three colors davis

chemistry building uc davis

This is the Chemistry Building, well behind those trees there. I wanted to sketch this now, at the height of the Davis summer (well, now kids are back in school and AYSO practices start soon, summer is really kinda going away…temperatures aren’t though!). I have sketched it twice before in the past year, once in Fall and once in Spring. Spot the difference. I will sketch it once more, in about five months when those trees are leafless. A year in Davis. See, we have seasons too…

chemistry buildings, uc davis
Leap Day 2016 UC Davis


d street in davis

D St Pano Aug 2016 sm

Here is a panorama I sketched of D Street, Davis, last Sunday afternoon. It was a desperately hot day, and uncomfortable standing there for two hours sketching on loose sheets. I drew this over two sheets of Stillman and Birn ‘Alpha’ paper and joined them together to make the panorama – this isn’t in my sketchbook, it is to be framed for the Pence Gallery’s annual Art Auction. That is the Pence there on the right. The Art Auction will run from September 2-17, with a Gala event on the 17th itself. The building on the left was, for a while, “Art Is Davis” (I took part in a joint show there a couple of years ago), and before that was a shop called “Antiques Plus”, but now the building is home to “Land Home Financial”. Things do change. Last time I sketched this scene, the building on the far right of the drawing did not exist, but was put up last year (I did a sketch of the construction but haven’t yet drawn the finished product on the street, except here). On the far left, the Mustard Seed restaurant still going strong, but I’ve not eaten there in a few years (it was quite fancy, I must go back some time with my wife). This is a classic Davis view, and always fun to draw. This is my eleventh summer in Davis. Summers here are long, and dry.

the all-new all-different MU…

MU Aug 2016
Okay, we’re at the halfway mark for Manchester sketches so I thought we’d bring it back to Davis for a bit before resuming the symposium story. This is the current state of the Memorial Union at UC Davis – the shiny new bookstore is now open, but the rest is still under a lot of reconstruction. The UCD Bookstore by the way does stock my book, if you’re interested! the renovated and revamped MU is expected to reopen in December, I can’t wait to see how it finally looks. My son for one is eagerly anticipating the reopening of the bowling alley; he had his birthday there last year and has missed it terribly. Once it’s all done, I will sketch the end result. More change at UC Davis!

de vere’s from left to right

De Veres Aug 2016 sm
Actually, before we get back to Manchester, here is a sketch I did last weekend right here in Davis. Click on it for a closer view. This is De Vere’s Irish Pub on E Street, which eagle eyed observers will have noticed I have sketched before. I did some thinking about the old curvilinear perspective recently, and how I need to really get it into the sketches more. I do anyway, of course, but I haven’t been doing many where I get both the left and right vanishing point into the picture, so that’s what I did here. I needed to practice it again somewhere familiar, so it was back to the very middle of the bar, similar to the first time, back in 2011. I coloured the page first in a red and orange wash, for some reason, meaning I ended up with a peach coloured background. This took about two and a half hours, or three pints of Smithwicks. It was strange not to be sketching at a bar where every single other person was also sketching (like the Peveril of the Peak!). I had just been to see Suicide Squad, which was, well it was better than Batman v Superman, for sure. A terrible plotline with a lot of problems, but overall not an unwatchable movie, and both Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn were good. Jay Leno as the Joker was very different from the other Jokers, not awful but the jury is out for many, though I am well impressed at how different Jay Leno looks from his cuddly talk show persona. I do like the post-movie pub-sketch, with all the sketching ideas bubbling around my head from Manchester sometimes you just need to unwind and get them out. The first few days back my sketching was a bit of a choke but with this and others since I have kicked back into gear, and now I’m heading towards my sketchbook show at UC Davis this Fall, “Conversations with the City”. Details to come soon!

round our way the sun shines for ya

Davis Community Church

Before I dive into the Manchester posting I thought I would jump back to the present day (Manchester was like less than two weeks ago) and show you some of what I’ve been doing since I got back. Here is Davis Community Church, on 4th Street, sketched while squeezing the curving perspective lines to fit the image in. In truth I wasn’t actually squeezing them – this is how they looked from where I was standing. As you get closer to a building those parallel perspective lines to curve more. I have wanted to redraw this building for a long time so this was a fun way to do so; after taking Paul Heaston’s workshop in Manchester I realized I need to squeeze in those perspectives even more, to get the bigger picture. I had just gotten my hair cut (finally! it was too long while I was in Manchester, too long for me) and the weather was hot but not bad. My body was aching and tired still after my trip back, my back being still a bit stuff from the cramped journey across the Atlantic. Although I complain there’s nothing left for me to draw in Davis, it’s still nice getting back to the old familiar streets.

waiting for jungle curry

sophias thai kitchen, davis
While waiting for my food at lunchtime yesterday, I sketched the scene ahead of me quickly into my Miquelrius notebook. Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, on E Street, Davis. I had the ‘Jungle Curry’. I like that one a lot. I do like my curries at Sophia’s.

a red BMW for Florian

Red BMW for Florian 071716

I walked around downtown in Davis yesterday looking for a car to sketch in tribute to Florian Afflerbach – Flaf – who passed away recently, far too young, far too soon. I could have drawn any of the scores of beige Toyotas or silver Hondas parked along the street – it was Florian who taught me to see the beauty in the form of a car, or a modern building – but I saw this red BMW parked along 2nd Street, and immediately I thought of the BMWs Florian, himself from southern Germany, had drawn. I sketched in pencil and watercolour, with Florian in mind. I felt pretty sad though, remembering Florian; in the spread about drawing cars in my book Creative Sketching Workshop, I mentioned Florian as one of my main inspirations. I think it’s hard to sketch cars and not think about him.That’s a feeling that will be shared by many at this year’s Urban Sketching Symposium in Manchester. The participants in this year’s symposium were asked to draw a car as a tribute to Florian, and this one is mine.

I sketched this on Stillman and Birn ‘Alpha’ paper, in pencil and watercolour rather than my usual pen; I think Florian would have been proud of me. Still can’t believe he is gone.