The latest sketch of Walker Hall, UC Davis. The tiles are now stacked on the roof, ready to be laid, and some steel structures have been built around the entrances to the wings. There is also some extra steel framing on the roof of the wings. Long way to go but it’s coming along nicely! Want to see all my other Walker Hall sketches? Here is a handy Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/petescully/albums/72157678149480548
Last week, I co-led a couple of mini-sketchcrawls over a two lunchtimes called “Sketching Sustainability“. Here are my sketches… Above, the UC Davis Eco-Hub. Yes, part of the saem building as the Bike Barn, I have sketched this building so many times. You could say I recycled an old subject. The aim of this sketchcrawl was to draw things that promote sustainability on campus. The Eco-Hub obviously does that, so does the Bike Barn, because Bikes. However I did not know that the orange flowers in the foreground are also part of a sustainability thing, which is that the thing they are planted in is actually something that is designed to catch rainwater so that it doesn’t just go away. You can tell I’m not an expert, but it was explained to me and I thought it was cool. Below, some super quick cyclist sketches. I gave a quick demo on super fast people sketching. These were all very quick, just a few seconds of scribble, plus a few splats of paint.
Below is Nick Linda, a student in Sustainable Environmental Design who is also a tour guide. He introduced the theme of Sustainability at the start of the sketchcrawls. We didn’t have many people come, they were small groups, but people still did a lot of sketching. It’s part of the Cool Campus Challenge. We are trying to once more be the ‘Coolest Campus’. I know, I know, we already are, but in this case it’s do with with environmentally cool. Again, UC Davis should breeze that (pun absolutely intended, hey it’s me), but apparently Irvine won it last year so we have to show all the other UCs who is really Cool. Here’s a link to the Cool Campus Challenge: https://www.coolcampuschallenge.org/. By the way this sketch of Nick took about a minute and a half, I had to be quick because it was nearly my turn to speak. The main organizer was Camille, I didn’t sketch her, but she had made a whole bunch of sketchbooks for participants, or anyone who would like to join in, along with pencils and sustainable sharpeners (nail files! I’m going to use it as a sharpener now). I’m also going to stop using my pencil sharpener to cut my nails, that has been very painful.
Below is the Student Community Center, whee we started and ended our sketching. It is a Platinum LEED Building, which is very good (my building is Gold, which is also good, but this building I guess is just better). This is the rear. I sat down low on my tiny super-lightweight fold-out sketching stool.
And finally, well I can’t resist drawing these bins can I. Recycling is of course very much part of Sustainability. By the way, I have to say I’m glad I don’t work in Sustainability, because typing that over and over is quite tiring, it’s a long word. It’s hard enough for me to always be typing Biostatistics, my spell-corrector now just corrects it to the typos, I’ve done it so often. But I think perhaps Sustainability should use a smaller word, more carbon-neutral, easier to type out. Anyway! This was a fun thing to be involved with, great to raise awareness of Sust-y, I learned a few things myself and met some nice people. Many thanks to Camille and Nick for organizing it!
It’s not every day you see one of these! This is a DeLorean, in case you weren’t aware, a car from the early 1980s, made in Northern Ireland, but immortalized in some movie about time travel, you might know it. There is a DeLorean association in this area and on Picnic Day in Davis they are often part of the parade. After my son’s soccer game in the morning, we came downtown after the parade had already happened, and got ice cream. Well I didn’t get any because I am officially on a self-imposed diet. So, when we saw there were three DeLoreans parked along the sidewalk of E Street, I couldn’t resist stopping and sketching. Three DeLoreans! Well I assume there were three DeLoreans, it might have been one DeLorean visiting itself from the future (or the past). As I sketched, the owner of this one came by and we chatted, it was very interesting to hear about how the various DeLorean owners help each other out – owning a car like this you kind of have to become an engineer, and parts aren’t exactly easy to come by (the plutonium alone is tricky enough). As you can see I drew the wing mirror in on the other side before the car door was open; when they opened the door, well I just had to draw that. I’ve sketched a DeLorean once before, in the Automobile Museum in Sacramento. While I sketched, several young lads would come up and ask the owner to take their photos with it, even though they were born many years after 1985. My family came back, having eaten their ice-creams, and it was time to either go to campus for Picnic Day fun or go home for a nap. We chose the second.
Last Saturday evening, the weather was nice, and the daylight a little later than I was used to (it’s always a surprise, every year), so I took a walk downtown to do a little bit of sketching, a little bit of reading, have a few beers. I walked over to E St Plaza, where I noticed that local band Wealth of Nations were playing again; I’ve sketched them several times. I did this quick sketch below. After that, I went to the University of Beer, and sat at the corner of the bar. I have been planning my summer travels, going to the Urban Sketching Symposium, adding in a bit of Belgium as well, and a day in Paris. For some inspiration I re-read Lapin’s book of Parisian sketches, “Paris je t’aime”. The fellow sat next to me saw the book and was looking at it with me, I was telling him about Lapin and all the other Urban Sketchers, I didn’t mention about my own sketching but when it came time to get my sketchbook out he left me to it, I did manage to include his right hand and phone into the sketch though. Another bloke was sat to his right, reading a book. After a while they both left, and another pair of men were there, one of whom was one of those guys who was loud and a bit overbearing, I think he was quite a bit into religion and never paused for breath about how he “only respects people who know their purpose in life!” and “I don’t mind atheists but they have to know what they believe in or I can’t respect them!” He never seemed to take even a sip of his beer, all I could think was, mate are you drinking that or what? Some writers and sketchers take inspiration from overheard conversation, I on the other hand actively try not to listen to anything anyone is saying. I looked at my sketch, remembering the quiet reading man and the friendly man who liked looking at Lapin’s drawings. Eventually loud man and quiet friend also departed. I saw a couple of other faces at the bar I knew through soccer, said hello. Various sports played on the tv screens. The beers I had were the Russian River STS Pils, and the much more familiar Firestone Walker 805. I sketched the bar in dark blue pen. The walk home was nice; I’m trying to get my 10,000 steps in every day.
This is the corner of 1st and A. If Davis were a chessboard, this might be where you find the Rook. Davis would work well as a game of chess. In fact this might well be the middle of the board, because a game of Davis chess might be between the City of Davis and UC Davis, the natural delineation. Or it might be between the students, who spend just a few short but massively formative years here, and the residents, living here much longer-term and bringing up families. Or the chess game is the cyclists and the motorists (nah, in Davis the cyclists win that one). Perhaps it could be a chess game between the small businesses downtown and the big box companies just outside? Yeah, that’s been a game for quite a while now. Maybe the chess game is between the Davis Moms At The Park and Everyone Else. Or the chess game is between the Youth Soccer Teams trying to find a spot to practice at the park and the Youth Baseball teams trying to find a spot to practice at the park. Could be that the chess game is a downtown match between the Thai Restaurants and the Frozen Yogurt shops? Again, this could be happening. Or maybe the most thrilling chess game would be between the turkeys of Davis and the humans of Davis? Downtown Town would have been the king. I told you about Downtown Tom a long time ago, but come to think of it I never showed you the drawing I did for the Pence Gallery, I’ll have to dig that out. Downtown Tom, what a legendary beast, he was the Kasparov of Davis.
This is the corner of 1st and A. I have drawn this corner before, a few times, already. This building, a frat house (how could you tell?), was painted white before but is now custard yellow. I like the warning sign on the barrier, warning that it might drop on your head. It reminded me of the fate of Cyrano de Bergerac. “Mais on ne se bat pas dans l’espoir du succès, non, c’est plus beau lorsque c’est inutile!”
I still have some March sketches to post (a go-go-go sketchcrawl in Sacramento in an accordion book, and a relax-relax-relax vacation by the ocean in Huntington Beach), but it’s April now. Here is my first sketch of the month. I went down to the Arboretum and sketched the redbuds by the creek, and then went for lunch. April is here, and I have a few months before the summer travels. Belgium and Holland await. There are sketchcrawls planned – several sketching events in Davis, and I want to do that sketchcrawl historical-hunt in San Francisco (I drew a map on Sunday), but I think more than anything I want to lose a few pounds, so April is easing-myself-into-a-diet month. It won’t be easy but I’m going to give it a go. And then when I get to Belgium, I’ll put it all back in chocolate, waffles, beer and frites. So I need to clear some room. Spring is cleaning time too, and I have to clear my yard, it’s gotten a bit out of hand. I already organized my clothes drawers (though my closet is full of football shirts, which by the way necessitate the dieting). Then there is the Art Materials Cupboard. That is eternally out of hand. I don’t know if it’s ever been in hand. It’s the cupboard that whenever I get it all out to reorganize, my wife always says the phrase “oh boy”. Spring cleaning though, it’s not like when I was a kid. My mum was really into spring cleaning. When the curtains and nets came down and that bright April sunlight would stream into the living room, when you could only smell furniture polish and Windolene, when book shelves were cleared for scrubbing and dusting, that was when it was time for me to sneak off to my friends house for a game of football. Of course I could not escape the Spring Cleaning, and my room, usually impenetrable, would have to be cleaned. This usually started with my mum throwing all of my things onto the floor, and then I would have to tidy up from there, and I remember it was a very satisfying feeling to hoover the floor at the end. Anyway, with this sketch I decided to keep it clean, just the watertower shading and the still bright but starting to darken purple-pink redbud blooms.
By the way Davis folks, the next Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl will be at the Arboretum on Sunday April 14: https://www.facebook.com/events/838512119829255/
This is A Street, in Davis. Not “a street”, etc and so on. It’s a corner of Davis I have sketched before, etc and so on. But now, it looks different, etc and so on. I don’t constantly repeat myself, exactly, I prefer to say that I ‘rhyme’. I drew this on a rainy lunchtime, from the shelter of the Social Sciences Building opposite. This was previously Davis Textbooks, on the corner of 3rd St and A St, then it was empty, and now it has been completely refurbsihed and is going to be ‘iTea’ which I think is some sort of chain of boba tea outlets. At least I think it’s a chain, I saw one other, in ChinaTown in San Francisco, the other day. Wait, what, ‘boba tea’? Have I got that right? If so they have missed a trick. A mash-up between Boba Fett and Mr T would be the coolest thing ever. “I don’t hate Solo, but I pity the fool. No man gonna come between me and my bounty.” You can imagine the rest, all of the Boba Fett / A Team stuff, and putting the mohawk on the helmet and those wookiee braids mixed with feathery earrings, you can imagine the whole look yourself, it’s just generally a good idea. But this is getting away from the point, which I tend to do in these blog posts, etc and so on. They have cleaned the place up a lot, and given those bricks a nice lick of green paint. By the way that car, not the blue one but the other one, it looks odd, the front wheel is a bit too far back and it’s very close to the car in front. This is because at the moment when I got to drawing those bits, another car parked in front of me on this side of the street, obscuring my view, so I just drew the top of the car and improvised the rest. Look, a tree in the foreground, my signature. But what is this? A bike? I hate drawing bikes, I said so in the Davis Enterprise last week. Well, there were actually two bikes there, but I chickened out on drawing the second because as you know, the thing I hate more than drawing bikes is drawing two bikes.
This is what this corner of Davis looked like just a few months ago. Work going on in the street, the old Davis Textbooks sign was still up, the space was empty and someone had done a huge graffiti ‘Class of 18’ sign over the front. You have to admit that looked kinda cool.
In Spring 2014 it was still ‘Davis Textbooks’, though I don’t recall if it was actually in business. I only ever went inside there once, when my friend Tel from England (who himself sells textbooks online, now based in Japan) wanted to have a look. We used to work for a university textbook shop in Hendon. I liked this corner because of all the signs and poles and urban furniture all about. It’s the entrance to UC Davis, but looking down 3rd Street. Lots of bikes whizz past here. Hey look that same car is there, from the first picture. Its wheel is in the right place.
Back when I drew it in January 2008, in the days right before impending parenthood encouraged me to draw in landscape format, I only drew the street corner, with all the newspaper boxes that used to be there. It was a gloriously vanilla January day, with lemony sky and a kind of tarte flambee feel to the world, I have no idea where that is going. I painted the sky yellow before adding the blue is what I am trying to say, it was a thing I did then for some reason, I must have forgotten that is how to make the sky green.
So, another change to another spot in Davis. I’m glad I have been drawing it, and here again is the point of drawing Davis, capturing moments in time as well as space.