This is Guilbert House, on A Street in Davis. Not any street, but A Street. I don’t just mean ‘a street’, no I mean the street is named after the letter ‘A’, or at least I presume it’s named after the letter ‘A’, unless it is named after a famous person who was just called ‘A’, like ‘Q’ from James Bond or ‘T’ who played ‘B.A.’ in the A-Team (who were not just ‘a team’, etc and so on). I like to think of myself as a man of letters. I have sketched this building before you will be flabbergasted to hear, after over a decade in Davis I do on occasion draw the same thing more than once. This town isn’t very big. So, this is another lunchtime sketch, with colour added afterwards.
It’s time for another ‘Lets Draw Davis’ sketchcrawl! If you’re in the Davis area and like sketching, why not join us?
This time we will draw once more at the UC Davis campus, starting inside the Memorial Union at midday with a quick ‘portrait party’ (*details below), before going off and sketching around campus and meeting up again at 3:30pm outside Hart Hall to look at each others sketchbooks.
As always this is FREE and open to anyone who likes to sketch, all you need is something to draw with and something to draw on. The campus bookstore has great art supplies if you run out though! Sketchcrawls are a fun way to meet other people who like drawing outside, and learning from each other. It’s a great excuse to draw!
START: 12:00pm, UC Davis Memorial Union (in the main Study Lounge inside, 1st floor)
FINISH: 3:30pm, outside the front of Hart Hall (SW Quad)
*”Portrait Party“: To kick off the sketchcrawl, I’ll encourage people to pair off and have ‘portrait duels’, where they draw five minute portraits of each other (they’ll be timed!). This ice-breaker will be a fun (and optional) way to meet each other and exercise those sketching muscles before heading off to sketch bikes and trees and buildings and stuff.
Once you’re done, feel free to share your Davis sketches on the Let’s Draw Davis Facebook group!
Look forward to seeing you there!
The start of the Academic Year at UC Davis always brings busy times. I like it; after the long hot summer it’s nice to have all the people back. A lot of people, a lot of new cyclists, a lot of young drivers. People dress well in those first couple of weeks, dressed to impress new classmates. All the sorority houses along Russell that I cycle past are bursting with outfits and hairstyles. I haven’t been downtown much lately but this is also when people go out to restaurants and bars in huge groups; they’ve all just met each other and don’t know who will be their best buds yet. This is what I’ve seen over the years in this college town. By about November the cycling crashes will slow down, the homework sets in, the leaves become crispier. On this day though in the first week of classes I sat in the shade by the food trucks at the Silo and sketched this temporarily located Peet’s Coffee truck which was busy offering people a free cup. I don’t drink coffee, and I also spell ‘Pete’ properly (this must be another American spelling like ‘color’ and ‘aluminum’). It was nice though to see something new at the Silo, something different to sketch. ‘Cold Brew’, I suppose this is some sort of cold coffee? I don’t know. That large ‘Nitro’ looks like a beer. In fact not knowing that this was Coffee I might assume this was a beer truck, if such a thing were allowed on campus. Brings me back to British universities, those first weeks of the academic year there, now they had a lot of beer on campus. In many UK unis the campus is built around the pub. The student union bar at my old uni, Queen Mary, was the Draper’s, and I remember back to 1997, that place would get messy. None would get so drunk as the rugby team though, going there on a Wednesday night you’d see the players there, large heavy-shouldered public-school types (America: ‘public’ school in England means ‘private’ school, yeah our language makes no sense occasionally), vomiting into buckets while stood on the table and then carrying on drinking. ‘Fresher’s Week’ is what we call the first week of the university year, ‘Freshers’ being like ‘Freshmen’ in the US (just less gender-specific). God I’m glad I’m not back in those days.
Saturday afternoon and I needed to sketch more. Yes yes I have drawn everything in town and want a new perspective on the same things, I am not feeling super creative right now though, and finding little comfort in the usual sketching, i suppose I am just in need of another long journey somewhere far away with lots of interesting streets and angles, somewhere like Porto for example (but maybe without the tired legs). There are still views to discover here though. I have drawn the Amtrak station before, of course I have but never while stood behind that circular fountain feature outside of Tres Hermanas on 2nd St. So that is what I stood and drew, while listening to a History podcast (two guys talking about the extraordinary history of ordinary things, such as the ‘history of the lean’, or the ‘history of clouds’, a really fresh perspective not only on history but on observing the world and universe itself – the sort of thing I should really be thinking about more, in fact you might say it has inspired me to think more like that, or rather, it’s inspired me to do that tomorrow. Next week). I needed a panorama. I must say I am using the softcover Stillman and Birn ‘Alpha’ landscape sketchbook and, while I do love the paper, I can’t wait to be done with this book. The softcover is starting to bug me. I need the hardback again. My next cued-up book is another Seawhite of Brighton book, then I’ll likely use the hardcover Alpha again. The softcover is fine if I’m sat at a table, and its slightly smaller scale means I can draw a panorama more quickly than in the slightly bigger hardcover. The way I stand though, it becomes awkward keeping it open, especially as I get further into the book. So, I’m looking forward to finishing it, which means I need to draw a lot more.
I’d really like to publish a book of Davis panoramas, that’s my intention. I’ve not worked that out yet, but I do have quite a few already. To see this one more closely, either move your face really close to the screen, or click on it and a larger version will pop up.
More from campus. See, what I do is I work, I go out some lunchtimes and sketch, and then I work, then I go home and eat dinner with my family and look at things online and read and chase cats and sleep. I’ve been in Davis for a quarter of my whole life, so naturally I will draw things again that I have drawn before. Many times. Many, many times. Fecking loads of bleedin’ times. I lived in Aix-en-Provence years ago, before I was drawing as regularly as I am now, and I used to joke about Cezanne getting up every day thinking, right, what shall I paint today then? And he wanders about Cours Mirabeau and Rue des Cordeliers and sits himself down with a poulet-frites and an Orangina and goes, oh ok I’ll paint Mont St Victoire again. I’ve only painted it like 500 times already. And sometimes on weekends he will be like, maybe I’ll pop down to Marseille on the bus and paint the Vieux Port, and then he’s like, nah I can’t be bothered, I hate that walk from the bus station down La Canabiere. This is why we have so many St. Victoire paintings; I know the feeling, Paul, I feel ya. I was pretty much always busy when I lived in Aix, well nowhere near as busy as now and I wish that I had drawn more. I did start drawing again there, my flat-mate Mike from Canada and I started a ‘Wall Of Art’ in our kitchen, silly really but it was a fun place of expression. It started when I bought some oil pastels and sketched him having a drink at a cafe. I should find that and post it here, it might be a bit more interesting than my current crop of Davis sketches. Anyway, this is the Bike Barn. I have drawn this building so many times now (see many of them in this tag: /bikebarn). I suppose it’s my St.Victoire, it’s about the same shape (though I have never climbed on the roof, I have climbed to the top of Mont St.Victoire, twice).
You know what I just realized? I’ve never drawn Mont. St.Victoire from life. Maybe I should go back and do that sometime. But ONLY if Paul Cezanne comes here and paints the Bike Barn. It’s only fair.
This year I had two pieces in the Pence Gallery Art Auction, a drawing of St.James Church, Davis, and another of the Turtle House on 2nd St. They didn’t sell this time, but I did get to attend the Gala event. They always have nice food and drink there, and you get to talk to local art people you may or may not have met before, so I went along for an hour and a half and looked at all the nice artwork, and then did a sketch. It had been a busy day. In the morning our under-12 AYSO team, playing with fewer players than our opponents (who were a really good team), came from behind three times to win, which was exciting and especially nice after I had woken up at 4:30am to watch Tottenham lose to Liverpool. Then I spent the afternoon watching other AYSO games, scouting teams and watching players I used to coach, before we headed to Sacramento for a party thrown by my father-in-law. After that I went to the Pence (see above) and then back home for some rest. I was totally exhausted by this point.