While I’ll be posting the remaining set of NaNoDrawMo pieces altogether shortly, I thought you might like to see #50, the final one. It’s a self-portrait, although admittedly a few years have passed between the photo being taken and the drawing being drawn. I have had a haircut since then, and wear glasses, and I’m sure those dungarees don’t fit any more. No this is me aged about three, demonstrating why I keep my hair short (so as not to look like a diagram of the Atlantic Summer Hurricane Season). Hair is a bright red, eyes a bright blue, cheeks a bright pink; nothing’s changed there! I’m still as sweet. I still remember this face though, having to stand on the chair to see it in the mirror. This face makes me think of the Mr.Men theme music, by far my favourite show when I was a little one. Drawn in uniball signo um-151 pen (two sizes, 0.28 and 0.38) in a big Moleskine.
Big rain storms rolled into California today. Late November can be a very colourful time of year, when the trees are bright yellow, fiery orange, deep reds, and leaves flutter down on every breeze. When the storms come it blows everything around, meaning what would otherwise be a grey and dismal day was in fact a beautiful, I mean really beautiful stormy morning. I walked to a meeting mid-morning, and could have walked on all day in the rain. The ground was covered in bright leaves, like a dusting of golden snow. I don’t have a window in my office so I can’t gaze dreamily out at the rain (I have to draw a picture of it on my whiteboard), but I can hear it on the skylight, tap-tap-tap, and by lunchtime it was pounding. I couldn’t wait to get back out, find a sheltered spot, and draw the colourful storm while it lasted. I listened to a history podcast about England’s medieval conquest of Wales and drew in the Moleskine. It’s funny, whenever it rains here people are often, oh no, rain, I don’t want to get my raincoat slightly wet in the brief dash from my car to Target, whereas I’m like, oh it’s just a bit of rain, grrr. So I scribbled down this cartoon in my notepad this afternoon. Thought you might like it.
I can’t get enough. I’m not obsessed or anything. Here is the UC Davis Boiler Building again, still in the same state of deconstruction as in the previous two sketches. It’s looking so sad and beaten, yet triumphant as well, as though it’s saying, come on, do your worst. Another demolition machine has lined up beside it now, like a warrior preparing for more hyperbole. I drew it from the back this time, another angle, in fact the same angle as I drew it from in August, this one here:
It was sunny today, too. I just didn’t show you the blue sky. It just didn’t seem appropriate.
Well, Thanksgiving is over, Black Friday is done with, and houses are starting to deck themselves out in glitz, lights and those spangly reindeer things people like putting in their yards. Christmas is a-coming in. So why not pop over to my Etsy store? I love Etsy, and it’s nice to occasionally sell some art on there myself. I have a modest selection of very nice prints and original drawings still available…
For example, you could get a lovely print of my ‘train’ drawing…
Or maybe an original drawing of Old City Hall in Davis?
Perhaps you like birds…how about a beautiful original drawing of some birdhouses?
Or decorate your wall with a spiffing colourful 10″ x 20″ panorama print of the Davis Art Center?
There’s more stuff on there, so please pop by and check it out. Pretty please.
Ok, ’nuff said, back to the sketching…
Ploughing on with the NaNoDrawMo series… I am actually almost done, but still a few more quick writing exercises to do, and of course the scanning. In this one, a spray bottle, a scrubbing brush, my sunglasses, my son’s AT-ST (aka “Star Wars Lego Garbage Truck”), a souvenir Eiffel Tower, a toy Magneto, a tin of pumpkin pie mix, aaaand… a Hoegaarden Grand Cru glass, which followed me all the way from Belgium over a decade ago. More NaNos to come…
No, this isn’t my bedroom when I was a teenager, this is another view of the old Boiler Building on the UC Davis campus, currently under demolition. It’s the same gaping hole I drew the day before, but I wanted another angle so at lunchtime yesterday I pottered over and sketched away. Sometimes destruction can be beautiful. You can make out the silhouettes of big metal pipes inside the building still, though it looks like the scene of an escaped dinosaur disaster. I can imagine KCRA 3 news now, “Alert on the UC Davis campus as a nine ton T-Rex escaped from the old Boiler Building yesterday, police are conducting a thorough search but have been warned not to use pepper-spray,” or something. That probably is how they would report it, after the weather, and after the traffic reports, which as you know on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is all people care about, the ‘Busiest Travel Day of the Year’. “More on that escaped Tyrannosaur later, now back to Richard on I-80”, “Thanks Kelly, well the traffic has been backed up for hours here, and, oh wait is that a T-Rex? We’re getting confirmed reports from LiveCopter 3 that a big rig has been overturned on I-80 by a dinosaur, well at least traffic will start moving a bit faster…”
And back to the imagination. Happy Thanksgiving folks. I hear T-Rex tastes like turkey (a species which roams freely on the streets of Davis) so if you catch one, there’s meat for everybody.
And so, demolition has finally come. I have drawn the old Boiler Building on the UC Davis campus several times now over the past few years, with a little more frequency since I knew for certain it was being pulled down. After much waiting, the mechanical monsters have moved in, pulling down the two smaller buildings to the side, and now a large gaping hole has appeared in the main Boiler Building itself. It’s days are numbered. It will make way for a new Recital Hall, as the sign says, which I’m sure will look very snazzy. I will keep sketching this historic old beast until it is a pile of rubble, and then chart the new building as it rises from the, ok I’ll stop with the hyperbole. Buildings rise and fall all the time, like the great Empires of old…
Sketched with brown uniball signo um-151 in the watercolour Moleskine. I listened to a History of England podcast while I sketched, which was actually mostly about medieval Wales, on the eve of the wars with Edward I. Kind of fitting.
Food glorious food. Ok, this is the last of the Portland sketches that you are getting. That was one productive little trip. One thing I must point out is that I hardly ever ate indoors. Despite the rain, I only wanted to eat from the many delicious food carts that dot the city so liberally. Now along with the rule about going to Portland and sketching bridges, it’s also true that no visit to PDX is complete without sketching food carts. The first evening i was there I headed to the large collectio of carts downtown over at SW Alder. Most were closed, it being dark and damp, but I got an absolutely amazing red curry dish from a popular looking place called “I Like Thai Food” (and I do like Thai food, for sure). It was a pretty massive box of yummy food, and only cost $5. I sat on a bench near Powell’s to eat it, savouring every massive spicy bite. I cam back a few days later, on a sunny autumnal Monday, and sketched it alongside a few other carts, before getting another $5 red curry from a different cart around the corner (called Grandma’s Thai or something), just to compare. That too was delicious, but I think ‘I Like Thai food’ was a fair bit better. There were so many carts to choose from, though, such as the Flying Scotsman (fish and chips, yes, but also deep-fried Mars bars – I was too full to indulge, but next time, next time…).
On the Sunday I was exploring Hawthorne in the rain, food carts were a constant topographical feature. There is a small gaggle of them located around 12th and Hawthorne, including Potato Champion, who specialize in sauce-drowned Belgian frites (always a winner with the Scully tastebuds), and I got a decent poutine, and sketched as best as I could (there was shelter from the rain, but that morning’s mild hangover was still being nursed). I do think that if we lived in Portland, we would very likely eat from food carts about 75% of the time we ate anything, so abundant and varied are they. I am sure many of them are not very good, too, in fact I had one wrap type thing at a cart in the Saturday Market that was very unimpressive, to the point I cannot remember anything about it or even what style of food it was (it must have had some memory-wiping drug in it or something), but on the whole the Portland food cart experience was extremely promising. I know many urban sketchers like to go inside and warm up to eat and linger around a table, but for me food carts are the ultimate urban sketcher’s friend, because you get to stay outside, eat and just carry on drawing.
If you want to know more about the food carts in Portland, this is a good website: http://www.foodcartsportland.com/.
Here’s a sketch I did one lunchtime this week, of the old phone box and Mustard seed restaurant in downtown Davis. There’s no phone in the phone box, it’s just a bit of anglophile decoration. They lock the door now, which is a shame, as me and my young son always used to stop by and pretend it was a rocket ship, and we would go inside and fly off to Saturn, and maybe stop off on the asteroid belt, before coming back to Davis again. It’s good to get off the planet, every now and then.
I sketched this in the watercolour Moleskine (#11) with that uniball signo um-151 brown pen I love so much.