sketching on a summer’s evening

davis farmers market: picnic in the park

This month’s Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl was a bit different, in that it was on a Wednesday evening, a hot summer evening. We met at Central Park for the Wednesday Farmer’s Market, “Picnic-in-the-Park”. There were a LOT of people out, and downtown Davis was bustling. I spent a good time sketching the panorama aboveThere weren’t many of us sketching, met some new faces, one who joined us was Terry Banderas (below in the red shirt), a local northern CA artist whose ink and watercolour sketches inspired me a lot when I was first doing these types of sketches and posting them online (and continues to do so), so it was great to finally meet him and chat with him. My son sketched with me for a while too, sketching hot-lava-breathing dragons (as you do) before hitting the bouncy houses with all the other local five-year-olds.

Let's Draw Davis

I was sketching in the Seawhite sketchbook, which I’m still getting used to. It’s not really the one for the paint that I’m used to laying on, but it’s nice to draw on. The sketchcrawl ended at De Vere’s Irish Pub; it was Davis Beer Week so it seemed appropriate. Here is yet another sketch of De Vere’s (and not my best). I tried a couple of beers, from 21st Amendment in San Francisco (and they weren’t cheap), “Amber Waves” and “Hell or High Watermelon”. Not bad!

de veres irish pub

‘ighgate

"Suicide Bridge", Archway

On my full last day in London, I took the tube down to Archway to meet my cousin Dawn for some sketching around Highgate. This was my old neighbourhood before we moved to the States., and I still love it around there. I used to live on Hornsey Lane, a few doors down from the bridge above, Archway Bridge. Of course, this bridge is better known as Suicide Bridge. Unfortunately, it’s a name more commonly earned than I realised before I lived up there. Dawn (who also lives nearby here) and I sketched beneath the bridge, beside the busy Archway Road, where the 134 bus charges down on its way into central London. Because I lived higher up Highgate Hill I would not come up this way much, so it was fun to come back and explore a bit more. We popped into one store full of second hand stuff and I saw (but did not get) a full set of Worzel Gummidge dvds. We grabbed a sandwich at Tescos (I love that about England, proper normal-size sandwiches everywhere, not the doorsteps you get over here) and sat opposute the Jackson Lane building, an arts centre not far from Highgate tube station.

Jackson's Lane, Highgate

We walked around inside there, and I picked up leaflets for events that of course I can never go to, but I’m always dreaming of us all living in Highgate again some day. It’s my favourite part of London, along with Crouch End. We walked further up to Ripping Yarns, an amazing antiquarian bookstore stacked to the brim with wonderful books. Hardly enough room inside to turn around. They specialize in old children’s books but also have lots of other books as well. We spent a lot of time in there, I was looking through many of the old annuals, Roy of the Rovers, the Beano, Topper, all those I used to have on my own shelves. I did pick up an interesting (and slightly quirky) little book, The Observer’s Guide to British Architecture; it’s quite hilarious in its description of Saxon building practices, dismissing them as “primitive”, “uneducated” “crude”, complaining that “they built their churches piecemeal like children playing with bricks”. It does give a comprehensive history of architectural methods with nice little illustrations so it’s a great find, plus it has that old old book smell.

We sat opposite the bookshop and sketched it, and then it was time to go. It was lovely spending time with Dawn and you should check out her incredible work on her Flickr site.

Ripping Yarns, Highgate

I had a few more things to do in London, no more sketching unfortunately (I bought an Ireland  football kit for my son), but this was the day that the Duchess of Cambridge was in labour so lots of people were hanging around waiting anxiously for the big news. I was already home packing my suitcases when the as-yet-unnamed heir to the throne was announced. The next day we flew back to America. I still have to post my Barcelona sketches; those are coming soon…

not something distant or unfound, but something real to me

Silo
This is the UC Davis Silo. Why am I telling you, you already know that of course. It’s where I occasionally eat lunch. It also reminds me a great deal of the Everton FC badge. I sketched it on the first page of the new Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook to see how it would hold up. Holds up pretty well, though being thinner paper I can’t go as mad with the watercolours as I usually do. I am having a break from the watercolour moleys, having filled 12 of them, and trying something else out. Nice for the pen, this paper is smoother. It was cheap too, at £4.50 from Cass Arts in London. There’s the rub – if I end up loving them I have to get them from London. It is a nice panoramic format though, slightly bigger dimensions than what I’m used to in a sketchbook, at A5 page size. I wasn’t able to get it all done in a lunchtime (what with eating and all) so I added the colour at home. Jury’s out on this book but it will be fun filling it up.

and all the pictures on the wall

university of beer panoramaTo round off all the pub drawings here is another panoramic I attempted last weekend at the University of Beer, on 3rd & F (Click on the image to see the bigger picture). This is one of the newer places in Davis and is a beer-geek’s dream; I have sketched it before from the far side of the bar (see image at the bottom of this post) but didn’t quite manage the two-page panorama, so I came back to sketch that far wall. As you can see, it is worth it. they have beer signs, both metal and mirrors, from all over the world (though mostly the US and Belgium). It was a very hot day and I was just not motivated for outside sketching, so I got a footy magazine (the Premier League is finally BACK! Hallebleedin’lujah!) and popped into the ‘UoB’. After about ten minutes looking through their extensive menu and studying the beer taps I opted for a Monty Python’s Holy Grail ale – I’ve never had one before, it was very nice, and made me want to put the movie on when I got home. One of the barman had an Arsenal hat on (backwards; I suggested it maybe should stay so) and we discussed the chances of our teams in this coming season (as you know, I’m Spurs all the way). I started sketching, and quickly realized there are many more details in this place than I knew; they now have loads of beertaps lining the ventilation pipes near the ceiling. To be honest it was nice to sketch some people – the three fellows to my left were sharing stories about Davis in the olden days, while further down the bar there were other conversations of varying degrees of volume; but on the whole this was a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon. One of the barstaff remembered me from the last time I sketched here (he is in fact in both sketches, so I had him sign the second one) and I spoke to him and one other about my favourite Belgian beers (Charles Quint and Fruit Defendu, if you’re ever wondering). I followed on from my Holy Grail ale with a really nice beer called Summer Solstice, by Anderson Valley, a creamy brown beer with a very caramel-like taste, and it was delicious. If Quality Street made beer, it would probably taste like this. I had their Winter Solstice beer here back in February and that too was incredible.

This week in fact is Davis Beer Week, a celebration of craft beers in Davis, and so if you’re in Davis you should pop by here, or de Vere’s or any of the other great beer spots in town. This has really become a beer-lovers town lately, and it’s not surprising – UC Davis has an excellent beer-science facility. People here really know their Chit.

I must point out – this sketch was done in a Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook I picked up in London. Smooth paper and takes a light wash, not as robust as the watercolour Moleskine but I’m looking forward to playing with it some more.

**Incidentally… you can buy a print of the University of Beer panorama above at my Society6 store (society6.com/PeteScully), just follow this link. There is free shipping worldwide until this Sunday (Aug 25).**

university of beer, davis

University of Beer as sketched in May 2013

and they sang him a song of times long gone

Angel Inn, Highgate
You would think I draw nothing but pubs. These two yellow-stained sketches are from a month ago in London, both sketched while out with my friends. The top one is the Angel Inn in Highgate, a lovely pub I have been to many times before. I especially like it on a cold wintery day, when you can escape the chill of the Highgate Hill and sit by the warm radiator with a pint and a paper (or in my case, a sketchbook). This was not the case during heatwave-era London, but it was just as fun, catching up with my friend and relaxing in the atmosphere. I drank a couple of English craft ales, though I forget what they were called.
John Snow, Soho

This one was sketched more centrally in Soho, on a Sunday evening which actually saw several pubs. We popped into this one (because one of my favourite pubs, The Ship on Wardour St, was closed for the night): the John Snow on Broadwick St, because it has fairly cheap and good beer and nice wooden interiors, though it was pretty empty. I also remembered after we’d been there for a while that this was the pub that gained notoriety a couple of years back when it threw out a gay couple because they kissed each other. Boo, this pub! I do know the pub is named after a very famous epidemiologist (and not the bastard son of Ned Stark, nor the Channel 4 newsreader whose cousin Peter is the guy with the Swingometer). These were the only London pub sketches I managed on this trip. Next time perhaps I will manage a big panorama!

davis beer shoppe

Davis Beer Shoppe
Little rest from the ongoing mountain of London/Barcelona sketch-posting, this is one from last week in Davis. I’m slowly checking off the beer-places in Davis, perhaps to make a sketched guide of them all, and this place is the Davis Beer Shoppe. It is an actual shop which has an incredible selection of beers from around the world, but the ‘tasting room’ bar is very popular, it’s a smallish seating area at the front of the store. I popped in on a lazy sunday afternoon and had a couple of Weihenstephaners (I went to that brewery in 2005, oldest in the world; I was interested in the word ‘Weihen-‘ at the time as I was writing an essay about it for my Germanic Philology course), and set about sketching the scene. In the top left, the Giants are on TV, as is the case in a good number of my bar sketches. This is in fact the final page of Watercolour Moleskine 12, though I haven’t yet finished posting the rest of the sketchbook so I won’t stand on ceremony, other than to say I’m taking a break from the Moleys for a bit, while I try some other sketchbooks out.

See that fellow at the bar? He’s wearing a Clint Dempsey USA shirt. Dempsey was just sold by Spurs to Seattle Sounders. Also, the USA national team currently have a twelve-game winning streak, which is mightily impressive. So as soon as I saw this guy I had to add him into the picture, as a nod of respec’.

let’s draw davis! a summer evening sketchcrawl

let's draw davis: august 21, 2013

Join us for another Sketchcrawl in Davis! This time in the evening…Wednesday August 21, at Picnic-in-the-Park (the Wednesday Farmer’s Market, Central Park). We’ll meet at 5:00pm by the Farmer’s Market entrance, sketch around the park (there will be a band and lots of other fun sketching opportunities), and then finish up at De Vere’s on E St at 8:30pm. It’s Davis Beer Week and so a bit of Drink’n’Draw in the pub afterwards can be had too (I believe 21st Ammendment will be taking over the taps at De Vere’s that evening). If you’re in Davis, perhaps I will see you there!

WHEN: Wednesday August 21

START: 5:00pm, Farmer’s Market (corner of C & 3rd)

FINISH: 8:30pm, De Vere’s Irish Pub, E St

sketching jack’s london, part 4: micro-sketchbook

sketching jack's london cover sm

sketching jack's london p1 smAt the ‘Sketching Jack’s London‘ sketchcrawl last month I gave every participant a small eight-page micro-sketchbook that I had made myself, only 3″x4″ big, to use to sketch London when they need to, with quick micro-sketches. The paper was either just regular Canson or Strathmore drawing paper (I had made it with whatever I had in the cupboard), bound in construction paper, and numbered – I got No. 1, and used it for some super-quick sketches, mostly of other sketchers later at the pub. I did finish the book though, and here are presented all of the very small pages…

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“Rebel Dry Cleaners” is a great name. I imagine Mon Mothma and Nien Numb and all the rest in there, running out the back when the stormtroopers walk past, etc.

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Urban Sketcher James Hobbs, who’s a really nice guy, I got see look through his excellent sketchbook. On the right is Joan who I was friends with at school and who went off to become an artist, she also came on last year’s London sketchcrawl whch was only the second time I’d seen her since we left school, so it was great to catch up.

sketching jack's london p6-7 sm

Dave from New Zealand on the left, I had met him in Barcelona so it was nice to chat with him again in London, and I always have to sketch a beard. Also, Denia, an artist friend of Joan’s who is from Greece and New York but lives in London.

sketching jack's london p8-9 sm

Finally Ana from Bilbao in the Basque Country, and on the red page is Roshan, my best friend who came down for the post-sketchcrawl drink. I’ve not sketched him much before so this was not a bad attempt!

And that is it! I do enjoy sketchcrawling in London, there really are so many interesting artists to meet and I really enjoyed this one. I already have another one in mind for next time…”Sketching Wren’s London“, from the Monument to the Old Bell, an exploration of the City of Christopher Wren…see you in 2014!

sketching jack’s london, part 3: the end

christ church spitalfields
The last sketch I did in my Moleskine (not counting the little ones done in my micro-sketchbook, whcih I will post next) was of course Christ Church Spitalfields. I couldn’t not sketch it. Built by Nicholas Hawksmoor in the English baroque style it was completed in 1729 (so definitely a big part of Jack’s London). I did have to rush through it a little though; the end was nigh, people were gathering, time to down pens and down pints, as it were. The ending group was rather different to the startning group; some earlier sketchers had to leave before the end, while we were joined by several after-work sketchers. It’s always like that even on a daytime sketchcrawl, and that’s the beauty of it, you can just sketch for as long as you like. This being July, the London evening was still light and still pretty warm, and the company was great. Here are some of the evening sketchers, gathering in Spitalfields…
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And here is the final group! In total, early group and late group combined we had about thurty-five people, and it was excellent meeting all of you! I asked not to do the ‘sketchbooks on the ground’ thing, preferring the showing each other our books individually, in a more personal manner. That whole thing of laying the books on the pavement means that both sketcher and observer are detached from the book, and the sketchbooks are, you know, on the floor. Much nicer to flick through them, and see them as they are.
Sketching Jack's London

And afterwards, a few of us headed over to the Ten Bells pub. This sketchcrawl was for sure a highlight of my trip and I really enjoyed meeting everybody. Good job folks! I don’t know if we found Jack the Ripper’s London, but it was great to explore the area through the eyes and sketchbooks of others.

Hey the next USk London sketchcrawl will be from the Tate to the Tate (organized by Nate – Nathan Brenville) THIS FRIDAY August 16. It’s also an afternoon-evening’ one, starting at Tate Modern and ending at Tate Britain in Pimlico (they’ve got a lovely gallery). If you’re in London, the information can be found here: http://urbansketchers-london.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/tate-to-tate-sketchcrawl-august-16th.html

Anyway, more a few more “Jack’s London” sketches still to come from me…

sketching jack’s london: part 2, aldgate east – brick lane

Aldgate East
After sketching the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, I walked down to Aldgate East, and stood opposite the magnificent building above the station, and the lovely Whitechapel Art Gallery. I didn’t have time to go inside, but I have been before, like twenty years ago. Traffic was heavy on the street, this being rush hour on the outskirts of the City. I thought I might spot some of the other sketchers on the ‘crawl, but I did not; everyone had already headed towards Spitalfields. I did bump into one other sketcher while sketching this.

Aldgate East
Then, up to Brick Lane. Brick Lane is more commonly thought of these days as the hangout of hipsters, but thankfully much of the street was still devoted to the greatest thing in Britain – curry. This is the heart of “Bangla Town” – there is a large Bengali and Bangladeshi community around here – and many street signs are doubled in Bengali. When I was studying up in Mile End in the late nineties I would come up here fairly regularly for a curry, and often to this very place, the Standard Balti House (as well as the Curry Bazaar, a few doors up, and also still there). I met with another urban sketcher, Isabelle Laliberte, and we sat on the street opposite sketching away at the old brick and colourful signage, while employees from each curry house tried to entice people in, as they’ve always done. And yet, I did not have a curry! Can you believe it? It was a hot day, and I just wasn’t feeling hungry. I come thousands of miles to get to Brick Lane, and I end up not fancying a curry. Something is wrong with me! Maybe next time, when it’s cold outside…

Brick Lane

More Jack’s London sketches and photos to come…