bright green boots

diadora boot
My son’s first football boots. Or as they say here, ‘soccer shoes’. No, no they say ‘cleats’. It took me years to work out what ‘cleats’ meant. They are the studs. Anyway, my son has finally started playing football (soccer, cleatball, or whatever) and he loves it. These are his new (and very green) diadora boots, sketched in the S&B Alpha book.

Me, I am the referee. Refereeing under-six, three-a-side was very nerve-racking. I had my first game, twenty-minutes long, in which it actually rained (our first rain in months and months). It went ok. I need a stopwatch!

Football boots are so bright and colourful these days. When I was a kid they were all black, with a white logo (usually white; Roy of the Rovers I remember had a yellow Nike logo at some point). Then there’s the old brown leather boots; I think of that other strip in Roy, “Billy’s Boots”, with those ancient and possibly magical boots. (Good idea for a comic strip, “Pete’s Cleats”…) Speaking of Roy, I should go back and find all the old “You are the Ref” strips, though of course they have those in the Guardian now. Maybe I’ll learn something…

Advertisements

1956 mercury montclair

1956 mercury montclair
The other evening, after dinner, I cycled down to the Marketplace parking lot in north Davis (that cultural hotbed) where there was a meeting of classic automobile enthusiasts. By that I mean that the automobiles were classic, not that the enthusiasts were classic, though they probably were, I don’t know about how to judge an enthusiast’s classic status. The ones I met were very nice. Anyway the sun was already going down and so I didn’t have a great deal of time to choose a car to sketch, but this beauty stood out above all the others. Now some of the cars were spectacular beasts, and some were, to be fair, verging on the old banger. This fine automobile however was bright and shiny and oozing in fifties Americana. Its yellow trimmings reminded me of California sunshine (that, and the fact I was in California and it was sunny, for a few more minutes anyway). So I sketched it, and you can see my reflection in it, and the owner liked it; it was his first car, in his family since 1977, and it is a 1956 Mercury Montclair. Now this says ‘America’ to me, not your beige Toyotas. Three people sat in the front, like in the movies, cruisin’ low and slow, all of that. I do like to sketch a classic automobile. They’re having one more this year, next month, same place. I might get there earlier this time, and sketch some more.

the incredible sagrada família

Sagrada Familia
Another one checked off the life-long wish-list! This is the famous and magnificent Sagrada Família, the ongoing masterpiece of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. I love to sketch a cathedral. Of course this isn’t technically a cathedral, it is a “Basilica and Expiatory Church” – there’s no bishop, you see. It’s also only really half a church, because as you probably know it is not quite finished yet, stunning and unbelievably detailed though it is. It is over a century and a quarter in the making, entirely funded by donations, and naturally is a huge draw for tourists. It is expected to be finished by 2026, with a massive central spire still to be added. I quite prefer it like this. It is quite something to think that this will look really different the next time I go to sketch it. Finally however I have sketched it, this building I have always wanted to see and draw.

This was done on my last day in Barcelona, when my wife and I took the metro out on a bright Sunday morning. We found that lovely spot across from the pond looking up at the Sagrada Família, and as I sketched there were other urban sketchers from southern Spain also there capturing the view. Always nice to meet the Spanish sketchers, I’m a big follower of the various groups around the country, and learn from them a lot. Once they were gone, I was joined by a group of elderly Catalans; the old woman sat next to me chatted away to me in Catalan, tried to teahc me a few words, and they kept me in good company while my wife went off to take photos. This is the Nativity Façade, which pre-dates the Spanish Civil War, sketched in the Stillman & Birn ‘beta’ sketchbook.

I didn’t go inside this time. The queues are fairly enormous, and our time was limited. I’d love to in the future. There will always be another trip to Barcelona.

P1130081

la boqueria

La Boqueria St Josep, Barcelona

I was really excited about visiting the Boqueria market off La Rambla in Barcelona. Its full name is the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, and on a Saturday afternoon it was a colourful vibrabt place. I knew I would need to sketch in here, though finding a good spot where I was out of the way was not necessarily easy. I wandered the whole market, taking in all of the colours and smells – fresh fruit, fresh fish, chocolate, wine, olive oil, all sorts of goodies. I had some delicious snacks from a place called Rostisseria Ramon, breaded mushroom and spinach things, I forget exactly what they were called except they were tasty. I eventually found a spot next to a market stall that was closed for vacations, and sketched the scene ahead of me. The butchers opposite were very interested and kept checking my progress excitedly. I added a nose and mouth for the third butcher as he felt left out, and he was well pleased to be included. It is fun talking to people as you sketch these types of scenes, even though my Spanish and my Catalan is really non-existent. I coloured it all on site and went off to draw the sign.

La Boqueria Sign
The market dates back many centuries, in various iterations. The current roof structure dates back about a hundred years. Below, there I am with the Stillman & Birn sketchbook. I really enjoyed sketching this one! Markets, now there is another sketching theme I am really warming to…

sketching boqueria

let’s draw uc davis

let's draw davis sept 2013Time for another sketchcrawl in sunny Davis…join us next Sunday September 22 for some sketching on the UC Davis campus!

We will meet at noon at the Good Life Garden, located in the courtyard of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food & Wine Science (http://rmi.ucdavis.edu/). From there we will sketch individually or in a group as you prefer, before reconvening at 4:00pm at the Wyatt Deck in the Arboretum to check out each others’ sketchbooks.

As always this sketchcrawl is free  and open to anyone who likes a bit of location drawing. It’s a great way to really explore our town, and meet (and learn from) other sketchers.

Hope to see you there!

grad study

the grad, davis
This is the Grad, or the ‘Davis Graduate’, a long-time bar of these parts. It’s a sports bar with about a million screens to watch all kinds of sports (you can get little portable speakers at the bar tuned into whichever game you’re watching (I was watching Marseille lose to Monaco, but didn’t need the speaker). It’s also a dance hall, though I’ve never actually been in the evening, not my kind of thing. It’s also a place to eat burgers and fries and other similar things. In fact, I hadn’t actually been to the Grad since about 2008, when I came to watch Turkey play the Czech Republic in the Euros. The Grad has never been particularly high on my list of bars to sketch – I’d always remembered it as too awkward a space, too many sports screens, that loudspeaker that announces when someone’s Gradburger is ready, my hands being greasy from eating fries, plus I’d seen Tottenham lose too many matches while there. However I am on a mission to sketch as many Davis bars as possible (for my bar-zine, and maybe a book), so on the Labor Day weekend I came down (I live closer by these days) with the sketchbook, and I honestly have to admit I have been missing out. This was an excellent place to sketch! And I had forgotten they had a pretty large selection of excellent beers on tap. Plus Olympique de Marseille playing on the screen (next to, er, Judge Judy). Oh, this was definitely sketchworthy, and worth coming back to sketch some more. I stuck around for a while and chatted to the bar-staff (cheers Greg for the pint!) and another regular who told me stories about Davis from years back. I’ll probably be telling my own Davis stories in years to come. Various sports happened on screens around me; try to count how many screens are in this sketch alone. Happy with my latest panoramic bar sketch (another one for the zine) and sufficiently full of that very nice Summer Solstice beer, I left, got my Weetabix at Trader Joe’s, and sauntered home.