Let’s Draw Davis – Centenary Sketchcrawl

LDD March 2017 b2

Now the sun is back out, it’s time for another sketchcrawl in Davis!

Join us on Saturday March 25th, 2017 for a special ‘themed’ sketchcrawl in downtown Davis. The them will be “100 Years of the City of Davis”, and we will explore the buildings and objects (and people??) that have been in Davis for a century or more. This month, March 2017, marks 100 years since Davis was granted a charter to become a City formally called Davis (having previously been known as Davisville, until the Post Office started shortening it to just ‘Davis’ a few years before). (Hey perhaps I should organize an even older themed one called “Let’s Draw Davisville”?)

Let’s meet at 10:30am outside the Dresbach Hunt Boyer Mansion on the corner of E and 2nd Streets. There’s a little area with some seats which is nice. I will be creating maps showing where many of the 100-year-or-older spots are in Davis, and then you’re on your own to draw and explore. If you have a bike you can go even further afield, such as the old 1908 buildings on the UCD campus, but many old sites are within a short walk of each other in the old downtown area.We will then reconvene at 3:30pm back outside the Dresbach Hunt Boyer Mansion to show each other what we have done, and see how much of old Davis we have caught on paper.

Ads always this sketchcrawl is FREE and open to ANYONE who likes to sketch. You may be a beginner wanting to learn from sketching with others, or an old hand who just needs to get out and draw stuff, you can sketch alone or in groups, you can stay from start to finish or just come along and do one sketch and that’s that, it’s totally up to you. this is an excuse to draw, and excuse to look around our town (I mean, our City), and learn a bit of history through your sketchbook.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Facebook Event Page


the bees are buzzin’ in the trees

black bear diner 2017 sm
Here is another one from just along the street to the Turtle House and the Barovetto House. Click on the image for a closer view.  I’m slowly making my way along 2nd Street. Here is the Black Bear Diner, where you may occasionally find me on a Sunday morning, getting fat. My son loves it here, and when he was a toddler we would come here for breakfast at just about the time that the local firemen would come in; he was a big fan. Black Bear Diner is a thing in the western U.S. They don’t actually get to dine on anything with real black bear in it, it’s just the general theme. Nor is it, as people often think, a restaurant themed about a pirate who is in the Emergency Room, that’s a common misconception I’m sure the waiting staff are tired of having to point out. I first went to one up in southern Oregon, where I had “cinnamon roll French toast”, and I basically haven’t lost weight since. Nah I’m kidding, it’s the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs wot did it, guv. To be fair I come here like once every couple of months at most. That is often enough though. It’s like when I draw a pub, you might get the impression, oh he’s a regular. Well I may be, but those two sketches were the two times I went there that year. Similarly I don’t draw everywhere I have been or everything I have seen. I’ve not drawn a fire hydrant in ages, but I still look at them and say, “Oh, cool hydrant. Hi. I’m Pete. Sorry, no I’m not talking to a fire hydrant, I’m er, on the phone.” No, If I drew what I did the most this blog would be full of Lego drawings, hah! Oh right, it is. By the way, spoiler alert, there are WAY more Lego drawings yet to post. You ain’t seen nuffink yet. Speaking of volume of sketches, you know I do those things every year where I show all the drawings from that year in one post, well this year I’m already in the same row I was in last year by May. 2017 for me is strangely prolific, like I’m sketching to avoid the daily news or something.  Last year if you recall I was drawing loads of people, for my book  “Five-Minute-Sketching People”. That’s Five-Minute as in period of time, not a quintet of sketching-people who happen to be really, really small. Or maybe not… Here is an idea, at the next event I do I will talk about that book and I will pronounce it as “Five Minute…” with minute being pronounced like the word meaning really really small, and people will be confused and I’ll say, no honestly, that’s how I meant it to be pronounced, and they will think about it for a while, then get the joke and they’ll laugh and say, haha you’re so funny. Or maybe not… Yeah, maybe not. I’ll still do it. This time last year I was writing that book, it was a really fun experience, I really enjoy the process of writing. Though, it did include many late nights. I discovered that a lot of writing involves just staring out of the window for hours, and then at 2am writing 500 words. I thought to myself that if someone ever asked me to sign a copy, I would promise to sign it in the manner of how I wrote it, that is staring at it for hours and hours and then finally at 2:30 in the morning signing my name and saying, phew I’m beat, I need a cup of tea. Of course, I wouldn’t really do that. Or maybe not?

I don’t mean to ramble, but I always do. I’m actually a really quiet person, I don’t usually say anything. So anyway… the sketch. This was done in a Stillman and Birn Beta softcover landscape book, one of the last ones in that book. I have since started a second such sketchbook, and I can heartily and artily recommend them. The soft cover means I can bend the page around making it easy to hold, but it also produces great panoramic sketches, like this one. This took me a couple of lunchtimes to draw, and I had to finish off the colour back home.

turtle recall

Turtle House
Here’s another old house from 2nd Street near campus, one house down from the Barovetto House. I don’t know if this has a name but I’ve heard it referred to as the “turtle house”. It has a big turtle thing hanging from the gables. It always looks very festive and colourful. Oh by the way, sorry for the lack of updates of late, been super busy lately. I’ve been sketching though. So, back to this one. I’m getting conscious of the whole ‘drawing the whole of Davis’ thing, and when I start thinking about it on a building-by-building basis I think, yeah I’m getting there but wow, actually I’m nowhere near. I suppose I need to make a list of all the spots and scenes in Davis I am yet to sketch, all those ones I cycle past and say, oh I gotta sketch that some day, and then draw them this year. And next year and the year after… There is always more to sketch. And then things look different depending on the time of day – so many times I pass something at 7:45 am or 5:30pm, or in January or July, and make a mental note to come back and sketch  it, but at lunchtime in March it looks totally different, changing light, changing seasons, and sometimes it makes it less interesting to look at for an hour. In a place like Davis where the bright sun casts dark shadows that can be tricky; in a more regularly overcast place light diffuses more evenly, but you don’t get the pretty shadows. I love going out drawing stuff. Sometimes it is better to just get on a bike, bring a sketchbook, and go around looking for a sketchable scene, but in these times when every minute is precious, a bit of forward planning is a good idea.

Update 3/15/17: check out this interesting article about the Turtle House in the California Aggie…

history on fourth street

This is the stretch of 4th Street, Davis, between E and F. These grids seem like a game of Battleship sometimes. You could probably play Battleship on a US city map. “A-2nd!” “Aw, you sunk my SUV.” Actually a Davis version of Battleship would have bikes and double-decker buses. And skateboards too, we have lots of those. It’s like Hill Valley. I saw someone on one of those motorized skateboards the other day. No, not those rubbish hoverboards with the glow beneath it, I mean an actual skateboard, but with the wheels moving by motor. Now, the white house on the far right (dammit, I hope this won’t come up in internet searches of ‘far right’ and ‘white house’, I’m sure there are many) is Cooper House, I have drawn it a few times before. The large yellow building on the left, hiding behind the tree, I don’t know if that is anything special but it houses an electronics company now, I think, I don’t know. I promise I’m not fake news, and I’m certainly not fake sketches.Anyway the small house in the middle, now that one is the historic building known as the “First Presbyterian Manse”, at 619 4th St, and this was built in 1884. 1884! That is a pretty old building for Davis. It is in the ‘Classical Revival’ style, and looks goshdarn good for its age. The first person to live there was Rev. J.E. Anderson. Remember I mentioned Hill Valley from Back to the Future, well when Marty and Doc were sent into the Old West, that was 1885. If Davis were Hill Valley, and Hill Valley is meant to be in the general part of California, then this house would have been there. This is from cowboy times. “Cowboy Times”, haha, that sounds like the sort of newspaper that would be allowed into WH press briefings. Well, this is the latest in my two-page panorama sketches. You can click on it to see it embiggened. If you’d like to see more such sketches, go to my Flickr album ‘panoramas’: https://www.flickr.com/photos/petescully/albums/72157647926718773

maybe i don’t really wanna know

south silo construction (cont...)

Construction continues at the UC Davis South Silo area. Here’s what it looked like the last time I sketched it in November (aka “OHGODNOOOO!!!-vember”). That roof is really coming along now. Here is what it looked like last August, almost the same view as this one.Those triangular roofs look like a mountain range, or the crests of a cliff face. This sketch is a bit like one of those “puzzles” people post on Facebook, “how many triangles can you see in this image?” Don’t answer it, there are just loads. Honestly. You like all those puzzles and posts though don’t you, those “Can you see the Math problem? Only one in ten can!” and it’s like 10-5 or something, then you realize the problem is the word “Math” but it’s only a problem if you’re British and a stickler (let me just say, I work in the same building as the Math department whereas I work for “Stats”, amusing observation on usage of plurals in the abbreviated form. Look I’m not going to go on about this, you know I would, but it’s late on a Friday night and I’m tired and a bit hungry.) My favourite ones are the posts that state, I’m honestly not making this up, things like “Try to name a Song which has a colour in the title. It’s harder than you think!!” Um, no, it’s really really fecking easy, there are literally millions of songs. Yet you see the comments afterwards, everyone’s coming up with the same “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon” shite as if they have discovered something unique and obscure, well done you, well done, pat on the back, good job remembering the most basic things. Ok, here I go, they’re too easy a target, stupid Facebook posts, I apologize, it’s late on a Friday. Oh but those other ones I hate, “Do you remember [insert name of chocolate bar here]?” And everyone’s like, “yeah I remember those! God that brings me back. Gawd, eating a [insert chocolate bar here] after school, covered in mud, no such things as video games back then, we had hula hoops if we were lucky, eating a [insert chocolate bar here] after saving up my pennies, gawd didn’t have video games and iPods in those days, made our own entertainment, didn’t have immigrants either, etc etc ad infinitum.” You’ll notice that is less realistic than the real thing, on the real Facebook they reach the inevitable immigrant conclusion of their random journey down fake memory lane much more quickly, at least on the FB memory-sharing groups I have seen and subsequently unfollowed. And the funny thing is, that [insert chocolate bar here] is still bloody available! Still in the shops. Those ones are in the category of “do you remember…” posted by people who are actually goldfish with zero memory of anything. “Do you remember Twix?” “Do you remember the sky?” “Do you remember the concept of time and space?” Sorry, sorry, Facebook is too easy a target. Actually I haven’t posted on my Facebook page (petescullysketcher) in ages. It’s probably FB fatigue, we’re all getting that. Undoubtedly it’s also laziness. It’s also because nobody remembers anything when I post “Do you remember…” posts, nobody remembers any of it, like it’s too obscure. “Do you remember … where I put my gloves?” “Does anyone remember … next Thursday?” I don’t really connect with Facebook any more, I don’t really get it. The Next Big Fad hasn’t arrived yet. Wow, where did this stream of nonsense begin? (Skims backwards through the post) Oh right,”Triangles”. How many triangles in this image? I don’t know, it’s late on a Friday night, I really want a chocolate bar, and I can’t remember where I put it, and I’m not asking Facebook, because they can’t remember anything.

I hope you like the sketch!

and every day leaves another scar

chase bank e street, davis
Swanson's Davis

Here are a couple of downtown Davis sketches from the little area of E Street between 4th and 3rd, because I’m checking off every building in Davis now, check check check. One thing I am doing actually, after eleven years in this town, is going through all of my sketches and finding one Davis sketch for each day of the year. The sketch has to have been done on that particular date. So far I’ve gone through ten months of dates and the average is 2-3 dates per month that I never sketched Davis (sketches of Lego or things at home, or other places like Sacramento do not count, has to be Davis). That isn’t bad going. Now then I have a list of dates I need to sketch Davis on, and then I will come out with a big calendar showing what Davis looks like on each day of the year, it’s quite an idea. Problem is, I had the idea in February so the three missing days in January are going to have to be sketched next year, or perhaps I just “alternative-fact” them. So the top one is Chase Bank, I remember when this used to be Washington Mutual, remember them eh, the old WaMu. Funny, nobody says ChaBa. Except Shabba Ranks. Oh now that brings me back to the early 90s! Actually can I come back, I kinda hated the early 90s. Well, love-hate. At least I was young. The one below it is Swanson’s Cleaners, which is closer to F Street so has an F Street address. It’s important to get things right, in this day and age. I drew this because I needed to sketch on my birthday. Aging, slowly aging. Actually can I go back to the early 90s again, at least I was young, I’ll put up with Shabba Ranks and Apache Indian and Ace of Bass, even Spin Doctors (actually, not them). I used to watch that late night show with Terry Christian, The Word, that was how the yoof got their yoof cultcha. Actually I did like watching Gary Crowley on The Beat, that was a good show. Oh nothing against The Word, I enjoyed that too, but The Beat was better. Jools Holland was always great but featured a lot of stuff beyond my musical comprehension, clever music with more than four chords. The ITV Chart Show was alright, for catching up on music videos, i remember seeing Pulp on there for the first time, that song “Lipgloss” which features my favourite lyric ever: “And your stomach looks bigger and your hair is a mess and your eyes are just holes in your face.” Yep, that is me, now. I also recall getting into St. Etienne after seeing one of their videos on TV one Friday night. Fell utterly in love with Sarah Cracknell. I went to Loppylugs, local record shop in Edgware, and bought the 12″ of “Who Do you Think You Are?” I got it home and it was scratched so I took it back. Same thing happened. I took it back again and the third one was ok, though it did jump a little. I still have it. That was the big risk with buying vinyl. But every time I hear the opening of that song I still anticipate the scratch, and I still think of Friday nights watching music shows on telly when I was sixteen or seventeen.

What the bloody-hell all of this has to do with a drawing of a bank and a dry-cleaners though is beyond me, but thanks for listening…

phoenix house

phoenix house f street davis
Here is a building from downtown Davis called Phoenix House. It’s called that because of the Irish word for ‘water’, Uisce (see also whisky), or clear water to be precise, ‘fionn uisce’, anglicized as ‘phoenix’. Actually, no it doesn’t. I’m thinking of Phoenix Park in Dublin. There is a Phoenix Park in Sacramento as well but that isn’t a real park let alone have anything to do with phoenixes or water, clear or otherwise. Ok it might be a real park, I don’t know. Quit with all the sidetracking, this isn’t a Twitter comments thread. Phoenix House in Davis is named after the Order of the Phoenix. No, it’s not that either. Perhaps, and this is the most likely and believable story (with zero evidence, but when does that matter any more eh), it was a house that burned down and was rebuilt, hence Phoenix reborn from the ashes. A bit like La Fenice, the grand opera house in Venice. You know I could look this up and do some actual research, but alternative facts are the order of the day. Reality has become so quantum, we will have to start naming the different Earths soon, like in the Marvel Universe. Perhaps this was named for the famous but under-reported Phoenix Green Massacre. Or it was named after the classical Mesopotamian King Phoen the 9th. Or maybe seven guys whose initials spelled out PHOENIX, Paul, Horace, Oswald, Elliot, Norman, Isaac and Xavier, and they ran an independent pony express (or ‘Pon-ex’ as they sometimes called it) firm from that very spot. You don’t know. I could make it all up. I could have invented the whole building. That car might have been red, those windows might have been triangular. Sad! Anyway none of that is the case, and this is Phoenix House on F Street (or “Ph Street” as I call it), and one day I promise I will learn about its history, but whether I believe it or not is something I cannot tell.