if you want me i’ll be at the bar

DeVere's pub, Davis

A couple of weeks ago a new pub opened in downtown Davis, De Vere’s. I had to go by and check it out – and do some sketching. It was very busy! But I saw as soon as I walked in, a chair at the bar all by itself, right in the middle, so I parked, ordered a Sudwerk Aggie lager (quite nice) and got sketching. I was doing a long panorama of the bar, an unusual one for me, so I started right in the middle (the pint glass was the first thing I drew), and worked outwards, a little bit left, a little bit right, all the while squeezed in the throng about me. I didn’t draw the barstaff – they moved too quickly, and were kept busy by the punters. It’s an interesting pub, very big, brand new but with a proper ‘pub’ feel, not just a bar – it felt like something back home, and I missed my old London mates. I finished up my drawing (it took two and a half beers, if you’re interested, and mine’s a pint, if you’re buying), decided against adding colour, and went home.

DeVere's sketchbook

I went back last week with my wife, and we tried their chips with gravy and cheese and I must say it was bloody amazing. With chips and gravy as an incentive, I think I may go and sketch there again from time to time.

a sense of community

rainbow city, davis
Last week we held our November 2011 ‘Let’s Draw Davis!’ sketchcrawl, up at Community Park. It was a pleasant Fall day (and I had not yet heard about the previous day’s pepper spray incident), Turkey Trotters were out running across Davis, the park was full of autumnal colours and temperatures were not too cold, at least not for the first hour or so (after which it started to get chilly). The regular Davis sketchers were joined by several new faces, mostly from Davis, but also one, Portland Urban Sketcher Linda Daily, whom I had met up in Portland at last year’s Symposium.
fall leaves in community park

We started off by drawing around the Davis Art Center and the amazing wooden playground Rainbow City. It’s a completely community-built playground, one of the greater examples of epic community work in Davis. One of the other sketchers, Landon, told me that he in fact had helped make it when he was a child. There I am below sketching with the little Scully.

Let's Draw Davis!

I sketched some people; still practising my people sketches. Below are (top row, left to right):  Allan Hollander from Davis (I’ve sketched Allan before a few times), Landon Christensen from Davis, Marlene Lee from Davis (another sketchcrawl regular). Bottom row, left to right, are: Salvador Castio from Stockton, Linda daily from Portland, and Jennica from Davis.


Let's Draw Davis!

After some more park sketchng (I drew these old playground pieces; perhaps these used to be City and UCD fire hydrants in former lives, judging by their colours), we met up at the library, where we warmed up and chatted about sketching. I also showed off my library display. It’s so great to meet other sketchers, and see their books and their tools, and learn about their approach or reason for doing this. That’s the point of the sketchcrawls! And for me they’re always learning experiences.

community park duckcommunity park rocketship

what a catalyst you turned out to be

uc davis student general assembly crop
After the Pepper-Spray, the reaction. UC Davis students, faculty, alumni, staff, all have discussed and debated last Friday’s events, while Chancellor Katehi, who has been called on to resign, has publicly apologized and started a series of dialogues with students, something they feel they did not have before. The camp is back, bigger and much more organized, and peaceful, civil protest is the order of the day. No signs of police around, though there were quite a few Facilities trucks casually dotted about campus. On Tuesday lunchtime’s General Assembly, which preceded a town-hall event in the evening, students debated the role of the chancellor among many other things, as they tried to bring the focus back to what they were originally protesting, the recent large hikes in tuition. I recorded this important event for UC Davis in my sketchbook. A photo of me sketching even emerged later on Twitter:

(photo courtesy of Kirby Araullo)

I couldn’t resist sketching more, as the Occupy UC Davis camp grew, so I came back today (Wednesday). As my sketchbook came out, the Chancellor arrived, bringing food to the protesters. I took the opportunity for some people sketching, and while she spoke to a small group of students, along with a set of news reporters, I sketched her. She got to see it, and I think she liked it (she did comment on the nose though) but she was pretty busy so I didn’t have her sign it. As I sketched, another student questioned her on a range of issues, so I sketched her too (she’s below left; Chancellor Katehi is below right).

at occupy uc davischancellor katehi of uc davis

One news reporter who I recognized from local TV, Chris riva, commented too on my Katehi drawing, so I asked if I could sketch him. I’m not sure he liked the sketch, but I had him sign his name on it. I’m glad I did; I thought he was Dale Schornack! (another local TV news guy) Whoops. He’s below left. Below right is someone who just happened to be there, Anna-Lisa from Chronicle Books. She saw me sketching in my Moleskines and, since she works for those who distribute Moleys, gave me the brand new Moleskine pen! I’m yet to use it (it’s apparently designed specifically for Moleskine paper, but doesn’t take a watercolour wash).
chris riva of kcra newsanna sandstrom of chronicle books

There were lots of people from outside UC Davis who had come along to see events take shape, and offer support and solidarity to the students. The protests are gathering in strength, and much-needed dialogue is finally taking place. I hope it all stays peaceful and productive.

good geezer

ebenezer ale

My wonderful wife picked up a nice beer for me to try (I like to try seasonal ales from around the west coast), “Ebenezer Ale” from Bridgeport in Portland. I have been to Bridgeport, with some of the Portland Urban sketchers, during last year’s Symposium (one of the nicest evenings I spent up there), so I knew thye have good beer (and good moules frites too). For once I didn’t draw this in the brown ‘beer bottle sketchbook’, but in my Moleskine instead. Now I can report that I’ve tried a few different ones lately, and this is one of the best. this and a couple of mince pies will make for a nice Chrimbo, methinks. No humbugs though.

but you didn’t take a peek in their artillery room

UC Davis protests (the day before the pepper spray incident)

You’ve probably heard about Friday’s events on the UC Davis campus. I sketched this on Thursday, at a demonstration that was beginning at the Quad, the latest in a series of Occupy-style protests on the UC Davis campus, aimed primarily at the university’s recent policy of massive tuition increases. The crowd, which was fairly sizeable but not huge, listened to speeches by students either directly affected or in support of the protest at the fee increases. I sketched quickly, but they moved on. It was all very peaceful. They moved across campus, and then returned to the Quad later on where some students pitched tents in occupation. The university authorities weren’t happy about that, and asked them to leave by Friday afternoon.

This is what happened next: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12XdQXvrdCo&feature=share (Aggie TV news report)

It has not gone unnoticed, shall we say. A demonstration is taking place right now where students are deciding what happens next. I can’t be there to sketch any of it, but I’m following it on the California Aggie’s Twitter feed. Friday’s video of the policeman deliberately pepper-spraying seated students is not something our campus can be proud of, and I have no idea the extent of the damage this will ultimately cause us, but I must say that I do feel quite enormously proud of our students right now.

get yourself together, and you’ll be alright

orange moped

I’ve seen this moped parked on campus quite often, and have been meaning to draw it for a long time. It’s that orange and white, it’s very cool. You don’t see many mopeds here. They always remind me of Europe. In fact when I lived in France there was a group of youths from the estate where I lived, in Aix, who would ride their mopeds up and down all morning, all evening, all night, not for any particular reason other than to make it impossible for me to have the windows open due to the incessant buzzing of the small engines. Ah, such memories, la vie est belle. I do love the moped though, and needed to draw something fun. I’ve been having a bit of a drawing ditch lately, not really been happy with the little I’ve been doing, mind’s been on the various art events and not having enough time in the world, so this bright and happy machine lifted me out of that. When I was almost done, the moped’s owner came to ride away. I showed her the drawing, and I think she liked it. I liked it too. More of the same, please.

art about at avid reader

ArtAbout 11-11-11, Avid Reader
ArtAbout 11-11-11, Avid Reader

11-11-11 art about event!Last Friday I took part in the downtown Davis ArtAbout, exhibiting my sketchbooks and many prints at the Avid Reader bookstore on 2nd St. It was an early evening event, and I was at the entrance of the bookstore. I had promised to do some live sketching, and I did a little. My sketchbooks were displayed for members of the public to flick through, and that was a lot of fun, seeing people looking through my moleskines, which is a very different experience to looking at the drawings online. I had several framed prints as well, which are on display for the rest of this month, however they are displayed on top of the very highest shelves, well out of the way of lines of sight, so you may need a periscope.

A lot of people came, and thank you to everyone who stopped by! I talked a LOT, about drawing, about sketchbooks, about pens. I can be quite quiet and shy, especially when sketching, but get me talking about moleskines or micron pens and I can rabbit for England. The setting was pleasant though, with local ukelele player Gary (who I’ve known since I worked at the bookstore years ago) playing very peaceful music in the background. People who came in were very friendly, and my wonderful wife Angela was there as support for me (assisted by my ‘can’t-sit-still’ three-year-old son!), thankfully she knows all my spiel! I’m so glad she was able to be there for the event.

ArtAbout 11-11-11, Avid Reader
ArtAbout 11-11-11, Avid Reader
Here I am showing my long Davis Moleskine. Someone asked if I would consider selling it, perhaps for public display, but to be honest I love playing with it. I am going to do another, no really, in a different book with colour and longer scenes, but that is a project for the new year I think.

The event was all done by 7:30, and we all went home exhausted. I was asleep by 9! That was fun; thanks to Alzada and the Avid Reader for arranging this and hosting me! I will of course be taking part in December’s ArtAbout as well, as I will be showing my exhibition of new urban sketches at the Pence Gallery. See you next time!

avid reader, avid sketcher

avid reader bookstore, davis

This is the Avid Reader bookstore on 2nd Street in Davis. I used to work here, as the bookkeeper, for a couple of years after I first moved to Davis. It’s a real community anchor, and holds lots of events such as author signings and book clubs, and tonight it will be where I will display my sketchbooks and prints as part of the 2nd Friday ArtAbout. I’ll be there between 5-ish and 7-ish, there will be refreshments, and I will even be drawing stuff as well. I drew this one lunchtime this week, and finished it off this morning (it’s 11-11-11, and I have a day off! Staying in, framing pictures, listening to history and football podcasts and oasis, emptying dishwasher, eating noodles – it’s cold out). Anyway, I hope to see you at the bookstore tonight! My prints will be up until December 6th.

11-11-11 art about event!

turn back time

hattie weber musuem of davis

I hadn’t drawn for two weeks!!! I’m not joking. It’s very unlike me. Oh, I’d scribbled endless scribbles on whatever piece of paper was in front of me, but no actual drawings, actual sketches, until I finally broke the hiatus on Sunday and cycled about looking for something to draw. Eventually chose the Hattie Weber Museuem of Davis, which I drew before on a sketchcrawl but didn’t like much. It was closed, so no big schoolbell outside (my son loves to ring it).

Drawn on 10×8 Strathmore hot-press with uni-ball vision micro and watercolour. The clocks had gone back the night before. Our clocks go back later than yours back in England. This year I was actually caught out – I didn’t know that my fancy alarm clock was one of ‘them’, that changes the time for me, meaning when I wake up and see that it says 7:55, I think, oh it’s really 6:55, when in fact it’s actually five minutes to Spurs v Fulham! Still that was worth getting up early for, and I still technically had a lie in. Confused? I was. Spurs got run ragged by Fulham, yet still managed to win 3-1. Seven wins in Eight now, with the other being a draw. Come on you Spurs!