. See the lamp-post banner to the right, these have popped up across campus lately showcasing the hardworking people who make UCD what it is (I doubt I would get one though!) Been extremely busy lately though; busy is good. So it’s important to balance busy with creative, and the Panoramarathon continues. Click on the image for a larger view.
By the way, thought you might like to know I just read “The Fifth Beatle: the Brian Epstein Story“, an absolutely excellent graphic novel by Vivek Tiwary, with art by Andrew C. Robinson. Best thing I have read in ages, an astonishing piece of work, and an excellent example of how well a story is best told in graphic novel format. Some things only drawn images can really convey. It’s utterly beautiful, and Brian himself is encapsulating in his enthusiasm, but most beguiling of all was his assistant Moxie, from start to finish. By the end of the story I was almost tearful (yes you read that right). I’ll be re-reading this one for a long time.
I love this new word, “Panoramarathon”. I have invented it, so there. It’s what I am using t describe my current burst of energy, I’ve done six in a row in my Seawhite book now (finally using it for what I actually bought it for, page after page of full-on panoramas) and will just keep going, especially while this weather continues (the Polar Vortex – a word I didn’t invent but whoever did is probably enjoying this one – didn’t get to California so we’re having balmy days in the high 60s and low 70s). This above was a lunchtime sketch (inked on site and coloured at home) of Olson Hall and Sproul Hall, two big UC Davis buildings. I need to draw more campus so I am going to do that, even those big white repetitive buildings I don’t like much. This is number 4 of the panoramarathon. Click on the image for a larger view.
Hey why not join in? Ok folks here it is, “Panoramarathon 2014″ see how many consecutive two-page panoramas you can do. Ok, ready…GO!
Earlier this week I was eating lunch at the Silo, and being a busy day there was only one seat available, right opposite a young lad from Hong Kong who was sketching people. Good on you mate, that’s what I like to see! His name was Ka and he was really good. He did a couple of sketches of me (with my new scraggly stubble-beard) so I sketched him. Below is his sketch of me. I’m honoured!
I’ve been busy…and not updating. Mostly not scanning. There has been some sketching. There’s mostly been drawing cartoon cut-out skeletons for Halloween, and a cardboard Iron Man suit. Don’t ask. Anyway, these are in fact my sketches from the last Davis sketchcrawl in September, starting at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine and stuff, in the Good Life Garden. Yes, the Good Life Garden, named (I presume) after the TV show with Felicity Kendall and Richard Briers and Jerry and Margo. This place is pretty amazing, for a good life garden. At UC Davis we have world-class enologists, who presumably are experts in Brian Eno. Seriously, Enology is a real thing, and goes hand to hand here with Viticulture, with I believe is the science behind Jaffa Cakes and Digestives (the correct term is McVitieculture, but over here they drop the “Mc” just like they drop the “O” in Oenology, which as you know is to do with wine and is not to be confused with Onology, the science behind Yoko). Ok now all that has been cleared up, let’s get on with the sketches. At the top, the Good Life Garden, in which I got a little sun but savoured the lovely smells while humming that beloved theme tune. Hey, one thing I never knew is that in America, The Good Life was called “Good Neighbours”. Now I’m sorry but that is too close to another show we all know, and yet another theme tune stuck in my head. Apparently it was renamed due to an earlier unsuccessful show called The Good Life starring JR Ewing, I mean, Larry Hagman. I am trying to imagine Paul Eddington in a ten-gallon Stetson, with his middle-class commuter stiff upper lip, no that doesn’t look right.
This bit is the Beer Lab. That is, the “RMI Teaching and Research Winery and Busch Brewing and Food Science Lab”. Or just “Drink!” for short. This is the real University of Beer.
We will meet at noon at the Good Life Garden, located in the courtyard of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food & Wine Science (http://rmi.ucdavis.edu/). From there we will sketch individually or in a group as you prefer, before reconvening at 4:00pm at the Wyatt Deck in the Arboretum to check out each others’ sketchbooks.
As always this sketchcrawl is free and open to anyone who likes a bit of location drawing. It’s a great way to really explore our town, and meet (and learn from) other sketchers.
Hope to see you there!
A lunchtime at UC Davis, ate at a food truck, sketched the Mondavi Center. In the distance, the empty space that will one day be the brand new Jan & Maria Shrem Museum of Art, an exciting project bringing a proper modern art gallery / museum to the UC Davis campus. I’ll try to sketch its progress as its built.