i get a funny feeling inside of me…

Returning to London is always fun, but busy! I’ve done a little sketching in my small quick book, but no big meaty drawings as yet – Moleskine #10 is open and raring to go! Although today, Paris is on the horizon, for a couple of days. However if you are the sketching type, and want to draw some London with me, then join us this Saturday, May 26 at 10:30am for a day of drawing around the Temple and Fleet Street areas. Anyone can join in, it’s free and all you need is something to draw with and something to draw on. We’ll sketch all day, before meeting up at 4:00pm at Gough Square to look at each other’s sketchbooks. And then perhaps a pint and some sketching talk at the Old Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street. And they say it will be warm! A mini-heatwave! I left my cabana hat in California…

Lets Draw London!

(PS there is no Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl this month – back in June)

there will be blood orange

san pellegrino blood orange

Oh man this stuff is good. I’ve  liked San Pellegrino orange drinks for a while now, since discovering cans of it at Zia’s deli in Davis, but this new flavour, blood orange, is the business. I found it at the Davis Co-Op. I feel like Dracula. I drew this in my new sketch/notebook, the Miquelrius ‘Lapin’ book – the cover is illustrated by Barcelona-based French illustrator and fellow Urban Sketcher (and top bloke) Lapin, and it goes with the Lapin pencil case I have, both bought at the UC Davis bookstore, where I also bought my Paul Wang (Singapore based artist and fellow Urban Sketcher and also a top bloke) Moleskine, which I’m using a lot as my ‘big ideas’ book. I’m having lots of big ideas lately, but all just in idea form. Must be all the blood orange.

down at the bottom of the garden

fisherboy statue

Here are the last ones from the Garden Tour last week. Just to clarify I didn’t do any actual touring, I was in the one garden all day. The first thing I was attracted to was the row of birdhouses, and below was a little statue of a fisherboy. He didn’t mind me drawing him, and stayed still the entire time. This was a very peaceful part of the garden, though at one point I was distracted by a massive bee the size of a small bird who had no interest in me, but I kept my distance all the same. I’m very pro-bee (but rather anti-wasp) and wish they weren’t disappearing at the rate that they are, because they basically help keep us in existence. This thing was like the Mountain that Buzzes. I spent a bit more time looking around at the various yard ornaments and garden furniture, sketching them below on one page. Along the lawn where metal silhouettes of fairies, reminding me of the Cottingley fairies. Sketching that garden was fun.

garden objects

the bar at the end of the sketchbook

sophia's bar, davis

The last page of moleskine #9!

This is the bar of Sophia’s Thai kitchen in Davis, where I went on Friday evening for a couple of beers and a bit of sketching. Actually I was going to see The Avengers, but the lines were so long – a lot of people really wanted to see it too apparently. I missed the 7:30 show, all tickets sold by the time i reached the front of the line (at 7:45) so chose the 10pm show, and came over here to pass the time. Good way to pass the time, on a hot evening. I’ve never spent time inside here, sketched on the deck a couple of times but not in the bar. It’s nice! I sketched this by washing the page in warm watercolours, plus a little bit of splattered paint while it was wet, and then drawing over it in uni-ball signo pen, with white gel pen for the highlights. This was a really fun one to draw, and after a testing week, drawing this put me in a good mood.

And the Avengers was a lot of fun too! I want to go and watch ‘Thor’ and ‘Captain America’ again now though. And fight bad guys.

all you need is music, sweet music

Jenny Lynn & Her Real Gone Daddies
On Wednesday, after all the various rehearsals, it was time for the Dance Dance Davis flashmob.  It was hot low 90s weather, Picnic in the Park was in full swing, alongside the Farmer’s Market, and Jenny Lynn and her Real gone Daddies were providing upbeat 1950s rockabilly music. I stood to draw them (above) as the crowd of people on the green in front of them grew bigger and bigger… at 6:15pm, Jenny asked if everyone was ready to Dance Dance Davis, and then started their “Bang Bang” song, as a couple of hundred people fell onto their backs and started doing an upside down bike ride dance, before launching into the main routine itself. Over the space of about three minutes I tried to capture the crowd below; not easy!! It was quite the spectacle, and even though I think many of the non-dancers were expecting it, it was fun watching the surprise on the faces of those who were not. 
DanceDanceDavis 5-9-12

Here are a couple of good videos of the event:

I See Davis: “Surprise for Davis”  (see if you can spot me sketching)

Davis Enterprise: “Dance Dance Davis Flash Mob”

Well done to Shelly Gilbride and Public Dance Acts for realizing this event! It was fun to sketch.

uncage the colours, unfurl the flag

garden with red bridge

Here is another of the drawings I did for the Garden Tour last week. There were already two other artists in the garden painting this part of it, so I joined them after a while to draw this colourful section. The garden I was in at the home of a well travelled lady – Ms. Gilardi – originally from Middlesex, which was nice, as so am I. The little red bridge had been freshly painted, and the pond had a fake bird next to it, presumably to ward off real birds who may try to swipe the fish. I don’t really know my plants – I can tell a daffodil from a cactus but that’s about it – but there were lots of many different plants. Ms. Gilardi has only lived there for five years, but in that time has produced an incredible garden. Along the outside fence is a row of gaily painted bicycles, one of which I had drawn before (this one, back in January). Most visible, and popular among local Davisites, is her tall flagpole, which sports a different flag each day. She keeps all of her flags hanging on hooks beside her house, diligently labelled. On this day the flag was of particualr meaning to her, being of the place where her family originally came. Can you guess the flag? (I’ve always wanted to go there!)

I drew this on the Strathmore hor press watercolour paper, with a pigma micron and watercolours.

for the birds

birdhouse

Last Sunday, I took part in the Pence Gallery’s annual ‘Garden Tour’, as one of the artists placed into one of the artistic gardens to make art while people looked at all the interesting garden features. The garden I was in was a particularly interesting garden – many very interesting plants (including an actual banana tree!), but also lots of architectural features that begged to be sketched. This one was my favourite, however, the wooden birdhouse. I actually sketched it twice (and will probably draw it a third time for good measure!).

I hope this terrace of bird houses is well used by our local feathered friends. I have noticed since moving to north Davis that there are different birds up here than in our neck of south Davis (which by the way was the only place in Davis where I’ve seen pigeons, hiding away). I’m not a bird watcher; I can tell a magpie from a pelican, but that’s about it. I know someone in Davis who is though, Pica over at Bird by Bird, check out her excellent (and mighty quick) bird sketches. I do like bird houses; when I was a kid we had one on a big pole in our garden that my grandad had made, but it had long been overtaken by wasps. Bloody wasps. Speaking of bird houses, you may be interested in seeing/buying one of these lovely hand-made unique wooden bird houses designed and built by my cousin Dawn. I was reminded of her when I was drawing this. Check out her other delicious work available on her Etsy store, ‘London Clay Birds’.

This was my last drawing of the day, I’ll post the rest of my drawings soon. It took about half an hour, and I drew it in uniball signo um-151 brown-black pen on the Stillman & Birn ‘delta’ paper. That is nice paper, very thick, sturdy.

“are you ready to dance dance davis?”

If you’re in downtown Davis tomorrow at about 6:15pm, keep a look out – there will be dancers!
Dance Dance Davis final rehearsal
“Dance Dance Davis”, a community based dance project led by Shelly Gilbride, will take place as a flashmob, a very large flashmob, tomorrow May 9th at 6:15pm, somewhere in downtown Davis. Shelly, who is coordinating the project with her own PDA: Public Dance Acts along with the UC Davis Institute for Exploration in Theater, Dance and Performance, invited me to document the event with some sketches, and so this past week I attended a couple of rehearsals with sketchbooks in hand, and though I wasn’t dancing myself, wow what a workout! DanceDanceDavis rehearsal
The first one I attended was at the Davis Art Center (now only five minutes from my house!). Most of those in attendance had no experience of dancing, but had plenty of enthusiasm. Shelly eased them into it painlessly with some simple warm-ups, before moving into the pre-prepared dance choreography. Now when I say pre-prepared, this is the fun part – every single move was ‘crowd-sourced’, that is, not just inspired by but actually created by the people of Davis. Going around town, Shelly would stop people and ask them to strike a pose, a gesture, perhaps one that reminded them of Davis. Each was noted and woven together, and as she taught the attendees at rehearsal she reminded them, this dance is written by the people of Davis, by youDanceDanceDavis rehearsalDanceDanceDavis rehearsal
Everybody was made to feel comfortable, to feel part of something. This is exactly what I like to see in community based art projects – dance is not only the realm of your Barishnikovs and your Swan Lakes, it’s something everyone can have fun with. Like I say, I wasn’t dancing because I was sketching, but with all that energy around me I was as good as dancing. Using the smoother paper of my large Moleskine (the ‘Paul Wang’ one, my ‘big ideas’ book) I let my pens do the dancing and sketched as quickly as I could. I am used to things standing still (fire hydrants, etc) so it was nice to let myself go. 

Dance Dance Davis final rehearsalDance Dance Davis final rehearsal
The final rehearsal was on Monday evening at the Mondavi Center. There must have been 200 people there, dancers of all ages from the quite young to the nearly old. There were cupcakes and cookies and this time the band, Jenny Lynn and her Real Gone Daddies, who played live. One young girl said to them, “you sound just like the CD!” The song they play for the dance piece is upbeat, bouncy, and very catchy, I could draw to it all day.Dance Dance Davis final rehearsal
The rehearsal went quickly, and abounded with enthusiasm. Perhaps some will feel nervous when dancing at the flashmob around unsuspecting members of the public, but with so many others doing the same I wouldn’t be surprised if people just started joining in. The flashmob location was revealed (I think a lot of people had guessed it), and everyone went home, to reconvene at that ‘secret location’ by 6:15 on Wednesday…
Dance Dance Davis final rehearsal

“Dancers getting in step for flashmob” (Davis Enterprise)

PDA: Public Dance Acts (Facebook)

russian river brewing co

russian river brewing co, santa rosa
On Saturday we popped into the Russian River Brewing Co in Santa Rosa. I drank a couple of Perditions, while my wife’s father, visiting from southern CA, tried the full sampler set. Their beer is very famous and very well respected among beer afficionados. We spoke to some fellow beerophiles visiting all the way from Michigan, and I drew this on the astrology page of a local free paper.