concord fire station

Concord fire station 051522 sm

The final tournament of our soccer season took place in Concord, the Concord Cup. We did ok, coming third in a five team round-robin, drawing our first two games 2-2 apiece, then losing 2-1 next morning to a team that would have won the tournament except that they picked up so many yellow cards against us that they ended up being docked points (even one of their parents got carded and sent away from the field). We then won our final game 4-2 to leave us feeling a bit better about things. Although at one point the games had to stop because a drone was flying over the field, and there’s a rule now that refs must stop the games for that. I liked that. The refs were pretty good overall, they had to deal with a lot of nonsense, and one came up to me and my assistant after one of our games and thanked us for being positive coaches with players who didn’t give them any hassle, much easier to work with than some of the others there. That was nice to hear. I generally had a good rapport with the refs (and with other coaches for the most part) and that’s one thing I’ll miss from coaching, though I probably couldn’t step into the field with the whistle myself, that’s a hard job. I did referee U6 games a long time ago, and I could barely handle that, I was getting tired even on tiny fields, and one kid stomped on my foot. Fun times. Anyway, down at the Concord Cup, during a break between games at the tournament we went back to our motel (which was the sort of place which characters on TV shows go when they are on the run from the cops or hiding from the mob), and while the others rested I went out and did a sketch of the fire station down the street. I like these old tiled-roof buildings. I like fire stations. When my son was very little we would take him to fire stations all the time to see the big fire trucks; simpler times. This sketch feels like ages ago, it was only in May. I’ve been over to Europe twice since then. I’m going to start posting my sketches from those trips next.

in line at the whole earth festival

whole earth festival 050622 sm Here’s another one from the UC Davis campus, this was sketched at the Whole Earth Festival in early May. The Whole Earth Festival is back in-person, and this is a popular annual event in Davis, with lots of vendors and food and music all around the UC Davis Quad. I went over on the lunchtime with many of the staff from our office to sit and have lunch with each other, I got an absolutely delicious mushroom burger, all vegan, really tasty. I started this sketch while I was in line, and went back after eating to draw some more (I had to keep saying to people “no I’m not in line”). If you like drawing people quickly, lines for food are usually a good spot because they will usually be still for a bit. I might have mentioned that in my book “Five Minute Sketching: People”, but if not, I’m saying it now and you can just write it in there of you have a copy. One thing, people are a little less likely to leave the line to come and see what you are sketching, because they don’t want to lose their spot, and they are hungry. Another tip, this one told to me by my sketching friend Rita Sabler, if sketching people at a bar, look at their drinks and sketch the ones with full glasses, because you know they will be there for a while. It’s a good tip. I was going to add colour to this sketch, but never got around to it, and now I prefer it just like this. But the Whole Earth Festival was pretty colourful, although we didn’t stop for much of the music, as we had to get back to work.

last night on turf

FC Davis game 050722

More soccer! This sketch from May was done at the FC Davis match against a team from Oakland, played at the Playfields turf field in Davis. It was the AYSO United Davis fundraiser evening, where people involved with the club went to Sudwerk’s beer garden and had food and drink, before walking as a big group over the I-80 overpass to Playfields to the game, to support the local FC Davis team. The last time I watched FC Davis they were still playing at Aggie Stadium (they were a brand new club then) – see https://petescully.com/2018/06/25/saturday-nights-down-at-fc-davis/ – so it was nice to watch them again, and I love their black Admiral shirts (would love to get me one of those). My wife was chatting with an old friend she’s known since school while I sketched and chatted to others I know; Davis ended up winning the game, and a little more beer was had. Playfields is where I’ve coached a lot of youth soccer practices and games over the years so I’m well familiar with that surface, which is not the greatest field to play on. I actually did play a game myself before Christmas; I’ve not played in years and years, the last time I actually played was a kickaround game with students and faculty from our department in about 2013, when I stretched too hard for a cross and pulled a leg muscle, making it hard to walk for a few weeks, and I gave up then and stuck to coaching. This recent game was for over-40s in one of the local ‘pick-up’ leagues (well it was for men over 40 – though most were over 50 and still twice as fit as me – but women needed only be over 30, and they were about 100 times fitter and faster than me) (despite my recent running and fitness successes, getting decent times in the 5k races, I’ve a long way to go). One of the parents on our youth team invited some of us to take part as they needed players for their team, and it turned out they were going to be up against one of the best teams in the league. It was about six or seven a side, depending on who came, and was pretty informal, I just had to wear orange. Hot off my best ever time in the recent 5k Turkey Trot, plus lots of technical practice training 13 year olds to play club league, I felt pretty good. It was raining too and I don’t mind that. Except, when it rains, the astroturf of Playfields becomes like an air-hockey table, and my steamed-up glasses become fairly useless. They kept falling off too – I really needed a strap – to the point where I would just take them off and hold them, trying to pass to the orange blur but stay away from the blue blur. My opponents were friendly and I joked with them, but they were really good. I did score though, which was unexpected, and put us 2-1 into the lead. Lovely goal as well, considering I can’t usually hit a barn door with a banjo* (*this is a phrase I think I’ve picked up here, not typically something someone from Burnt Oak would use), I hit the target a few other times too. Most unlike me, made it worth it. But I also hit the deck time after time, mostly just slipping over on the plastic ground. I called my self “The Man Who Fell To Turf”. Those little black beads of plastic that get kicked up were just too much for my turf shoes to take. I fell a couple of times really hard, covering my legs in bruises and hurting my arm, and my opponent helped me up a lot of times. In the end I was physically hammered, although I wouldn’t actually stop playing or rest, I dropped back into defense to make a few calamitous clearances. We ended up losing about 5-2 I think it was. I had a lot more sympathy for the players I have been coaching after that experience! It did help me visualize some things I’d been coaching too. I don’t know if I could do it regularly, a lot of people my age do and it’s great for them, but I hurt so much for about a week afterwards. I wouldn’t mind so much playing on grass maybe, but that hard surface took it out of me. So I think the FC Davis players did a great job playing on it. It’s a bit like when I draw on a certain type of paper and think, oh this paper is bad, you can’t draw on this, and then you see someone else drawing beautifully on the same paper and you think, hey maybe it’s me, I need to up my game.

The footy is back this weekend. Premier League, that is. Spurs kick off against Southampton tomorrow morning. It will be a long season…

you know the place where nothing is real

UCD Silo 051922 sm

As I play catch-up on my sketch posts, I may as well do one of those where I just post a bunch of the drawings I did on campus in Spring all at once, so here they are. It’s probably a lazy way to do it, but it saves you from reading through all the stories I feel the need to write to go along with them (but you can skip by the stories anyway, I’m not actually very interesting). Above, that’s the Silo, which long term readers will recognize as I have drawn it before, like a million times.

UCD Tri Co Ops

This next one, that was the Tri-Co-Ops, which I have drawn before but not as much as the Silo, so it still feels new. I’ve never drawn it with that spiky arched structure in front of it though. I suppose the structure isn’t actually spiky, it’s the plants behind it that make it look spiky. It’s made of metal and yeah, it looks interesting.

CoHo UCD 042822 sm

This is the UC Davis Coffee House, or CoHo as it’s more commonly known. This was one of those days where I just needed to sketch something but didn’t know what. I get a lot of those on campus. After all these years I’m often a bit uninspired for new things to draw. Sometimes I draw the same things in different ways, but if it’s something that requires a lot of thought like a ridiculous perspective, often I’m like, I need to eat, there’s not much lunchtime left, don’t want to do something that makes me think too hard. I was listening to a football podcast while drawing this.

UCD Calif Ave 041922

Another from April, this is along California Avenue, I cycle along here every day. They were doing some construction work, so I had to draw that because I can’t help myself. It looks different now already. There’s always some construction going on. Be nice if they constructed us a new building, we’re running out of space (us and the rest of this growing campus). I liked the people walking by eyes glued down at phones. The mind needs constant engagement, I get it.

UCD Water Tower 042222 sm

Finally, this is the Water Tower, drawn down by the Earth and Physical Sciences building. I was leading a lunchtime sketchcrawl event for the Sustainability Office (we’ve done that for a few years now, close to Earth Day), and I did have a couple of other quick sketches to go with this but this was the main one. Thanks for joining me on this brief campus outing. More sketches still to come…

soccer by the sierras

Comstock Shootout

For the last year I was the coach of a U14 club team AYSO United Davis, which meant practices twice a week and games every weekend. It was pretty busy, and was one of the reasons I put organizing our monthly sketchcrawls on hold. This was our first season as a new club in the NorCal Premier League, and our team had mixed success, although one of the older girls’ teams won the State Cup, which was pretty exciting. (Speaking of female teams winning trophies…well done to the Lionesses winning Euro 2022!! That was brilliant watching England, an actual England team, win a trophy, when the mens’ team could not. Wicked.) Our boys’ team did not end up winning any trophies, though we played in a few tournaments and made some good memories for the kids. I had coached for several years so knew most of the players for a long time, watching them develop. One tournament we went to was the Comstock Shootout in Carson City, Nevada, which involved a long drive over the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains into the high desert. We have been there before on a previous tournament in 2017 when my son was much younger, playing on a U10 team that I didn’t coach, and I did sketch a panorama of the mountainous backdrop back then too (see: https://petescully.com/2017/06/10/over-the-mountains-in-the-high-desert/). It’s a dramatic location for a tournament, played up at a higher altitude of over 4000 feet, and we stayed in nearby Minden – see the view below from our room. The panorama above, that was drawn between two of our games (one which we lost but was close, and one which we won). I had a couple of hours, so I went to watch another Davis team, the older boys form one of the rec Select teams, beating a local Carson City team. I had to sit near the guy with the huge lime green mohawk. It’s like, yeah mate you are getting sketched, you looks cool. Contrast to all the soccer moms and pops on their chairs with their big drinks yelling “pressure!”. Actually in terms of parents comments this was a pretty good one, most of them were positive and encouraging, but we certainly saw some of the opposite of that this season. In our last tournament in Concord one of the parents got red carded and threw a wobbly, I was impressed with how the ref handled that. I’ve been mostly on the coaching side for a few years though, but I remember several years ago when I was on the parents’ side with my sketchbook, and well, if you were a shouty yelling touchline parent, you were getting sketched and I was writing down all your shouts. Well in this game they were all pretty ok. It’s hard drawing all the players as they move around the field, and you have to check yourself to make sure you are drawing the right number. Still, the Davis boys won 3-1, I was pleased for the players and coaches (one of whom actually did coach my son last time he played at this tournament), because some of the other teams they had to play at this one were brutal. You get that at tournaments, an interesting mix of levels, but you come to these for the memories it gives to the kids. The Sierra Nevadas at Carson City makes a pretty memorable backdrop.

Minden NV

I decided to call it a day at the end of the season and hung up my coaching boots, I was pretty exhausted. So, as the new season starts I will be out on the other side again, sketchbook in hand, drawing the shouty sidelines.

PS: The Women’s Euros are over, and now the Men’s Premier League will begin this weekend. 30 years since the Premier League launched! I think I’m ready for the footy to return, but I needed a break from watching it, last season was just too long. I used to do a post on this blog each year with a run down of each team and a little pixel drawing of their kit, with predictions for the season but…I can’t be bothered. I just hope Spurs do well under Conte. I’m still celebrating the Lionesses!

love and bridges

Arboretum UC Davis

Another break, I was in Europe again recently, so I have many more sketches to post and stories to tell. But we are about four months behind, so you get those ones first. Here are a couple of bridges over the creek in the UC Davis Arboretum that I drew during the Spring quarter. I like a bridge. The one above is fairly newly renovated, having had a big upgrade in the past few years. The one below is a footbridge only, and people put those little padlocks with hearts and names scratched on onto the railings, which I am not a fan of. There’s that one in Paris isn’t there where so many of those silly padlocks have been attached to the bridge that the bridge starting creaking under the extra weight. “Oh I love you dear, I know, I will leave a stupid little padlock I bought off a guy for twenty quid on this bridge in a place we don’t live so that if we ever come back we can see if it’s still there or if it’s been cut off by council workers due to it being vandalism, just like the thousands of people have done before.” “Oh thank you dear you are so romantic and original.” “Well I try. Do you still have that single rose I bought you for a fiver from some guy bugging us at our restaurant table?” “That must have been someone else.” I put a lot of thought into these imaginary character conversations. In fact last week (late July) I was in Paris and that bridge there doesn’t allow those silly love-locks any more, but that doesn’t mean the stupid love-lock industry is dead, because they put them every bloody where else. Up at Montmartre, it felt like every metal fence was covered in them, you could see the cheap brass glistening in the light, and scrawny men were wandering about with bags of them trying to sell them to people. And they are mostly heart-shaped now as well. Honestly there are so many of them it would become utterly tedious to try and look through them when you return with your partner years later to find it, this unique special thing, yeurch. Anyway don’t do that. Don’t carve your initials onto trees either, nor into rocks, or write hit records for them, or build huge domed palaces for them or travel the universe gathering infinity stones so you can wipe out half of all existence with the snap of a finger for them, or any of that cheesy stuff, just be cool.

Arboretum Bridge 050422 sm

Anyway, I better start scanning the new sketches and coming up with more interesting things to say. I’ve done some travelling in the past few months and my legs hurt, but it’s the height of hot summer now and time to start catching up. Stay tuned.