constructing the manetti shrem, part five

manetti shrem museum under construction jan 2015
The second of my 2016 sketches so far, continuing my documentation of UC Davis’s upcoming new art museum, the Manetti Shrem. The frame of the large metal canopy is up; this will look impressive from the air. Here (from the Manetti Shrem’s website) is a pre-visualized idea of how it will look: shremmuseum.ucdavis.edu/museum-design/index.html. I feel like I’ve been peering through the window at Christmas time waiting for a glimpse of the new toy display; I can’t wait to finally walk around inside. I’m going to keep documenting as it goes up, updating every couple of months or so, but in the meantime here is a little retrospective so far…

 

manetti shrem museum under constructionmanetti shrem museum under construction
shrem museum of art under constructionshrem museum of art (under construction)
shrem museum under construction june 2015shrem museum under construction april 2015
shrem museum under construction april 2015shrem museum under construction

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bell free

belfry A-st jan16

This was the first sketch of 2016. Seems like ages ago – I’ve just not done as much, two sketches since new year. Come on Pete, no excuse! This is unlike me. Partly, I’ve been uninspired – what do you sketch in the town where you’ve sketched everything – also it’s been colder, rainier, which is no excuse really because I like it like that. I’ve been busy, but I’m always busy in January. I was happy to get out this one lunchtime though, and sketch this building on A Street. That’s “A” Street, not “a street”, oh I’ve done that whole thing before. Still it would be nice if it was actually called “a street”, and then “bee street”, “sea street”, followed by “the street” “he street” and “f*@! street”, and then “gee! street”. After that Davis downtown kinda ends so that game gets a bit boring. Still it’s always fun when people ask me the way to “a street” and I say, “sure, which street do you want” and so on. That never happens. It’s also fun when I ask people “which street is this” and they say “A” and I say “I said, which street is this” and they say “A” and I’m like, “WHICH STREET IS THIS” etc. That never happens either. Ok, the sketch. The Belfry. I’m not sure they have an actual bell in there, maybe a doorbell, or it may be in the rear building, which actually does look more like a belfry, I suppose. Actually it is the meeting place for the Christian Lutheran Episcopal Fellowship, no hang on it’s the Lutheran Christian Episcopal Fellowship, or is it the Lutheran Episcopal Christian Fellowship, yes I think that is the one. It’s a hard name to remember, but it’s important to get these things right, in case there is another group with one of those other very similar but totally different names (“splitters!”). They missed a trick not being called the Christian Lutheran Episcopal Fellowship though, because the acronym would have been “Clef”, giving them a possibly great musical symbol to use as a logo. Instead the Belfry has a very angular, almost runic symbol. They’re also the meeting place for the Christian Orthodox Fellowship, no I mean the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and the Unitarian Universalist Campus Ministry Group (ok, I give up). It is fun though to come up with humourous pretend names for religious groups to come up with funny acronyms, but I won’t share any here (because I haven’t thought of any yet).  So anyway, the Belfry is a religious place, so the bells are likely more spiritual in nature than actual bells (in fact you might say it is “bell-free”). Shame, who doesn’t like a good church bell ringing.

Anyway in case you are interested in whereabouts this is on A Street, here is a handy diagram showing some of my other A Street sketches. Click on it to see more detail. Looks like there are a few gaps I need to fill. Now I know what I can sketch this week!

A Street (East side)sm

see ya 2015

2015 sketches sm

A little slow in getting this up, but here is a shot of all of my sketches done in 2015*. It was a sketch-filled year alright, with a large bulk coming in the middle, on my sketching trip to France, and a large number of panoramas being drawn last January (this January however, not so much). It doesn’t include badges designed for my son’s soccer team, nor the advent calendars I drew (I meant to show you those in December…). Still I am happy with this haul.

The sketchbooks used were…

Apart from Davis/San Francisco/Santa Rosa/Sacramento (the local places), I went to (and sketched)…

  • Los Angeles / Santa Monica
  • Monterey / Pacific Grove
  • London, England (twice)
  • Hertford, England
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Medford / Jacksonville, Oregon
  • Aix-en-Provence, France
  • Strasbourg, France
  • Legoland, California

I took twelve planes and one TGV. I dressed up like a pirate in Portland, and witnessed my friends’ secret wedding in San Francisco. I coached two youth soccer teams and made a lot of stickers. I didn’t organize a single sketchcrawl (!! 2016 maybe…) but attended a big three-day sketchcrawl in France. I sold several drawings and exhibited once again at the Pence Gallery’s art auction.

And I authored a book! Called “Creative Sketching Workshop” which you can buy in shops and online right now.

What I did not get was a real hoverboard (but sadly things called hoverboards do exist, and they do not even hover, they are just rubbish motorized things on wheels trading on the much cooler name).

Incidentally, if you’re interested, here are the sketches from 2014, 2013 and 2012.

2015 was busy alright. Hope you all have a fun 2016! This year is the year I turn 40 (very soon in fact) (like ridiculously soon, like clutching-on-to-the-last-days-of-my-30s soon).

(*Damn! I just realized, also sketched some of my son’s shoes but haven’t scanned them yet…)

st clement dane

St Clement Dane
The last sketch from London. I was there for two weeks, but I didn’t sketch as much
as usual. Perhaps on my next trip I will get more done – the International Urban Sketching Symposium this year will be held in Manchester and I do hope I can go. Early-bird Registration opens on January 30 ($415 though, may have to sell a few drawings first!) If I do go, I will try to organize another themed sketchcrawl in London on the weekend before, maybe on the Sunday. We will see. London Urban Sketchers are holding one on the Saturday before (they like to set out the year’s “Let’s Draw…” sketchcrawls in advance), so I’ll try not to clash. I do like a themed sketchcrawl, and back in 2014 I did organize one called “Sketching Wren’s City”, which went from the Monument down to St. Paul’s, taking in as many of Christopher Wren’s buildings (mostly churches) as possible. I provided everyone with a hand-drawn map and lots of information; it was immense fun, and we topped it off with a visit to the Old Bell Tavern on Fleet Street – also designed by Wren.You can see the sketches I did, and find out more about the sketchcrawl here.

One Wren church we did not make it to (being just outside the City borders) is this one, St. Clement Dane. I used to pass by here every day when studying at King’s College, and it’s in an amazing location, on a traffic island at the intersection of Strand and Aldwych, just where the traffic turns to down towards Temple Station and the Embankment. Further down Strand behind me is another church on a traffic island, St. Mary-le-Strand, known to taxi-drivers as “Mary-in-the-way”. St. Clement Dane’s is more famous – its bells regularly play out the tune to “Oranges and Lemons”, after the nursery rhyme that mentions St. Clement’s, although it’s possible that the church in the rhyme is actually st. Clement Eastcheap. St. Clement Dane dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, and though the ‘Dane’ part of the name also dates back this far, it’s not exactly certain why, though this church was located at the very edge of the ‘Danelaw’, the large swathe of England ruled by the Danes. The current building, designed by Wren in the 1680s, was gutted by bombs in World War Two and restored in the 1950s. The large statue in front is William Ewart Gladstone, the former Prime Minister. Behind him are two more statues, of prominent Royal Air Force chiefs Hugh Dowding and Arthur “Bomber” Harris (unseen). This church has long had connections to the RAF, and contains many memorials to fallen airmen. Behind the church is a statue of Dr. Samuel Johnson, writer of the first English dictionary, who lived nearby off of Fleet Street. And just visible behind St. Clement’s are the Royal Courts of Justice.

I stood on the edge of the traffic island and sketched, as the day started drifting away. Days are so short in London winter-time, and I had to get back for dinner. Goodbye London, until next time.

the great cartographers

stanfords map shop
Here is Stanford’s, a fantastic shop on Long Acre, Covent Garden (London) that ha slong been one of my favourite shops in, frankly, the entire world. It is primarily a map and travel book shop, founded by Edward Stanford in 1853, moving to its present spot in 1901. I used to come here when I was in my teens and just look at maps, maps of anywhere and everywhere. I wanted to travel the world, and literally everywhere was exotic. I would look at street maps of nondescript German towns, maps of the Colombian highlands, plan routes across Siberia, imagine barren rocky island hopping in the north Atlantic. Once I bought a map of Sydney, Australia, to put on my bedroom door at home and I would just learn the names of all the suburbs. I’ve still never been. Well, I ended up living across the world, and my love of maps has not really dimmed, I still get a kick out of flicking through a road atlas. Yeah, Stanford’s was one of my favourite shops, and it’s still great now, so I had to sketch it. It was a nice bright London morning after Christmas, and once I was done I met up with my friend Simon and we popped to a little old pub around the corner, the Lamb and Flag. I didn’t do a particularly detailed sketch, just capturing an interesting doorway, but its a small place and there were lots of people in and out. And I sketched Simon too! It’s fun being back in London from time to time.
lamb and flag
simon

the end of the railway

the railway, edgware
This is – or was – the Railway in Edgware, north London. For those of you unfamiliar with where Edgware is, look at the tube map, and look up at the top, it’s there at the end of the Northern Line. No, not that end, that’s High Barnet, the other end. There we are, just past Burnt Oak. I was born in Edgware Hospital (which is more Burnt Oak), and went to Edgware School, both my sisters have lived in Edgware at some point (one in an actual haunted flat), and it’s where we go when we go shopping in real shops, or at least used to. Edgware was that place which was a bit more upmarket than Burnt Oak, I always looked up to it. Again, that was the tube map, you had to look up to see it. I used to walk to school, down Deansbrook, through the alley into Fairfield, through the other back alley into Station Road, right next to this building here, the Railway. It looked like something from the Middle Ages (it was built in 1936 in neo-Tudor style, I was clearly a history idiot) (I wasn’t by the way, I was actually really good at history) (and I never ever thought this was medieval, and would have probably laughed at anyone who said it looked like it) (I wasn’t very good at history A-level though, it was all ‘the nazis’ and ‘the 1848 revolution’ and that sort of thing, I struggled with the reading, actually I know for a fact my Edgware School history teachers thought I was a ‘history idiot’ and they pointed it out) (in the end I got a Masters degree from King’s in Medieval English and you can’t do that if you’re a history idiot). So, this is a neo-Tudor building. “Neo-Tudor?” Sounds like a Stuart-era political thug. I read this description of this building somewhere but I think it’s more mock-Tudor. (History idiot) So…this is a Mock Tudor building, and was once a great pub called the Railway Tavern. No wait, it was the Railway Hotel, not the Railway Tavern (that was up Hale Lane I think? History idiot). Let’s start again.

The Railway Hotel was built in 1936 and is not, I repeat not a Listed Building. My source of this information comes from random local people telling me that back home, and they are never wrong about such things. The side part of it apparently is Listed, but the main part isn’t. I don’t know if it was ever an actual Hotel, and the Railway it refers to is really just the Tube line – back in the 30s Edgware was this glamourous place referred to as ‘Metro-land’, the new world opened up by the expansion of the London Underground. Big buildings such as this were built in the Mock-Tudor style in these burgeoning and now-connected suburbs almost as if to emphasize the ‘rural’ appeal of these now less than rural areas. Edgware itself goes back centuries (Middle Ages! Yes!) and is on the historic and vital Roman Road of Watling Street (actually called Edgware Road from here to central London; you’ve seen Edgware Road on the tube map, it is miles away). There are some genuinely historic buildings here, one around the corner being an old tavern that the famed highwayman Dick Turpin is rumoured to have stayed at. Right across the street from the Railway is St.Margaret’s Church, whose tower dates from the 15th century, with the building dating from the 18th century. And while it’s not particularly historic, George Michael’s dad used to own a restaurant a few doors down from here called Mr. Jack’s. The Railway Tavern may not be so old, but it is beloved locally. I remember the pub being a nice, warm place, friendlier than many other more raucous pubs nearby, with a lovely carvery restaurant upstairs. I remember going to that restaurant for my friend Terry’s 18th birthday, all those years ago. Some nice memories here.

I don’t remember when it actually closed. Was it before I left for America or after? I remember writing a blog post in 2006 on my first trip back from the States lamenting the passing of two of my favourite spots in Edgware, Music Stop the guitar shop and Loppylugs the record shop. I was sad that Edgware was changing so much, and it struck a chord, because somehow people from all over the world – well, from Edgware but living all over the world – were commenting with their memories of Edgware, of the school, of the old cinema and the record shops, that general old nostalgia thing we all do when we get online. You’ve seen it, the old nostalgia thing, you know what I’m talking about, “Like if you had one of these space hoppers”, “retweet if you remember what a flake in an ice cream is”, “share if you remember Daz Ultra” that sort of thing. The Railway must have been still open, or I would have mentioned that as well.  It has been closed for some time now, with no chance of reopening. These days pubs close, and that is that. So many old pubs are falling by the wayside, not profitable in these modern times, once great centres of community (ah remember that, it was great when everyone was drunk, Retweet if you Like). Remember the Pub, the old Rub-a-Dub-Dub? All gawn now mate, all gawn and never comin’ back.

Who knows what will happen to the Railway. I’m sure someone does; I was old it would be knocked down to make way for a big block of flats. These statements are usually correct, but I’ve learned to proceed carefully (as they are often book-ended with statements like “too expensive for the locals, they’re going to give them free to all the asylum seekers,” a phrase I have actually heard said). The truth is that land is owned by someone, usually someone less concerned with building communities and more concerned with building profits. There was last year a pub in Kilburn, the Carlton Tavern, that was illegally demolished a week before it was due to be a listed building (knocked down with all the tenants’ possessions inside and against the orders of the council), because the landowners CLTX, a company based in Tel Aviv, wanted it out of the way. Well, didn’t Westminster Council only go and order CLTX to rebuild the Carlton Tavern brick by brick within the next 18 months! A victory for the old pubs, perhaps, but we’ll see if it happens. I intend to sketch the site some day, maybe on the next trip. I wonder if a hundred years ago the Edgware locals will probably have lamented the loss of all their lovely green space, demolished so that houses can be built, along with these ugly mock-Tudor pub buildings (“Mock-Tudor?” they would say, “Medieval more like!”). The world keeps on turning…