froggy’s and footy

froggy's
This is Froggy’s. Last Saturday during the sketchcrawl I was hungry, so came in here for one of their amazing burgers. I don’t eat ‘burgers’ exactly, not being a red-meat-ivore, but here they will substitute the meat in any of their delicious burger with chicken or a gardenburger. I got a chicken jalapeno burger and let me tell you, it was really good. I ate, had a cold beer, sketched the bar and watched some of the footy. Confederations Cup, Brazil vs Italy on one screen, Mexico vs Japan on the other. Brazil won (you can make out Neymar on the screen there), but let me tell you, I was unhappy that Brazil wore white shorts with the yellow shirts instead of blue. Italy in all blue I don’t like either, but their odd all blue meant Brazil just didn’t look right. I am highly opinionated on football kits, as you may know. Yeah yeah, I know they wore white shorts vs Spain in 1978 and 1986, well that was wrong too. But this is more wrong because Italy v Brazil, man, 1970, Carlos Alberto, Jairzinho, Pele, 1994, Baggio, Romario, Cafuf, all of them guys. Anyway as I pondered this I sketched, and added Froggy’s (sketched beofre of course) to my ever growing collection of Davis bar drawings. Many of which I have put together into a handy guide below. This will make a nice poster. I have two or three more Davis bars to add (by the way, many below are the same bar, just different sketches) and then maybe I will have a poster. And a hangover, probably.
inside the bars of davis

drawing davis, last saturday

sketchers at davis amtrak station
A nice peaceful scene, sketchers sketching in the shade. Last Saturday, several of us Davis sketchers met at the Amtrak station for the latest ‘Let’s Draw Davis’ sketchcrawl, which was going to go along 2nd Street. It was a very nice meet up, with several new faces, some of whom I had met at my recent talk at the bookstore, and some highly proficient kids too – much faster and more detailed than me! One boy’s sketches reminded me of how I would draw when I was a kid, just going for it with confidence and speed, and that is something we urban sketchers all need to remember. I always have to remind myself, thinking takes up most of the time it takes to do a drawing, so better to think less and just trust yourself. Nevertheless, I still struggled a bit to get the sort of sketches of this station that I want, as evidenced by my next efforts, which do the job of saying where we are but don’t quite do what I was hoping:

davis amtrak station
I have always struggled sketching the Amtrak station. It’s those arches, they’re really hard to line up. It really is a lovely building, but I’ve never been able to do it justice. One thing I can sketch however are those metal pipe things that come out of the ground, backflow preventers. I love sketching those. However I chose to sketch this one, lodged in between the Hunt Boyer mansion and Mishka’s, right at the end of the day and so ran out of time. It was too hot out to finish (I went home with a headache and went straight to bed), but I like the unfinished look. I did do another sketch, while eating lunch, but I’ll post that separately, as thematically it looks different from all of these.

backflow next to mishkas

Many thanks to all who came, it was great to meet and sketch with you! One fellow sketcher it was particularly nice to see again was Robin Carlson, who I met at the Portland symposium back in 2010 (she coloured in one of my sketches at the first workshop there), nice to catch up.

Now hopefully we will have a July sketchcrawl in Davis though I’ll not be organizing it, but stay tuned. The worldwide sketchcrawl is on July 13, and there is a large gathering of urban sketchers happening in the San Francisco Bay Area that weekend which you may be interested in also. Me, I will be at an even larger gathering of urban sketchers in Barcelona

old white volvo

old volvo
This old Volvo was parked in downtown Davis last week, I’ve seen it about before but was able to sketch it this time. I sat in the shade on B St. I don’t know the model.

good food comes in trucks

fusion fresh cafe truck
This is a food truck on the UC Davis campus, ‘Fusion Fresh Cafe’, located by the Mondavi Center. Though it’s not far away I always forget about this place, and have only eaten here twice, but the food is very good. I like their chicken cheese-steak sandwich. There are some nice tables with shade beside it so I took the opportunity to sketch it. I love a food truck, or a food cart. Portland comes to mind. Here are some that I sketched up there: https://petescully.com/2012/11/19/pdx-foodcarts/

frankie and the fabletones

frankie & the fabletones 100th gig
On Wednesday after work, which was nice and mild and not at all hot (I wish it would stay like this!), I went to Central Park in Davis for the Wednesday Farmer’s Market / Picnic in the Park. I was off to see Man of Steel that evening (very good movie; should perhaps have been called ‘Man of Who’s-Going-To-Clear-Up-All-This-Mess’). Before then however I wanted to see the local band Frankie & the Fabletones, who were performing their 100th gig. They played a selection of popular oldies (I really liked their version of “Leader of the Pack”) and even had a guest spot from the Mayor of Davis Joe Krovoza, who sang an Al Green song, “Take Me to the River”. One of the group’s lead singers is well-known and much-loved local artist Heidi Bekebrede (if you’ve spent any time in Davis you will have seen her ceramic work), who was also celebrating her birthday the next day. I sketched near the front, where little kids were dancing (not in the picture), along with the lady I sketched with the castanets. I didn’t have space to sketch the whole band, but there were at least a couple more members (some other time!). My wife and son came along for a while; he liked the music, drew a couple of race tracks in his sketchbook and then went off to the bouncy houses. This whole sketch took under an hour start to finish. I forgot my little water jar (again) but thankfully my wife had a little purse-mirror thing & some water, I didn’t want to use the waterbrush again. I always feel I have to sketch quickly when watching bands, as you never know how long they will actually be on (or in a certain position) but thankfully they did let us know. And I LOVE sketching to live music, it really helps the rhythm.

how i sketched this bridge

I got a new camcorder, so I thought it would be fun to try it out by videoing a quick sketch in progress. Easier said than done of course! Here though is a quick demonstration on how I approach a sketch. I had to use the waterbrush (I prefer a regular brush and a little jar of water, but had forgotten it), and this being quite impromptu was rushed a little but, as Alan Partridge might say, you get the general idea. This is a bridge in the Arboretum. Once I’ve got the hang of this I’ll do a nicer video of me sketching a building or something. I can’t stand drawing foliage…

arboretum bridge

scanning life through the picture window

silo sketch
A quick ten-minute sketch from lunchtime at the Silo, UC Davis. Sometimes when you have little time its best to capture a scene as quickly as you can. Since its remodeling last year, the Silo has these nice comfy armchairs. I never use them myself as I like to eat at a table (I’m very messy otherwise), and prefer drawing from a table too if one exists, but for laptop users and book readers they are perfect and comfy. Sketched in red and black uniball signo um-151 pens.

flying over hamburgers

plane at hamburger patties
I went to Hamburger Patties, in midtown Sacramento, because I was hungry. I don’t eat hamburgers, so had never been in before, but thought they might have some nice chicken sandwiches, which they did. Inside I discovered this was a remarkable place for sketching. I could have sat at the bar for hours sketching the interior. I settled however for a quick sketch of a large model bi-plane that was hanging from the ceiling above me. The food came, and it was very tasty, and so I finished this and went to sketch The Beat (see a previous post). Must come back and sketch the bar some time.

captain america shoe

captain america shoe

While this isn’t in the chronologically-accurate-no-shoe-left-behind book of all my son’s shoes ever (each being a black and white pen drawing), this is his current shoe, drawn in the Stillman and Birn ‘Alpha’ book I am using to draw several of his things in full technicolor. This is his ‘Captain America’ shoe, by Stride-Rite, latest in a series of themed shoes which are great fun to draw. I waited for it to be worn in a little. Super-heroes are GO! in this house, and that is as much me as him, naturally. Marvel, DC, we love ’em. Pow!

the beat goes on

the beat, sacramento

This is The Beat, a beloved record store which for twenty years has lived on the corner of J and 17th Streets in midtown Sacramento. It was the existence of this record store, with its huge stock of new and used CDs (including stuff I hadn’t even seen in the UK), that first brought me to discover midtown Sac back in early 2007. I would go out there on weekend afternoons fairly regularly after that, sketching the very sketchable neighbourhood, popping into the Streets of London pub for beer and fish and chips, browsing comics at Big Brother, buying pens at the University Art Store. I don’t come out here very often these days (nor do I buy music much any more, maybe an album every six months or so from a band I already know) but when I do I always pop into The Beat and browse the racks. I spent a lot of my youth browsing the racks at London record stores – Loppylugs in Edgware, Notting Hill Record&Tape Exchange, HMV/Virgin/Our Price – most of which are either gone or dying breeds. Even Tower Records, which I always knew from its celebrated spot at the corner of Piccadilly Circus, is no more – Tower was in fact a Sacramento native, named for the Tower Theater next door to the original Land Park store, and when the chain closed the original is all that remained. The world does things differently now.
I went by again recently to sketch The Beat one last time, because at the end of June this record store is being forced to move, and I don’t yet know where it will end up. They aren’t going out of business, it’s just that the landlords gave them a 90 day notice to vacate now that their current lease is expiring. The property is owned by the same family, the Soehrens, that built the premises back in the 1920s and apparently have been pretty flexible in the past with rent reductions, but times are tough; they haven’t stated who the new tenants will be, but hopefully it will be one that gives the neighbourhood as much character as The Beat does. I hope they will be able to stay local, but I for one will miss them in this spot, since they’re usually my first destination when walking to midtown from downtown Sac.

Sketched on location on Canson Montval watercolour paper with a micron pigma pen and Cotman watercolours.

Also blogged at Urban Sketchers