i am a passenger, and i ride and i ride

Amtrak from Davis
At the start of this month I took a couple of day off from sketching Davis and went to San Francisco for an overnighter. I took the train down as you do, the Amtrak to Emeryville, followed by the Amtrak bus over the Bay Bridge. And because I’m on the train for an hour and a half I have to draw it, even though I’ve drawn it before about a million times. In fact you know what, I was going to tell you about my trip to San Francisco but I’ve decided I’d rather bore you with a bit of trainspotting. Here are my other Amtrak sketches, or as many as I could find, the story of sketching just to pass the time. Training in perspective.

Amtrak from Davis to Richmond
Train to Burbank
Train to Santa Barbara

Amtrak Coastal Starlight 2016 sm
Amtrak from Davis to SF
amtrak in the morning
amtrak sketch
on the amtrak full of knitters
sketching on the BART
quick Amtrak sketch
on the amtrak (with my hat)
philadelphia trainsketchcrawl 31, allan on amtrak
sunday morning train
california train sketchfanta on amtrak
amtrak sketching
on the train to the bay area
on the train
sketchcrawl 20: san francisco
a weekend in the city

And some other trains elsewhere in the world…
Eurostar to Paris
Virgin Train to Manchester July 2016 sm
Virgin Train to London July 2016 sm
northern line
tube sketch
eurostar

And that is quite enough scrolling through train sketches for today.

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“and this is my counterpart”

my son's water bottle
This near-sighted scrap-pile. This overweight glob of grease. This malfunctioning little twerp. This real bargain. This extremely well put together little droid. This subject of loose-wire jokes. This stupid lump. This feisty little one. This stupid little astromech.  This devoted searcher of former masters. This a-bit-eccentric artoo unit. These rusty innards. This maker of mistakes, from time-to-time.

Actually this is just a water-bottle, which has the design of everyone’s favourite little droid (or do we all like BB-8 more now?). It belongs to my son, and gets a lot of use (especially during soccer practice).

the old north

E and 6th Davis
One of the more historically interesting neighbourhoods in Davis is the Bowers Addition, better known as Old North Davis. It’s an area I have to walk home through in the evenings if I have been downtown, when it is dark, subject to the local ordinances that are meant to cut down on ‘light-pollution’ – people want to see the stars, but I’m the sort of person who wants to see the guy hiding in the shadows with the knife, personally.  However if you walk through this are in daytime you can really see the neighbourhood for what it is – pretty, historic, colourful and full of places that would be great to sketch. Recently I have made it my mission to draw as many historic (especially pre-1917) buildings in Davis as possible, and since the Old North is also now over 100 years old, I’ve added a bit more of it to my sketchbook pages. My inspiration has long been an excellent book by local historian John Lofland, “Old North Davis” (amazon link), which I picked up several years ago at the University bookstore. In the book, Lofland details every single block, between B and G, and 5th and 7th, with the history of most of the buildings, along with many photos both historic and taken by the author. It’s quite a spectacular undertaking. But anyway, let’s dive into some of my own sketches of the Old North. The panoramic one at the top was sketched at 6th and E, and was one of those ones where I added only the bright Springtime colors, so that they would stand out a bit more, and left the left-hand details unfinished. Also because I was sneezing uncontrollably and just could not draw any more. The house itself is a dark blue and looks great against those colors (especially the touches of pink) but you’ll have to take my word for it. It’s so floral around here on a Spring day, despite all the sneezes.
the liggett house, old north davis
The “Bowers Addition to the City of Davisville” (as it was called; Davisville wasn’t formally a city, and would be called Davis when it was) was created in 1913 and named after its lead developer, C.W.Bowers. The house above, also sketched in spite of the allergies, was one of those original houses, being built in 1913 in the 600 block of E Street. It is on that list of historic Davis buildings on the City of Davis website, called the Liggett House. It’s on my map of pre-1917 buildings (see the previous post, “Davis before the City of Davis“). It’s a craftsman bungalow and one of the oldest unaltered homes in this area. I sat on a bench across the street in the little spot called the ‘Lyda Williams Memorial Garden’. Lyda Williams was a resident of this street who once had a magnificent flower garden, according to Lofland’s book. It is a very pretty little spot to sit and dream, or in my case, sketch.
b street house, old north davis
This house on B Street has always been one I’ve wanted to sketch (though there are a few around here with the peace symbol on I’ve wanted to draw, because it makes it feel that bit more ‘Davis’). I was out on a Sunday having a little Old North Davis solo-sketchcrawl, before the sneezes start.This is around the part of B Street that is slightly crooked in relation to the other streets in the grid.
7th street house, old north davis
I’ve always liked cycling past this large and unusually shaped house, imagining it some kind of castle, though it is more like the Silo and has a fun weather-vane on the top (I cannot make out the shape, but it looks like a flying pig). I had to give up before I was done with this and finish off at home because the sneezes and itching eyes took over.I went to Lofland’s book to see what I could discover about the history of this magnificent building, but the photo of the house at this address..looked nothing like this one. Well, his book was written in 1999, I came to Davis in 2005 (and north Davis in 2012), so perhaps that older house is now gone (it’s funny, I find I don’t want to suggest ‘demolished’ or ‘torn down’ or even ‘vanished’, I’m trying to find gentler words, as if the house has, well, passed on to the next life). This one is much less aged-looking, and very clean and well-kept, so must just be a lot newer.
G St Tangles Studio
This was was drawn just last week, a colourful little place on G Street which isn’t a residence as far as I know, but a place called ‘Tangles Studio’, which must be something to do with hair. I keep my hair super short so I don’t worry about tangles. In fact I had just got my hair cut downtown, shaved to a very close crop. There is a large mural on the side of the wall that has been there for a long time.

F & 7th, Davis

This is an older sketch from 2014 that I wanted to include here again, because it is so interesting. It’s on the corner of F and 7th, on the edge of the Old North. Years ago F Street used to stop at 7th, but was extended beyond after World War II. This building is known as the Anderson-Hamel House, and this is not its original location. It used to stand on the corner of F and 2nd Street, before being relocated five blocks north in the late 1940s; Lofland provides a nice photo of it in the original location downtown (p100, ‘Old North Davis’). This is a ‘Queen Anne’ cottage built in 1903 by the man who became the first mayor of Davis, John B. Anderson. He also ran the Davisville Cash Store. It was sold to the Hamel family in 1923, and then again to the Quessenbury family, who moved it out here so they could build a drugstore on the original downtown location. This house has a dentist’s surgery now.

I hope you have enjoyed this little Old North history tour. Here are some thumbnails (linking to Flickr) of other Old North Davis sketches I’ve done over the years…

bentley house, old north davisnewman chapel, davisc street house, DavisE and 5th, DavisG & 6th, DavisG St, Davisthe davis co-opD & 6th, davis

to catch a passing shadow

4th and D, Davis CA
This is a sketch drawn downtown on the last day of March, on the holiday known as Cesar Chavez Day. A much-needed rest from a busy work schedule. We went downtown and got some ice cream (I got a milkshake from Baskin Robbins, I love those) and I continued my quest to sketch literally every inch of Davis because seriously, there’s more?

gas’n’mart

5th and L Gas Mart, Davis

And after that Davis history lesson, and that Guardians of the Galaxy blaster, here is a … gas station. Very exciting. I used to pass by this for years when cycling home and think, oh I must sketch that one day. So one day years later I decided to do so. 5th & L Gas & Mart. I mean, what else can you say? I presume Mart is short for Martin, or Marty maybe, and Gas must be short for Gary, perhaps they are like a retired pub-singing duo who quit the rock’n’roll’n’pint-o-bitter lifestyle to open a petrol station in California. Perhaps “5th & L” is actually one of their old tunes, a play on words where you think, “5th and L” oh that’s an intersection, but they sing it fast over an over so it sounds like an expletive, “Fiff’n’ell!” Gas is a funny word though. Coming from England, calling petrol “gas” seems very odd. After all, it is a liquid. Oh the fun times when we first moved here and we would go to a petrol station and they would say, do you want some gas? And I’m like, no obviously we want liquid, gas will be absolutely no good at all, it would just blow away, and they’re all looking at me like, who is this Australian? (In all seriousness I used to get called Australian all the time because many Americans have difficulty with the difference between a London and Australian accent, especially when I keep saying “G’day cobber, ya flamin’ gallah”, humming the tune to Kylie Minogue’s “I Should Be So Lucky” and eating Lamingtons). Ok, I didn’t really think gas was non-liquid, I know that “gas” is just short from “gasoleum”, I’m not thick you know. But I would have said that if it had come up, for a laugh. Yes you’re right, it wouldn’t have come up like that, because. in California, you serve your own gas at the gas station, unlike in Oregon where someone else does it for you, by law. I remember our first trip to Oregon though, an exciting six hour drive to Medford, all I wanted was to get across the border and pretend I thought they meant gas as in the gas rather than gas as in the liquid at the petrol I mean gas station. Of course I didn’t. (I was excited about going to a state with no sales tax though, we live for the simple pleasures).

This is the sort of conversation with myself that I have in my head when sketching. So it was quite a relief when I was interrupted twice by passers-by who recognized me from my show last November (hello again by the way, if you’re reading!).

blastin’ through the galaxy

guardians of the galaxy blaster toy
Are you excited for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? I know I am. I loved the first one. This thing is one of Star-Lord’s blasters from the movie, but a ‘Nerf’ version. I’m not a big fan of those Nerf things (they get on my…) but my friend Roshan got me and my son a couple of these a while ago, and we started having blast-offs around the house with them recently, so I decided to draw one of them in my son’s “book of his things”, which by the way is nearly full now. Yeah, we can’t wait for Guardians II. I can’t wait for the soundtrack! Pew pew pew!