Early last month I flew down to Los Angeles with my friend Roshan who was visiting from London, for a boys weekend to celebrate his 40th birthday. I didn’t do much sketching; it was a short trip and we mostly did tourism and, well, the pub. One or two pubs! A good old few pubs. I do find it harder to sketch when travelling with non-sketchers, (not for any fault of their own, I just struggle to concentrate) but I did manage a few sketches, including the in-flight drawing above. We stayed downtown at an awesome hotel with a great view, I only grabbed a couple of quick sketches of it, but we were really close to the LA public library (which I have sketched before, years ago).
And of course, one fire hydrant. It wasn’t a 2am hydrant sketch (like on previous LA trips) but the library is once more in the background!
And I got a few quick people sketches down at Venice Beach, of dancing roller-skaters. I would like to go back there on a sketching trip someday, there is always so much to draw around there. I really like LA.
Join us for a Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl on the UC Davis campus! Free and open to everyone of all ages/skill levels, it’s just an afternoon of sketching on location around campus with other people who like to draw.
DATE: Saturday October 21,
START: 12:30pm, Memorial Union North Courtyard
FINISH: 4:30pm, Memorial Union North Courtyard
We’ll start outside the M.U., where the I will do a quick demo of how I sketch my favourite subject – fire hydrants – and then we will sketch about campus in groups or alone, as you prefer, before meeting up again at 4:30pm to have a look at each other’s sketchbooks.
This will also be a SCAVENGER HUNT – I will give out a list of things to look for and sketch. You don’t have to follow it, but if you do, you’ll get a sticker…
As always, this sketchcrawl is FREE and OPEN TO ALL. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on! (And if you run out of those, the campus bookstore has great art supplies!)
I’ve been organizing ‘Let’s Draw Davis’ sketchcrawls here since October 2010, originally monthly, then less frequently, but now they are back to being monthly again, and co-organizes by a couple of other local sketchers; October is back to my turn, and what a great month to be sketching in, when the leaves are turning and the weather is cooling.
I hope to meet you there!
A new academic year has begun on the UC Davis campus (wow, I have worked here since 2006), and this year we also have a brand new chancellor, Gary May, who joined us during the summer from Georgia Tech, where he was the dean of the College of Engineering. Last week I attended a special presentation (“Future Forward”) to a packed crowd at the Mondavi Center to open the new school year, hosted by Chancellor May and also featuring some excellent spoken-word performances by students. I live-sketched the Chancellor’s speech, peppered with references to some of his favourite personal interests such as Star Trek (lots of “to boldly go” in there) and comics (X-Men!!); he didn’t mention Lego but I read that he is a big Lego fan as well. So yeah, I like this new Chancellor already. I did get a chance to meet him when he first arrived in Davis on sweltering hot August afternoon, along with many other staff, students and faculty, and of course I couldn’t resist a quick sketch!
The US Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis is found on 3rd Street. You know I have never been in there? I guess I’m not really that interested in Cycling. Oh I ride a bike every day, I love actually riding a bike, I’m just not interested in Bikes, or Cyclists. Yet here’s the thing, I am very interested in cars and the history of cars, I love to draw them, but I don’t drive a car myself. I sketched this from across the road on B Street. I remember several years ago when the Tour of California kicked off from Davis, Lance Armstrong (in his pre-ignominious-fall St.Lance days) was participating and had his bike stolen from Sacramento the day before. Someone actually half-inched his bike! Now Davis is a bit of a cycling center you might say, in fact we were the first city in the US to have bike lanes, that’s right, Davis was first, number one, us. We’re pretty good at it too. This time of year though on campus it gets a little chaotic, with all the new students and all the new freshly-minted cyclists going in all sorts of directions, careening across corners and riding round roundabouts. The bike crashes are often spectacular; it’s worth cycling defensively at this time of year, and wear a helmet. Also, new Davis cyclists, don’t go through stop signs downtown (or anywhere) because the local cops do actually hide around the corner catching errant cyclists out, and giving out tickets. I’m glad I live in such a bike-friendly city like Davis though, with all its bike lanes and bike shops. Helps that it’s flat too, because I don’t like riding up hills, or any kind of slight incline. Which is funny because I love hills, I love walking up and down hills, and seeing them from a distance.
Hello folks! Sorry about the blogging break! Been very busy lately, settling into the new job, also coaching soccer again, also a little bit of travel (a couple of days in LA helping my friend from England celebrate his 40th birthday), and a slow-down in the sketching (but only a slow-down, not an actual break…never an actual break!) Also I just have had a lot of things piled on top of the scanner and you have to move it to scan things and…excuses, excuses. So I am up super early today watching Tottenham beat Huddersfield (it’s 3-0 at half-time, Harry Kane is giving a masterclass) and it seemed like a good time to start catching up. So, this sketch is of the Davis Farmers Market and I drew it at the August “Let’s Draw Davis” event, which are still going monthly, this one was organized by fellow Davis sketcher Alison Kent. I stood and sketched this among the Wednesday evening ‘Picnic in the Park’ crowd. That’s what the Wednesday evening summer events at the Farmer’s MArket are called, they have music and bounce houses. A few days later I added this sketch to the Pence Gallery’s annual Art Auction, and it sold!! I’m so glad, as I really enjoyed sketching this. The Farmers Market on a Wednesday after work is a nice place to hang out in this town.
I did a couple of other sketches, of the band performing, using one of those multi-coloured pencils for the second sketch.
My final sketches of the evening were at a very important event elsewhere in the park, the Unity Rally, organized in resistance of bigotry and hate, this coming just days after the events in Charlottesville. One of the speakers was US Congressman John Garamendi, who very kindly signed my sketch afterwards! He did look it over to make sure I hadn’t misquoted him; I thanked him for repeating the Nelson Mandela quote a couple of times so I could get it right. The evening ended with a touching candle vigil, of course I’m always nervous about candles all around me (a candle once burned a massive hold in my shirt at a party in east London, leaving me to go all the way across London on the night bus with basically half a shirt on, very embarrassing) so I sidled back with my sketchbook. Another of the speakers was the new UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May, who has now appeared in my sketchbook three times; I’ll post about the other two times soon, but I’m very happy he is our new chancellor (he likes Lego! and Comics! And is obsessed with Star Trek!)Speaking of Lego, one of my latest things is making Lego animations. I’ve made a few this past month, and if ever one gets any good I’ll maybe even post it here…
This is on 4th Street, Davis, behind that funny shaped building on G Street. A hot August afternoon, a weekend day when I felt I had to leave the house to make it feel like I achieved something with the day, but soon went home after a sketch aching with the hot weather. I sometimes envy the faculty who go away all summer, escaping to cooler climes, then I remember they may be away but they’re all busy all the time, doing research, speaking at conferences, flying vast distances, and I do get tired of flying. If I feel a little preoccupied with the heat, it was 110 degrees here in Davis today, the last weekend of August, and it really needs to just stop now, please. September can be very hot as well. October starts to cool off, and then it is lovely. November gets a bit chillier, but it is still nice. December is cooler still, the rare time when we are cooler than San Francisco (which I swear warms up slightly in the winter-time), and yes despite the fact it has been almost 12 years since I left Britain I STILL GO ON ABOUT THE BLOODY WEATHER! It’s all we Brits talk about. I just had a cup of tea too. And like a Brit, I am never happy with the weather, not really. Except in October. October is nice. The next ‘Let’s draw Davis’ sketchcrawl that I organize will be in October, date TBD. There is supposed to be one next month also which another of our group is organizing, but no dates for that yet either. I’ll announce those on here soon (also on the Let’s draw Davis FB page). I just hope it cools down soon. Please cool down soon.
Of course, despite the heatwave, we have to count ourselves lucky. The people of Texas have been hit hard by Hurricane Harvey this weekend. I really hope the people there will be safe, and that they get all the help needed through this crisis.
A note on the sketch – I’ve always wanted to draw this little covered alleyway, it’s an often forgotten spot in Davis. I was interested in the perspective and also the light, the way it reflected on the ground. Most of all though, the woodwork, there’s nothing quite like drawing woodwork, for some reason I love it. Like beards, I like drawing beards too.