sunday morning drawing davis

Craft Fair at Central Park, Davis

Last Sunday morning, on the first day of August, we held our first Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl of the year. It has been a while; I paused organizing them due to the pandemic and I’ve been busy on weekends this year, but one of my fellow Davis sketchers Marlene Lee suggested holding one at Central Park that day during the craft Fair that was going on. It was a good idea. There were lots of vendors selling interesting art items, and there was a band called ‘New Harmony Jazz Band’ playing old numbers. It was nice to see other sketchers again, I’ve been hiding away for a long time and seeing others out and about doing their stuff is always good to see. Plus one guy (Alex) was wearing a Wolverhampton Wanderers shirt! I was delighted, I love football shirts but I’d never seen someone in Davis wear a Wolves shirt before. I’m showing you the sketches I did in reverse, so I can put my final drawing – this big panorama of the Craft Fair in the Farmer’s Market area – first. There were quite a few people around but it wasn’t crowded. Many people were masked up but most weren’t. Many of the sketchers were (including me for about half the time, usually when I might be interacting with people). It makes me feel more like a ninja, plus the mask I was wearing has my drawings on it (you can get masks with my drawings on here! https://society6.com/petescully/masks). I drew the scene above in about 1.5 hours, including about two thirds of the colour, but I coloured in the background when I got home. It was already getting hot, and I stopped for a shaved ice (which needed a few more flavours). Below is the band, they played nice music to sketch to. I drew that, and my other people sketches, with the Zebra brush pen that I was using a couple of years ago. It’s nice to use something like that again, it makes for rapid sketching. 

NewHarmonyJazzBand

And below are most of the sketchers, as you see I drew Alex in his Wolves shirt twice. If I had drawn more detailed sketches I would have done all of the shirt detailing on the front of that particular shirt. I myself was wearing my France football shirt that day, a favourite of mine, but mostly in honor of Esteban Ocon, who had won his first Grand Prix that morning at the Hungaroring in Budapest, a crazy race that saw a lot of carnage at the first corner. Ocon was also the first French driver to win a Grand Prix in a French car (Alpine, formerly Renault) since Alain Prost in the Renault in 1983. To see the podium with just one anthem played and for it to be the Marseillaise, well I’d never seen that before so I wore my French shirt in Ocon’s honor. I am about as obsessed with Formula 1 as I am with football shirts, as you can tell! I get up very early to watch it.  080221 LDD C IG

Below are Ann Privateer and William Lum, also drawn in the Zebra pen…

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…and here are Ann Filmer and Marlene Lee, sketching in the shade. We’re hoping to have the Davis sketchcrawls go monthly again; I just got my soccer coaching schedule (so many Saturdays to the end of the year, and beyond) so others will organize but since campus is all coming back in-person this Fall it will be good for people to get outside and draw with each other again.   

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The Let’s Draw Davis FB Page (where events will be posted) is here: https://www.facebook.com/LetsDrawDavis

There’s also a Let’s Draw Davis FB group, where people who attended can post their sketches and photos afterwards: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LetsDrawDavis/

The Flying Carousel of the Delta Breeze

carousel central park 101820 sm At the end of the last sketchcrawl we met up at the Carousel in the middle of Central Park, Davis, to look at each others’ sketchbooks. Some people drew the carousel, but I revealed that I had chickened out, because it’s pretty complicated. Of course whenever I say that it’s a sure-fire sign that I will be back to try and draw it as soon as I can, so I cycled down to Central Park the next day and stood there drawing as much as I could. The carousel is called “The Flying Carousel of the Delta Breeze”, which is a bit of a mouthful, and I’ve never heard anyone actually call it that. Honestly I thought that was an album by a psychedelic late-sixties California hippy band that still play local events across the region at farmer’s markets and brewfests (I am making that up but it might be true, sounds like it would be true). It’s not in use at the moment clearly, because of COVID-19, but when it was it was a fun thing for the local little kids to ride on, and helps fund the Davis Schools Foundation. It is human-powered, that is, there’ll be a high-school kid who sits and cycles to make it go. Kids can ride on the hand-carved animals such as the Frederick frog, Seymour the seal, Pickles the pig, and Terri the Tomato. I know a tomato isn’t an animal, and don’t get started on the fruit/vegetable debate. The tomato fruit/vegetable debate is so contentious now that they have to mute the microphones when the other is speaking, and the vegetable side just refuses to take part and goes off and has a big rally with lots of other vegetables so they can chant about locking up the apples. Anyway back to the carousel. It was opened in 1995. That was the same year I went strawberry picking in Denmark; strawberries are definitely a fruit, but I don’t eat them any more after that summer (yet I still love strawberry flavour things, like milkshakes). I’ve never been on it (it’s not really meant for me) but I think my son rode it when he was very small. It’s a nice thing to have in the middle of Davis.

A Decade of Let’s Draw Davis!

LDD Oct2020 Central Park sm In October 2010 I organized the first in a monthly series of sketchcrawls called “Let’s Draw Davis!”. We met in Central Park in the morning, drew all day, had lunch together, and met up again in the mid afternoon to look at each others’ sketchbooks. I had been on sketchcrawls in Davis before, advertised on the workdwide sketchcrawl forum, but after going to the Urban Sketching Symposium in Portland in the summer of 2010 (up to which point I had really not been getting ‘out there’ as an artist, except for being one of the original urban sketchers when that website launched) I scribbled thoughts and ideas into a notebook on the plane, one of which was that I needed to connect more with the local art community, meet other artists, encourage people to get out sketching, like Art Brut telling everyone to form a band. I wrote the words “Let’s Draw Davis” into my notebook and was struck with all sorts of ideas, the main one being that we needed a monthly gathering for people who wanted to draw, that would be free and organized with a start and end point, that would not be a ‘club’ or ‘group’ you had to join but an event anyone could feel part of, regardless of ability or experience. I had been on too many sketchcrawls where if you arrived late you wouldn’t know where the final meeting would be, or if you missed the middle point and they changed the final meeting you would be standing around wondering where everyone was (I’m looking at you, sketchcrawls in Berkeley years ago). It needed to be accessible, somewhere you could cycle to if need be, and IN DAVIS – this isn’t “Let’s Draw Davis And Sometimes Woodland Or Vacaville”, though they can definitely be things that should happen. I would put up posters in shop windows, make a website, put fliers in the local galleries, add things to social medias. I did all of that. I still make the posters, but someone else handles the Facebook group, and I’m not printing posters and putting them in Newsbeat like I used to. I am still making stickers, and recently I even tried to make badges. On that very first sketchcrawl I even made a few mini-sketchbooks, and brought extra pencils, so that if people asked what we were doing I could give them a book and a pencil and say, why not give it a go? I know of at least one person that actually worked for, and they went off and started drawing. The sketchcrawls haven’t always been monthly – been a few hiatus periods, such as this year with the pandemic, and also other years when I kinda stopped wanting to draw in groups (we all get like that; even now on sketchcrawls I still prefer wandering off on my own), but I have met so many great people, great artists, prolific sketchers that it’s been so totally worth it. It even kicked off a series of sketchcrawls when I organized a big sketchcrawl down the Fleet Street area in 2012 called “Let’s Draw London”, to celebrate the start of the new London Urban Sketchers chapter. They are still holding them monthly like clockwork there, big events with crowds of artists in all sorts of locations, called “Let’s Draw Trafalgar Square” or similar. I’ve had several other sketchcrawl ideas in California that haven’t been able to happen, such as my Sacramento Sketch Saturdays plan, or my big San Francisco Sketching and History Tour. But we still keep finding things to draw in Davis, even if it’s the same stuff in a different year.

davis sketchcrawl oct 16 2010

So after a year of pandemic and shelter-in-place and wildfires and election stress, I was determined to celebrate ten years of Let’s Draw Davis with a sketchcrawl in the same place, a decade and a day later.

LDD Oct 2020 simple

This was the poster, incorporating many of the posters I have designed (thrown together) over the years. Many fun ones; my favourite sketchcrawl might have been the 2017 City of Davis Centenary one, with the map of all the places that were there in 1917 and earlier (now go and draw them). So on this Saturday, we met at Central Park after most of the Farmers Market was packing up to go, and drew around the surprisingly busy park. It was a nice group of sketchers from around the region, a few new faces and several familiar friends. I drew the panorama at the top of this post. It was a hot day, with temperatures hitting 90 yet again, but pleasant. I stuck to the shade. I drew the compost heap area in the Central Park Gardens, an interesting little spot. 

 

LDD Oct2020 Compost sm I was going to draw the Carousel, but it looked a bit too complicated, so I chickened out and drew the statue of Gandhi instead. then we all met up and shared our sketching stories. Being a special sketchcrawl I had some prizes at the end, for the ‘sketch of the day’ (William Lum got this), for the ‘most sketches’ (Misuk Goltz won this), and a long-time sketcher award for Marlene Lee who’s been coming on these since Jan 2011 and has come to almost every one since. (I did have a couple of long-time-sketcher prizes for a couple of others but they had left early, so next time!) LDD Oct2020 Gandhi Statue sm And that was that! The next Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl will be a scavenger hunt on Saturday November 14, I’ll update the Facebook page  soon. In the meantime, here’s to more drawing Davis!

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

laid out on a grid of alphabets and ordinal numbers…

heidi's davis song mural
I am a little behind posting this, sorry… A few weeks ago, a new addition to the Davis artistic scenery was unveiled, as local artist/ceramicist/singer/great personality Heidi Bekebrede presented her brand new installation in Central Park, the ‘Davis Song’ mural. You would be forgiven for thinking Davis is a city of murals these days, with so many new walls of art appearing in the past couple of years, well this is one with a difference, and one which is truly all about Davis. For one thing, it is ceramic, made up entirely of tiles created and painted by Heidi, who is well-known locally for her ‘Cuteware’ range.

heidi bekebrede singing the Davis song at the mural
On Sunday October 6th, the mural was unveiled to a crowd of locals, decorating the rear wall of the new toilet building in the park. This is a perfect location – right by the Farmer’s Market, it will be seen by everyone for years to come. Around the edges of the mural the tiles represent each of the Davis schools; all the kids were delighted to find their own schools on the mural. Heidi has worked for years in schools bringing art and performance to local children, and the Davis song has been learnt by many kids. Oh yes, the song! The mural is based on her song all about Davis, which was originally written in the 1980s but was updated in 2007, as our small city has grown. The lyrics of the song are all over the mural, and Heidi sang the song with the audience, going through each tile representing a different aspect if Davis.

red bus tile on davis song mural

Oh yeah, and I am on it! One of the tiles was of one of the red London buses that grace the Davis streets, and it was based on my drawing of the red bus. My name is on the license plate! What an honour, thank you Heidi!

This colourful mural needs a lot of looking at, and there is a bit of Davis everywhere you look. I just had to come back the next week for a more detailed sketch, below:

heidi's davis song mural detail

You can see the lyrics of the song on the City of Davis website. And here is a link to a video posted on YouTube (by Bev Sykes) of Heidi singing the song at the event.

Congratulations Heidi!

frankie and the fabletones

frankie & the fabletones 100th gig
On Wednesday after work, which was nice and mild and not at all hot (I wish it would stay like this!), I went to Central Park in Davis for the Wednesday Farmer’s Market / Picnic in the Park. I was off to see Man of Steel that evening (very good movie; should perhaps have been called ‘Man of Who’s-Going-To-Clear-Up-All-This-Mess’). Before then however I wanted to see the local band Frankie & the Fabletones, who were performing their 100th gig. They played a selection of popular oldies (I really liked their version of “Leader of the Pack”) and even had a guest spot from the Mayor of Davis Joe Krovoza, who sang an Al Green song, “Take Me to the River”. One of the group’s lead singers is well-known and much-loved local artist Heidi Bekebrede (if you’ve spent any time in Davis you will have seen her ceramic work), who was also celebrating her birthday the next day. I sketched near the front, where little kids were dancing (not in the picture), along with the lady I sketched with the castanets. I didn’t have space to sketch the whole band, but there were at least a couple more members (some other time!). My wife and son came along for a while; he liked the music, drew a couple of race tracks in his sketchbook and then went off to the bouncy houses. This whole sketch took under an hour start to finish. I forgot my little water jar (again) but thankfully my wife had a little purse-mirror thing & some water, I didn’t want to use the waterbrush again. I always feel I have to sketch quickly when watching bands, as you never know how long they will actually be on (or in a certain position) but thankfully they did let us know. And I LOVE sketching to live music, it really helps the rhythm.