that cinqo feeling

garden ornament

Yesterday was Cinqo de Mayo (Happy Cinqo de Mayo!), being May the 5th. We were in Santa Rosa, and went to a garden party at my mother-in-law’s house. I took the opportunity to sketch, to practise my garden sketching before today’s Garden Tour, and to try out the Stillman & Birn Delta series book. Nice paper! Being thicker and great for watercolours. I may still have the same issues with the pens ultimately of course but this felt pretty nice, so I’m going to bring that with me today. I only got as far as this garden ornament, and I started a larger piece showing the whole garden but gave up early, and went for a beer. Met a nice bloke originally from Glasgow.

pence gallery garden tour

This Sunday, the Pence Gallery in Davis is organizing the 21st annual Garden Tour, in which people can visit eight artistic private gardens in Davis. In each garden there will also be a local artist, painting or drawing away, and I am honoured to be one of those artists. I will be drawing pictures in a garden on 8th street. The other artists are Andrew Dorn, Debbie Gualco, Deborah Hill, Milton Kalish, Michael Mikolon, Patris, Marti Walker and Beth Winfield. tickets are $28 on the day ($20 for Pence members). The paintings made and drawings drawn will later be displayed for sale at the Pence. It should be fun! (If my allergies dont make me sneeze all afternoon…)
For more information, please visit:

having a dig

digger at uc davis
Another lunchtime sketch; taking a risk with my allergies flaring up like 70’s trousers, so kept it quick, a drawing of a digger outside work. I used the hi-tec c in the stillman & birn gamma book. The workmen came along as I was getting near the end, and were kind enough to let me finish before driving the digger away.

it’s not big but it is kleiber

kleiber hall, uc davis

Another lunchtime sketch, braving the pollen (allergies are really bad this week) but more importantly, braving the squirrel. I sat beneath a tree besides the bike racks to draw Kleiber Hall (or half of it; I must master that trick of turning the page sideways to fit more in) when along came a squirrel. Nothing unusual about that, but this one seemed, I don’t know, determined. I thought it might be after my mint M&Ms (which are, I must confess, bloody amazing), but it wasn’t aftre food. It kept creeping right up to me from every angle, a look of indignance and annoyance on its face, like an Englishman who has been rudely queue-jumped but won’t actually say anything. No amount of shooing, chasing, stamping my feet, making vague threats was going to get this squirrel away. I was worried it might have rabies, except it was obviously competely sane, even if I appeared not to be. This furry thing was fearless. It took me a while to realise it was just territorial and that it owned the tree I was sat near (it had a Monopoly card to prove it, and I think the rent included nuts), so despite informing this squirrel about my rights to sit and sketch beneath any public tree I damn well please, I gave in and moved to the shade of a different tree. The squirrel, all pleased with himself, immediately leapt into his tree and sat on a branch like a little lord. Like he couldn’t have done that anyway!!

Next time I’ll draw the squirrel. If I’m brave enough.

having a mayor

ken and boris

Ken and Boris (and some other people) are the choices today for the London Mayoral election. I’m for Ken, personally, not ‘he of the unbrushable hair’. I wish I were there to vote, but I missed the first one in 2000 (living in Belgium), missed the second one in 2004 (off visiting France), missed 2008 (moved to California), and obviously I’ll miss this one too. But I still care who runs my home city! Boris could at least offer to shave his head if he wins. So to mark election day I drew them in my Stillman and Birn book in a pilot hi-tec C, a quick lunchtime sketch when I couldn’t leave the office due to the high pollen count. Ok here’s the inevitable pun, I’m hoping Boris gets a low polling count and has to leave office.