45 degrees at the university of beer

univ of beer, davis

This is another view of the University of Beer in Davis, California. I was there at the end of August, as I needed to go downtown to spend some time in the Avid Reader bookshop. I haven’t been in there in a while, and was in the mood where I just wanted to look through all the literature on the shelves. I bought a copy of ‘War of the Worlds‘; I’ve never read ‘War of the Worlds’, and when I opened the book the first word I saw was ‘Edgware’ so it was a sign I needed to read it. I actually worked in the Avid Reader years ago, when I first came to Davis. I still love the smell of the books. I thought about sketching in there, I haven’t done that in a very long time, but it was getting late so I went and sketched this bar a block away. I had wanted to add more colour, but was taking so long drawing. I had a couple of very nice beers there though. This was a test of perspective, with vanishing points at 45 degrees, and some curvilinear lines. Wonky in places (nothing to do with the tasty beverage, more to do with the tedium of drawing long lines. There seemed to be a fair bit of 1990s music being played. Including that utterly tedious Two Princes song that was on the radio constantly in 1993. This bar is pretty typical of Davis – busy at some points, almost empty at others, then a bit busy again, then very few again, so I drew whoever was standing or sitting when I looked in that particular part of the space; I suppose I drew the average number of players.  University of Beer; see also the ‘College of Cider’, the ‘School of Shandy’, the ‘Polytechnic of Porter’, the ‘Institute of Inebriation’, the ‘Academy of Ale’, etc and so on.


and so, september

farmers market, davis
The first day of the AYSO Fall soccer season, and my son’s game was being played later in the afternoon on this hot Saturday. Also, the Nations League – the new competitive international competition – had just started and England were going to play Spain. So before this feast of football I took myself down to the Farmers Market to do a little morning sketching. I drew in black, and added the colour with a little bit of coloured pencil. It’s been a while since I sketched here, and said hello to a few locals I know, and ate a nice pain-au-chocolat. Speaking of football, I have not yet done my annual MS Paint inspired run-down of the Premier League kits. I’ve been busy this summer, still trying to catch up. So it’s nice to come down and do a bit of sketching.

downtown in paint and pencil

1st st Davis
The next series of panoramas I did in the first part of August, when the sky was dull and dire and the air was a soupy paste, were outside campus in downtown Davis. The one above includes that white house on First Street, the Dutch-gabled building I have sketched before (I even sold a drawing of this house at the Pence Gallery once).
E Street Davis
Above, E Street, looking out at the heavily treed E Street Plaza, with Baskin Robbins on the left. This is a small pedestrianized part of the plaza, with a clock fountain, and a small area at the back where bands will sometimes play (such as the Wealth of Nations, a local band I have sketched there before). It is also popular with homeless people. The rest of it is a parking lot. I have heard there are proposals to do something with E Street Plaza, just early proposals, whereby the whole Plaza would be pedestrianized and become a new town square for Davis, which is something I would definitely support (if we can find alternative parking solutions downtown for those who drive, such as a new parking garage, who knows where though). I think E St Plaza does need a facelift.
Bistro 33, Davis CA

And finally, Bistro 33 on Third Street. Third Street itself has seen many changes over the past few years and further along it is undergoing even more, as it becomes a new interesting corridor for Davis between downtown and campus. This building though is part of the old building that was City Hall, as well as the police station and also a firehouse, as you can imagine with those big arched doorways. It’s a restaurant now. I stood outside on a Saturday afternoon and sketched in the heat until I was very tired, and then finished off the paint in the nearby Three Mile Brewing with a cold beer. The sky was a bit bluer this day, as the wind was blowing the smoke in a different direction.
5th street Davis CA
Finally, this one was drawn on 5th Street, the view of Newman Chapel, I have drawn this view several times before. The air was a bad on this day too. So, lots of panoramas this August! I’ve stopped now. Actually there’s one more interior panorama to come.

panoramas and poor air

hart hall panorama UC Davis
At the start of last month I opened a new sketchbook and had a burst of post-symposium “gotta-sketch-it-all”. What I wanted to do were more panoramas, however they take a long time and I wanted to go more quickly. Having been a big fan of Vincent Desplanche‘s work since meeting him at the USk France Rencontre in Strasbourg in 2015, I’ve wanted to try more pencil and watercolour panoramas. I had a bunch of new Palomino pencils my friend Terry sent me from Japan, which I wanted to try out as they are darker and softer than the usual H pencils I use occasionally. So I drew a bunch of panoramas over lunchtimes or after work or weekends, adding the paint on site, and I have to say that it was a quicker than the long pen ones but still felt time-consuming. For one thing, the pencil smudges a bit more, even after being coated with watercolour wash. That said, I really like the pencil and watercolour and it was fun to draw these. Here are three from campus. Above, Hart Hall, one of the more interesting looking buildings on campus. I have drawn it a few times before.

UC Davis MU terminal

One of the other details about this summer is the terrible air in California, brought about by all the huge wild fires. California is hot and dry and the fires have been really bad the past couple of years. This summer the fires made the air thick and smoky for weeks on end, as you can see with the two sketches above and below. The one above was sketched at the Memorial Union Bus Terminal on campus. I had walked across campus to drop something off at the International Center late one afternoon, and was going to catch the bus to go home, so I sketched this at the bus terminal while waiting. The air made me feel so physically sick that I had a huge headache and a nasty sore throat. This was one of the worst air days I’ve experienced here. One thing that often happens here in summer is on the very hot days we have ‘Spare The Air’ days, when riding on buses are free. I think this year we had eighteen spare-the-air days in a row. In the sketch above there is an ironic sign – we are a smoking-free campus (good), and the sign reminds us we are 100% smoke and tobacco free. Well, not so much on this day.

UC Davis Silo food trucks

The one above was sketched on the next day at the Silo. The air was still bad, but felt significantly better. Why go out and sketch in it? I still needed to sketch, and this is where I come to eat. This one was an easier and quicker sketch, not really too much detail, just a fun piece of perspective. The food trucks and the large sloping shade thing were added last year to the redeveloped Silo area. I have a few more of these panoramas to post, sketched in downtown Davis.

metamorphosis of walker hall

walker hall 080218
Some of you may recall that I enjoy drawing the in-progress construction (and deconstruction) of buildings on the UC Davis campus. For example, the construction of the Manetti Shrem (completed 2016), and the long removal of the Boiler Building and replacement with the Pitzer Center (also completed 2016 – see the sketches from that project in this Flickr album). So when I was told a few years ago or so that the empty Walker Hall, a historic E-shaped building in the middle of campus, was going to be completely reconverted to house the new Graduate Center, I was super excited. I’m a big advocate for graduate studies on campus so am pleased they will be getting a modern new space, while still reusing an existing building. I started sketching the renovation already back in May, and drew it quite a few times in its previous dormant state, but this summer the real work began, so when I got back from Portugal I took the sketchbook over and started sketching from the outside.
walker hall 081418
walker hall 081518
As you can see, the whole building is empty now, leaving the shell. It looks like the wings at the rear of the building will be slightly shorter than they originally were, but that is where the largest degree of change will happen, and will be completely modernized – the front however won’t look too different.
walker hall 081518
Above and below, sketched from the side closest to the Shields Library. The Graduate Center will be located in between the Shields Library and the Student Community Center.
walker hall 081618
The most recent sketch I did is below, stood across the street outside Everson. It’s hard to see a lot of the building because of the trees and trailers in the way, but it’s a hive of activity. I’m looking forward to sketching some more as the year goes on. It’s expected to be completed by Spring 2019. You can find out more about the Graduate Center at the Grad Studies website, and also at at the Design & Construction Management site.
walker hall 082918

summer dragging on

3rd St Davis

A more recent sketch now, later in August, from Third Street in Davis. I have sketched this row a few times now, and the shed opposite has had that colourful pattern on it for a few years now. I’m sure I have sketched it pre-paint-job but I don’t recall when. The shop on the left is Boheme used clothing, I have sketched that colourful building two or three times now. This was sketched on a Saturday afternoon when I needed to go out and do some drawing, but it was so hot and I was feeling tired, so rather than a big panorama I just did this. I have big panoramas I want to draw but sometimes I forget they take so much longer and my tolerance for standing in the heat and drawing things I have, well, sketched a few times before (ie most things in Davis) is low sometimes. I can’t wait for October, which is one of my favourite sketching months in Davis, as it starts getting a bit cooler, the leaves start crisping up and glowing with colour, and Halloween is just around the corner. For now, still getting through the long dry summer.

back from outer space

De Veres July 2018
After I got back from Portugal, I had a hectic week (few weeks really) trying to settle back in. Busy work, busy life, jet lag, waking up at 3am every day, and the insatiable urge to just KEEP ON SKETCHING. It’s hard to explain the urge to draw stuff all the time. It’s probably less hard to explain coming back from a place like Porto where everything is a sketch waiting to happen, to Davis, which as we have seen over the past decade or so is worthy of a few sketches itself, but Porto it ain’t. You can only beat the team you’re playing, as they say, and since coming back I have ramped up my sketching of Davis once more after a relatively uninspired and fallow period. I’ve sketched almost everything I’ve wanted to sketch, so it comes down to sketching some of the old favourites just to keep the pen working, so one evening I popped once more to my local pub De Vere’s, always a nice place to hang out, and flexed the old ink muscles. This sort of drawing is about observing lots of detail, tackling interior perspective, and having a nice cold beer while you’re at it (the weather was so hot this summer). What’s more, I drew the pub from the outside a few days before: see below.
De Veres July 2018

And as you can see, I also drew a Davis fire hydrant. These finished off my Seawhite sketchbook so that it was completed in July.
hydrant E & 3rd

Now, I have a few more London sketches (and accompanying stories) to post, and then a bunch of new Davis panoramas I’ve been doing, but in the meantime I think I’m going to go out on this fine Saturday and do some more. I also need to get on setting the dates for the next few Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawls so stay tuned for those. My recent sketching travels has filled me with a new sketching-energy I want to share.