bus stop inspiration

3rd st bus stop, Davis CA
I stood at the bus stop on Third Street in downtown Davis. I hit the point recently where I have drawn all of Davis, literally the entire town. No that isn’t true, really, it can never be true, but sometimes it feels like it. I have drawn the building to the right before (actually that was a commission for the lovely couple who own it). I do wander about trying to get inspiration for a new sketch though and a lot of the time, nothing comes. That happens. You get uninspired. Everything looks so “common” and “everyday” and unworthy of recording again. I’m sure Paul Cezanne used to have days like that, “Oh not Mont St Victoire again, mon dieu” but he lived in Aix-en-Provence and unless there are Moleskine sketchbooks filled with his sketches of the Cours Mirabeau and the Dog People then I’m afraid he wasn’t really trying. Pull your finger out Cezanne! Mont St Victoire was like a comfort blanket for him, he’d get down, have a poulet-frites and paint the mountain again. It’s ok, I lived in Aix once, it’s a funny sort of town. More to sketch there than in Davis though. I have actually climbed Mont St Victoire you know, twice. I tell people this all the time like I discovered it or something, like I’m some big rugged mountaineer, Sherpa Tensing or someone. I walked up it, on the easy side, I didn’t freescale the steep side. Well, there are no mountains in Davis, but we do have this bus stop on Third Street. I wasn’t even waiting for a bus. I could tell you a great story about how I had twenty minutes to wait for the bus and I just whipped out the sketchbook and freescaled the Cezanne out of that blank page. The truth is I cycled there, and this wasn’t even my destination. I had no destination. It was lunchtime, I really needed to sketch, the final few pages of Watercolour Moleskine #14 had been blank for long enough and I had been putting off filling them until I had something amazing to fill them with. All I could find however was this bus-stop. It is a nice bus-stop, you have to admit.The incline on at least one of those metal poles is reminiscent of the incline on Mont St Victoire, if looking at it backwards. The moral of the story is if you have nothing left to draw, draw a bus-stop. YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE IT MIGHT TAKE YOU…

(Oh groan groan, and anyway yes you do, just look at the bus map. This line is on a loop anyway so if you want a rubbish bus metaphor it should be “drawing Davis is like the E line, you just always end up going back to all the places you’ve just been” or something)

the tall wings of the dark side

kylo ren lego ship

And back to the Lego. This is my son’s Kylo Ren spaceship, from a movie called The Force Awakens. Did you see that? It’s pretty good. It’s about this girl, and there’s this guy, and there’s this other guy who’s really grumpy, and they meet these guys and then all this stuff happens and the force wakes up, and the end. I saw it four times at the movie theater, or rather I saw it twice at the cinema (that is, in England), and twice at the movie theater (ie, in America), and one of those times was at the IMAX. I’ve seen it a couple of times at least on DVD now. So the shiny stormtrooper, if you live in London and go on the Northern Line, her other job is saying “This station is Chalk Farm. This train terminates at Morden, via Bank. Please stand clear of the closing doors.” I recognized the tall hairy bloke as well, I’ve seen him in something. So, I loved the film. I must point out that I am a massive Star Wars fan, I like all the Star Wars, all the wars, they’re great, and then there’s the stars, I love them, love all the different stars. Sirius, the Sun, Rigel, Nigel, Rigella, all the stars.

So there is a fair bit of Star Wars Lego in the house, and this is the tallest. Those wings are collapsible, much to Kylo’s annoyance. He needs those big wings, none of the other dark lords had wings that tall. Vader’s wings were tiny, and Darth Maul’s. You just know General Hux made him get collapsible wings so they would fit in the Star Destroyer. “Do you know how expensive those big bay doors are Ren?” he says. “You should be careful I don’t make your bay doors bigger Hux!” Ren retorts, before they both give each other very embarrassed looks, and Ren says “sorry that came out wrong, I need to go and speak to grandfather’s melted helmet,” before Hux suppresses a giggle and Ren shuffles away. On the back of this ship is a sticker that says “Chewie is my co-pilot” which obviously he put there years ago and forgot was there. That’s the thing, when you turn to the Dark Side do you go back and delete all those Facebook photos of selfies from high school, do all your friends unfriends you because your posts start getting all political, posting all “How to Talk to a Rebel” nonsense and changing your profile picture to a big Imperial flag with all “Proud To Be Imperial” and sharing “First Order First” posts that definitely aren’t racist against wookiees or gungans, but all seem to be stuff like “Who remembers when Coruscant was all Imperial shops, oh them were the days, now when you fly down a Coruscant street it’s all gungan blue energy ball shops, it’s a health hazard.” I bet Kylo gets into all sorts of arguments online, and all his comments are about three pages long full of links to Wikipedia or right-wing pro-first-order news editorials. He seems the type. I imagine being online was very much like that for Kylo, except I bet Facebook made him change his name back to Ben Solo because they have that bloody must-use-your-real-name policy, honestly you would think he would just not use Facebook, he doesn’t even like showing his face. I like how he smashes up his computer when he gets annoyed, that’s one way of getting a new computer. See I think that if Han and Leia didn’t keep getting him new computers every time he smashed one to pieces maybe he would have developed the emotional intelligence not to turn to the Dark Side. Then again I bet they were all like, “You’re not parking that ship in here, not unless you get collapsible wings” and he went out and got the wings made even bigger, just to rebel. Teenagers eh.

I can’t remember where I was going with this. As I said, I like Star Wars a lot. I really enjoyed The Force Awakens, but not in a fashionable smirky-cool “Hate The Prequels” way. No, I actually love the prequels, I love all the prequels. Prequels prequels prequels that’s me, I love them. Right, Lego. So I drew this in the Book of My Son’s Things. It’s a Stillman and Birn Alpha book. This was a fun sketch to do, and a fun ship to build, and play with. Note the little show running along the edge of the scan. I call that the Dark Side. Get it? Do you get it? Dark Side? No?