next thursday – conversations with the city, talk and reception

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“Conversations with the City” – talk and reception

Well I’m enjoying my sketchbook exhibit at the UC Davis Design Musuem, the curators and staff there have done an amazing job showing off my little books. Anyway, next Thursday October 6th, from 6pm-8pm, the Design Dept will host a reception at the Museum, along with a talk by me which will be about my work, about urban sketching, and about why you should carry a sketchbook. You totally should come if you are in Davis!

Oh and why not bring a sketchbook? Hope to see you there!

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five minute sketching people

5 minute sketching people, by pete scully
Announcement alert! I have a new book!

It’s called “Five-Minute Sketching People“, and is being published this coming week by Firefly in North America, and Apple in the UK. It’s my second book in a year (following “Creative Sketching Workshop”), and the focus of this one is, as you can guess, all about sketching people in, well, not very much time at all. Over a hundred and twenty pages of tips and techniques, with some lovely contributed images from some of my favourite sketching friends. It’s called, as I say, “Five Minute Sketching People”, which is a bit like “24 Hour Party People” but you know, shorter. The thing with me is that, as you might know, I don’t draw people as often as I draw things that are not people (except other sketchers – I drew loads of people at the symposium this summer), so when I do, I tend to do it very quickly, in five minutes or less. People tend to move about, or have opinions, and change expressions constantly. It can be far more intimidating than drawing, for example, fire hydrants. Sketching people quickly means you can capture their essence without thinking too much, and so in this book I talk about that using different themes and examples. From sketching motion, to perspective, to using different media, and tip on different poses, I hope readers gain a few insights!

The book is available on amazon, and maybe in other places too. There is, and this is exciting, a sister companion to this book called “Five Minute Sketching Architecture” by Liz Steel, my urban sketching friend from Australia. She is a prolific and rapid sketcher, and also an architect herself, and that book is one I am super excited to read. Why not get the pair!

The Pitzer Center…finally finished!

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After more than a year covering its construction, preceded by several years sketching the old Boiler Building on this spot, then documenting its demolition, the Ann E. Pitzer Center is finally open. This is the new Music Recital Hall for the UC Davis campus, a state-of-the-art performance and teaching facility. This past weekend was the opening weekend of performances, and on Saturday evening I attended the Faculty and Students of UC Davis concert, choosing a seat near the back to not only get as good a view for a long-awaited interior sketch, but also to test the acoustics of this new space. They are very good. I drew most of the room before the performance started, and just added the performers of the first piece once they took to the stage; I spent the rest of the time just sitting taking in the beautiful music. Many of the performances were amazing, and so varied, a lesson in the history of music, but for me this first piece was the best bit. Members of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra played “Crisantemi” (“Chrysanthemums”) by Puccini, and it was just beautiful, haunting, elegant. The music comes right back to me when I look at the sketch. That is the thing about sketching – you can show, and you can even demonstrate your feelings in the lines, but unless you were actually there, you weren’t there, and I wish you could hear the music I still hear when I see it. I enjoyed this event, and the shiny clean newness of the building. I must make an effort to see some more events there.

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I did get an outside sketch of the back of the building before the concert, though it was a little rushed, and the green grass a little forced.

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I did do another one on Monday in pencil, of the view with the tall Sproul Hall behind it. I wanted to get one last sketch of this view, as this was the same view from when I sketched the Boiler Building back in 2011.And for all that I like this new building, and the beautiful music that it will host from here onwards, this view made me a little sad to think about the old Boiler Building, crumbling, idle, full of cobwebs and rust. I loved sketching that old place. Looking at Sproul in the background, though, I think I’m better at perspective now…

Old Boiler Building

Let’s Draw Davis! October 16, 2016

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Join us for another sketchcrawl in downtown Davis, on Sunday October 16th! We will begin at 10:30am, meeting outside the Amtrak Station (2nd Street), and then sketch individually or in groups (as you prefer), before finishing up at 3:30pm at Mansion Square (corner of 2nd and E Streets), to look at each others sketchbooks.

START: 10:30am, Davis Amtrak Station

FINISH: 3:30pm, Mansion square (2nd/E St)

This sketchcrawl will also be a scavenger hunt – I will provide a list of things to look for and sketch, see if you can sketch ’em all!

This is FREE and open to everyone who likes sketching, all ages and levels. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on!

FACEBOOK EVENT

I hope to see you there.
Pete

the scenery of san francisco

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Recently, for our anniversary, my wife and I took a couple of days down in the City. That is San Francisco to you. We stayed at the Fairmont Hotel, which is an old San Francisco spot of legend up on Nob Hill – it was here that Tony Bennett first complained to lost and found about losing a vital organ, through the medium of Croon. I’ve always wondered, is that song supposed to be a metaphor, or did he actually leave his actual heart lying around? And his other city based songs, is Chicago really just a tantrum-throwing two-year-old? I don’t know, Tony. I love San Francisco though, it’s honestly one of my favourite places in the world to be. I did leave a shirt there once, hanging in the closet in the Hyatt. Above, Crissy Field, out near the Presidio. We went to the Walt Disney Family Museum, very interesting.
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Our room had absolutely stunning views over the City. As the sun went down, before getting ready for dinner, I sketched a couple of the views – the peak of the TransAm Pyramid, golden in the sunset light, and Coit Tower, up on top of Telegraph Hill. I wish I were rich, I would just live in San Francisco for ever and ever and ever. It’s a city that is pricing people out though, so I don’t think drawing a few pictures and writing a few books is going to get me to San Francisco. When Tony Bennett sang that song, he was actually talking about having to farm out his own organs just to cover the rent. Ah, perhaps it’s for the best. One of the things I love about San Francisco is getting to visit it – it is so utterly different from Davis in every way, it’s always a nice change of scenery.
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I have sketched this big old church before, Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill. I did their Christmas Concert program a few years ago. Since we were staying so close I wanted to get a Sunday morning sketch of it in. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I drew in my new purple Leuchtturm sketchbook that I got in Manchester.
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After that, we went to ZineFest, and that was kinda fun. Actually probably enjoyed it more in previous years, I found fewer gems this time around, though I still spent on a few zines. I tended to buy some of the really random ones. We got the Muni back down to Union Square for a little bit of shopping; I bought some underpants at Uni-Qlo, I really like their underpants. I realize you don’t need to know that, but I’m just saying for those of you who also wear underpants (a good deal of you, I suspect), that Uni-Qlo do make really comfy ones. While my wife continued shopping, I sketched Tad’s Broiled Steaks outside, an old eatery on Powell Street. Always wanted to sketch this place, though I don’t of course eat steak. And there you are, San Francisco again. I want to go back!

Cruess

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Cruess Hall, UC Davis; this is where the previously aforementioned exhibition of my sketchbooks, “Conversations with the City”, is going on RIGHT NOW, Mondays-Fridays 12-4pm, Sundays 2-4pm, Sept 19 – Nov 13, at the UC Davis Design Museum. I sketched this on Sunday because I needed another sketch of Cruess for a different unrelated project. I haven’t actually had time to go and see the exhibit since it opened; this week has been a touch busy. Hopefully soon, I can’t wait to see what the folks at the UCD Design Museum have done!

Conversations with the City

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Opening next week, I have an exhibition of my sketchbooks at the UC Davis Design Museum titled “Conversations with the City“. The exhibition, curated by UC Davis professors James Housefield and Tim¬†McNeil, will display ten years of my sketchbooks, including every single one of those watercolour Moleskines, plus my fire hydrants (and other metal pipes) book from 2011, plus my recent accordion panorama of UC Davis, plus many more. You won’t be able to flick through the books, however there will be some sort of display where you can look through the digital scans of each book and display them on a screen.This will come with an opening reception with a special talk by myself on Thursday October 6th, from 6pm.

I can hardly believe it’s come around already. Posters have gone up all over campus, including some full-page ones, and above is one of the folded fliers from outside the Design Museum, which is located in Cruess Hall. There have been a couple of nice articles posted, one in the Davis Enterprise and one in UC Davis Dateline (“Our Urban Sketcher”). I’ve been sketching in Davis for over a decade now, and it’s really interesting to see the progression in my books, even just in the past few years. This year at UC Davis is called “Year of the Arts” – the Manetti Shrem will be opening, as well as the Pitzer Center, as you may have gathered from my many sketches of them – and in the posters my show is kicking it off, which is tremendously exciting; it’s actually my first proper exhibition on campus, believe it or not. The title of the exhibit comes from something I always say about sketching not just being about drawing your surroundings, but about interacting with them, having a conversation with your city, listening to it speak through the act of your drawing. Plus, fun fact, I actually talk to fire hydrants.

So if you are in Davis between September 19 and November 13, and would like to see my books on display, come along to the UC Davis Design Museum in Cruess Hall from Monday to Friday, 12-4pm, or on Sundays from 2-4pm. Entry is free. I’ll be in from time to time to have a look at them, so if you see me do say hello, I’ll be happy to ramble on about sketching, I’m never short of things to say on that subject! (Wait, come back! I haven’t told you about curvilinear perspective!”)¬† Or come along to the reception and talk on October 6th, when I will talk about my work, about Urban Sketchers, sketchcrawls, and Why You Should Keep A Sketchbook. I hope to see you there!

Announcement on UC Davis Arts website: http://arts.ucdavis.edu/exhibition/conversations-city-pete-scully-urban-sketcher

“Conversations with the City: Pete Scully, Urban Sketcher”, UC Davis Design Museum, Cruess Hall. September 19 – November 13, 2016, Mon-Fri: 12-4pm, Sun 2-4pm; Free.