ce n’est pas facile d’être bleu

chimay bleu
Chimay Bleu, a very popular Trappist beer in Belgium. When I spent a year there I  only had it the once, it wasn’t really my thing, very dark, but the Charleroi locals loved it, king of the Trappists. I like the glass, and brought my Chimay glass with me to America, it’s nice to eat ice cream or trifle out of. Anyway, my wife got me one recently so I had it tonight while watching the telly, and of course I had to draw it in the brown paper beer book.

it’s not easy being blue

andre villas-boas

You have to laugh at Chelsea. It would be easy to say their managerial office has a revolving door, but it’s more like a revolving cashpoint. It reminds me of the Crystal Maze, that bit at the end where you are in that air cupboard and have a minute to grab as many bits of rapidly flying silvery paper as possible before your time is up. Actually it’s not like that in the slightest but I like the image. Longer serving managers like Ferguson, Wenger, Moyes (that’s it, by the way) must look at Chelsea in the same way that oak trees look at human beings, with their fleeting brief lifespans, but still strong enough to cut them down from time to time. The fabulous wealth that their Russian owner brought them means that instant success is an absolute (which basically means winning every trophy in your first couple of weeks or you’re fired). Even Ancelotti, who won them their second double, was booted out less than a year later. The double used to be really really hard to win, and double-winning managers were revered for decades later (Nicholson, Mee, Dalglish). Now it’s like, well you couldn’t even win the Champion’s League too? You’re useless! All of which hiring and firing becomes very expensive for Chelsea. This is Andres Villas-Boas, who lasted about two thirds of a season. He’s only 34, look at him. He was a manager for one year before coming to Chelsea, winning a load of stuff at Porto before shifting to the Bridge for a ton of Siberian cash. Now he’s out the door also with a ton of cash, and while part of me feels bad for the guy – he’s young, still learning, and needed to be given time to change that aging cliquey team around – but really I think he’s not been harmed too much by this whole affair, he has full pockets now, and when even top-drawer managers with very successful careers can get axed at Chelsea (Ancelotti, Mourinho, Scolari) it doesn’t hurt his reputation as much as you’d think. Andre, I hope you to either a smaller club, or even back to Portugal, and spend a few years really working on a project, making it successful, building up a bank of respect and a catalogue of trophies, and then when Chelsea, many more managers and revolving doors and millions of pounds and failed players down the line, will look back up at you and shout “save us!” you will whisper, “no…”

bridge over the creek

arboretum bridge

It’s so windy here in Davis! This morning I was getting blown off my bike, so I gave up. Yesterday was even worse, but I really wanted to sketch at lunchtime, so I popped into the Arboretum and did a quick one of this bridge, using that calligraphy pen. It was so windy I thought I’d end up in the Creek! I’ve decided I really don’t like the wind.

Hey speaking of the Arboretum…don’t forget, this Sunday, sketchcrawl in the Arboretum, meet at 11am at Wyatt Deck. Let’s sketch some greenery! And the redbuds are blooming now…

you’re mitt, and you know you are

mitt romney

Yesterday was Super Tuesday. I’m not sure why it was so Super, it didn’t exactly fly by. A really Super Tuesday would be one where the next day turns out to be Saturday or something. That is the epithet they give to the day when lots of presidential primaries – in this case, for the Republican candidate – happen at once, therefore making the eventual nominee appear that little bit more clearly. The eventual nominee (Mitt Romney, above) has not emerged very clearly as the eventual nominee (though he will be), with the race still very much open for Rick Santorum (yeah it won’t be him) and Newt Gingrich (no, no it won’t be him either). Ron Paul is still in it too, apparently, though he really looks like Magneto. Personally I think they’re all nuts, and not very Super. Less-than-Fantastic Four? Mitt has a bit of Reed Richards going on with those grey bits, and he’s certainly the most elastic of all of them. Santorum I suppose could be the Preacher (except Jesse Custer is the epitome of cool while Santorum is clearly off his trolley). Newt, well he already sounds like a sinister twisted mutant super-villain (not his name Newt, just his, you know, personality and politics).

So it’s going to be Mitt Romney, isn’t it. At least we can look forward to such headlines as “Romney You Plonker” (well, maybe in the English papers). Now seemed to be the best time to draw Romney though, if only to capture that hair, because after November I would either have to wait another four years for him to run again, or he’ll get elected President and be completely grey by June.

HB Pencil in the Stillman and Birn gamma sketchbook.

the forgotten pump house

grain silo south davis

Down by the Putah Creek bike path in south Davis sits an old pump house (or perhaps it is a barn for really tall horses), which in six and a half years of living here (wow! that long?) I have never drawn. Until now. It reminds me a little bit of the Shrieking Shack. I needed some fresh air after spending all day in with a sore throat, and the weather outside was warm and spring-like. This is nearby where I live. It is a peaceful spot, a nice place for a Sunday stroll. Next to here is the Woodbridge nature area, home to all sorts of birds and bats and bugs. There are a lot of bugs out right now, biting away. This was drawn in my gamma Stillman & Birn book, with the brown-black uniball signo pen.

at the corner of third and e

3rd and E, Davis

The trees are starting to bud already, so to draw the buildings in Davis while you can actually see them, you gotta be quick. This builidng, on the corner of 3rd and E Streets in Davis, is home to several things (Davis Chamber of Commerce, a family dentist’s, a bicycling clothes store), in the heart of the downtown. It sits directly opposite that other house at 3rd & E which I drew before. I was commissioned to draw it by the owners of the building (I hope they like it!). I started it last Saturday, the day after my talk at the bookstore, and there were a fair few people who stopped to say hello while I drew, sat on my little sketching stool by the lamp-post. The sun was getting in my eyes though (I didn’t bring my hat), so aftre doing a great deal of the linework (including those pesky trees) I gave up and took it home to finish, which I finally got around to doing a couple of days ago.

Let me tell you, the weather we are having these days feels more like May or June than February or March. That is, May or June where I’m from, not the century-hitting ones you get here. It’s warm and very pleasant, more so than usual for the time of year. Nice for being outside drawing…though beware, Davis sketchers, for pollen is in the air, and the season of the sneezing is soon to be upon us…

you make me dizzy miss lizzy

old car, davis, 3rd st

I really needed a haircut. You know how it is, your hair is fine, just the right length, then one day all of a sudden it’s way too long, and you’re like Yahoo Serious or someone. I’m someone who needs his hair short. So I finally made it to the barber’s downtown, and there were about five people ahead of me, so I took that opportunity to go and sketch something. There was an interesting old car parked out on 3rd Street, so obviously that’s where I went. I stood in the shade outside the former Blockbuster Video and drew in my Stillman & Birn gamma series book. I was about halfway through, when the driver came and drove it away.I finished it off at home.  I didn’t even get to see what make of car it is; can you guess for me?

Let’s Draw the Arboretum! Sunday, March 11

let's draw davis, march 11, 2012

It’s time for another sketchcrawl in the lovely city of Davis. This time around we will sketch at the UC Davis Arboretum, which I must say is lovely at this time of year. Might be a good idea to bring a packed lunch though. We’ll start at 11 at the Wyatt Deck, on the east bank of Lake Spafford (or is it the south bank? The one on the freeway side…), and sketch as you wish around the Arboretum, before reconvening at 3:00pm back at Wyatt Deck to check out each other’s sketchbooks.

DATE: Sunday, March 11, 2012

START:11:00am, Wyatt Deck (east bank of Lake Spafford)

FINISH:3:00pm, Wyatt Deck

As always the sketchcrawl is free an open to everybody who has an interest in drawing. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on. There is parking nearby at the UC Davis Mondavi Center for those with cars. For a nice pdf map of the Arboretum, please go to: http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/documents/visitor_map.pdf

Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/239244632836918/

Hope to see you there! If you need any information please let me know by commenting below.

base of the enterprise

davis enterprise building

This is the Davis Enterprise building on G Street. The Enterprise is our local newspaper. I heard a dicky bird say that this building was going to be knocked down; whether that’s the case or not, I figured it was time to sketch it. I took myself down there on my lunchtime a couple of days ago and started scratching away with a pen which was trying to tell me, “I don’t like this paper!” but I was like, “you’ll like it and do as you’re told,” but the pen knew best. It knew that after the fairly simple buildings to the left and middle, I’d have to somehow tackle the one on the right, which I have avoided for years because of the horrible repeated concrete pattern of those blocks. Maybe I should draw a close up. This sketch says enough though.