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.

how are things in your little world

south silo uc davis
Here’s a view that I used to sketch a lot more, but I got bored of it, as it never really changed much. It’s the South Silo at UC Davis, as viewed from the steps of Bainer Hall. I used to sketch it every six months in fact, once in winter, once in spring, tracking the changes. This past week I noticed however that it had changed quite dramatically – the big wild tree to the left of the leaning one was cut down, as were several other smaller ones near the Bike Barn, as the UC Davis South Silo area undergoes a major redesign. This is going to look pretty different. Here’s an article in The Aggie detailing how it will eventually look – quite a change, I think. More dining locations will be added (hooray!), plus a convenience store (I still miss the little one that used to be the Law Bookshop). It won’t be all done until next year.

While we are waiting, let’s go back in time and see what it used to look like….

heitman and south silo panorama
January 2015

view from bainer uc davis<
July 2011

south silo uc davis
January 2011

the view from bainer, again
June 2010
January 2010

bike barn from bainer
June 2009

January and March 2009

smoky and the bikebarn
June 2008

no leaves for you
January 2008

uc davis trees encore
July 2007

I will miss that tree.

goodbye euro 2016

Euro 2016 GER-ITA

What will you do, now that it has gone, now that it is over? Euro 2016 is finished, Portugal walked away as champions, and that is that, no more football for a little while. Well, the football wasn’t always of the highest quality – it is international football, it rarely is – but there were a few good games, and a few historic results. Here are the last few sketches I did during some of the games, starting above with Germany beating Italy. Sorry, technically Germany did not beat Italy (they never actually have, in a competitive tournament), they drew, and it went to penalties, hilariously bad penalties, penalties you would not believe. Simone Zaza. I did enjoy the creativity of Twitter after his very odd pre-penalty river-dance routine.

Euro 2016 POL-POR

Speaking of penalties, Portugal played out another draw, this time with Poland, beating them on swift and well-taken penalties. What else happened? Lewandowski scored in the 2nd minute making everyone think “this will be a great game!” but it wasn’t, and I can’t remember much else. Ronaldo probably took his shirt off.

Euro 2016 WAL-POR

Wales were the last British team to exit Europe (if only there were some useful contraction to describe that phenomenon). Seriously, Wales got to the semi-finals of the Euros. I was starting to imagine that they might in fact go on and Do A Leicester. It was that sort of year. In the end, they Did A Tottenham, sis us all proud but ultimately fell down just before the end. They wore that black and grey kit (I must say, I don’t like it much) to play Portugal (who also for some reason wore the away kit, that odd teal number (I don’t like that either). It was a decent match though, but Portugal had enough to get past the Welsh, who frankly suffered from losing two of their best players (Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsay) due to simple yellow cards (UEFA, your stupid rules ruin these tournaments). If they had played, I’m pretty confident it would have gone to 120 minutes or penalties, like all of Portugal’s games.

Euro 2016 FRA-POR

And so the Final at the Stade de France. Portugal looked like they were going to stand aside and let France do what was necessary in order to win the final at home, until they realized that France just couldn’t do much. Portugal defended rather a lot. It was a terrible game, but in the end Portugal won it with a wonder-strike by a player who Swansea didn’t think was good enough, Eder, a kind of modern-day John Jensen but in reverse. No, the Final was notable for two things – moths, and Cristiano Ronaldo. So the whole stadium had been invaded by billions of moths after some clever sod left the floodlights on all night. It was an invasion of moths. Anyway, a little while into the game, the Portuguese star Ronaldo was tackled and fell badly, his leg hurt. He tried to play on, like Gazza in 1991, but eventually collapsed. He sat on the pitch in tears waiting for the medics to come and get him. The camera did a close-up of him, and at that moment a moth came and landed on his face, as if to lick up his tears of sadness. What a cold, heartless moth. He was too sad to even swat it away. I know he gets a lot of stick, but I felt sorry for him, and he didn’t need some giant moth creature coming up and taking the mick out of him and feeding on his tears. I wondered whether the moth actually said something to him, like “Lionel Messi sends his regards”, Red Wedding style. All I knew is that when Ronaldo went off I knew, from the flashbacks to Gazza in the 1991 FA Cup Final, that this game would end up going to Portugal. And that’s how it went. It took a long time and a lot of very uninteresting football, but they came together and did their captain proud. He was Happy Ronaldo again by the end. Maybe that moth actually said to Cristiano, “don’t worry my man, we got this” and rather than just flying about randomly, they actually influenced the game, distracting French forwards, swerving the ball away from the goal, doing whatever meddling moths do. Remember that little moth Gandalf spoke to when he was imprisoned by Saruman on top of Orthanc? Same concept, but with football. Happy Ronaldo. Sad Messi, but that’s another story. So, Euro 2016 is over. The Premier League starts in August. Cannot wait…

saturday summer sketchcrawl

farmers market panorama july 2016 sm

This is the Davis Farmer’s Market, a sketch that I did while standing up for the best part of two hours, occasionally talking to people. It was busy, though by the time I was finished all the people had gone and the market stalls had all but packed up. This was the longest sketch I did as part of the “Let’s Draw Davis” sketchcrawl on Saturday, the return of the sketching meetups I used to organize monthly for a few years until my weekend days got just too busy. It was really nice to get out there and sketch with others again, see some old familiar faces, and meet some new sketchers too. We started off at Central Park, and I did some quick people-sketching in my Fabriano sketchbook, using pencil and watercolour. There was an even going on speaking up against oil trains, those big hulking freight trains that carry oil dangerously through residential areas (such as Davis). It was interesting to listen to, I support their cause and I sketched some of the speakers.
LDDjuly2016 Speaker 1
LDDjuly2016 Speaker 2
LDDjuly2016 Fireman Guy sm
Look at me sketching people eh. Below, some of the other sketchers. In the first sketch, of Sonja in the purple hat, I showed off my favourite tip for drawing people, draw a massive hat and avoid the face at all costs. No I’m only kidding, but it looks like that’s what I’m doing! I’m quite pleased with this sketch though, I like the way it turned out, full of character, showing the sketcher busy at work. The other sketchers drawn below are Kim, Sam and Peter, three different seated poses, three different angles.
LDDjuly2016 Sonja
LDDjuly2016 Kim
LDDjuly2016 Sam
LDDjuly2016 Peter

I used three sketchbooks on this sketchcrawl because I enjoy carrying loads of stuff around with me. No, Seawhite #4 was at a close (the Farmer’s Market sketch was the last double-page spread, though the penultimate sketch – I actually finished it next day sketching the Euro final). I enjoy the Seawhite of Brighton sketchbooks now, after seeing what other sketchers did with them when out in France last year, and I was pleased to see another sketcher, Peter, also using a Seawhite. I opened a new sketchbook, the Stillman and Birn ‘Alpha’ landscape, my third one of this particular model (though I have a few other sizes of the Alpha, it’s my favourite paper I think). I drew the newspaper boxes outside Peet’s Coffee in E Street, while my legs started to hurt from all the stand-up sketching. I need to use my stool a little bit more (but I do like having the elevated view of standing up).

E Street newspaper boxes

And then the remaining sketchers met up at the end to look at each others sketchbooks, which is always nice. We got a lot of very nice sketches done that day. Here is a photo I took of everyone holding up their books. By the way, we didn’t lay them all out on the floor and stare at them from six feet up like too many sketchcrawls do these days (pick them up! Pass them around!).  Some of the sketchers that didn’t make it to the end did come and find me before they went and I got to see what they had done, and a few others met me at De Vere’s afterwards having not been at the E Street Plaza end point, so overall it was a very nice day full of sketching in Davis. I do plan to restart Let’s Draw Davis on a monthly basis, but not until October, to coincide with my sketchbook exhibit at the UC Davis Design Museum. In the meantime, Davis sketchers, keep up the good sketching work!

Some of the Davis sketchers...

constructing the manetti shrem, part seven

Manetti Shrem Interior
I last posted construction pictures of the forthcoming Manetti Shrem museum of Art on the UC Davis campus back in April. A lot has been done since then – the canopy is now finished, the landscaping is ongoing, and (something I’d not thought much about) the interior is already pretty much complete! So, I was invited along for a special viewing of the inside (many thanks to Prof. Tim McNeil of the Design Dept for the opportunity!), and it was one of the first days that hard hats were not required inside, meaning I didn’t get my photo-op of sketching in hard-hat and fluorescent jacket (I only wanted that for the urban sketching street cred), but I got the full inside experience of how a brand-new museum is designed and completed. Every corner of it was so modern and cool, and the most amazing aspects were the sudden views outside, looking at how this building interacts with its environment but from an interior perspective. This really is going to be the most spectacular new building on campus, not simply functional but enlightening too, I think. After having a good look around at the future gallery spaces and imagining what artwork will grace its walls (I know that Wayne Thiebald made a big donation of art recently), I was able to do some art myself, sketching the above view of the main entrance area looking out toward the Mondavi Centre.

A few days later I came back to sketch outside at lunchtime, and rather than the wide-angle view I focused in on the same entrance area, but from the street looking in. You can see how it is all coming together now. Opens in November…
Manetti Shrem Museum of Art (under construction)

Here are the previous posts documenting the construction in my sketchbook…

PART SIXPART FIVEPART FOURPART THREEPART TWOPART ONE

fifth street on a sunday morning

5th St Panorama July 2016 sm

Carrying on the series of street panoramas going from 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and now 5th. This is Newman Chapel on Fifth Street, Davis, on the corner of C Street. I have drawn it before, a few times. But it is nice so it is always worth drawing again. If you live in Davis and are at a loss for something to draw, just come and draw Newman Chapel, it’s small and simple but pretty, and the light is usually good. I sat opposite on a nice Sunday morning on Independence Day weekend (it was the 3rd) (by the way I hope you had a fun Independence Day everyone in America! I just want to know, why do you have to have fireworks on a date when the sun goes down so much later than on the rest of the year? Could you not have declared Independence in, I don’t know, mid-October, or some time in April?* Then you can have fireworks at a decent hour and tired kids can get to bed a bit earlier, I’m just saying, it’s just a suggestion America, it’s too late now but any other countries wanting to declare independence should probably consider this. Just think of the children, the sleepy children!) (Actually I bet Jefferson and co did take the daylight thing into consideration, thinking “well, we don’t have electric lights and stuff so let’s have Independence Day on a day when people can celebrate in as much daylight as possible, yes that makes a lot of sense actually, and schools are out so kids can stay up as long as they want, what is a firework anyway,” that’s what Jefferson and co thought. It’s worth pointing out that schools are indeed out over here by this point, unlike in Britain, which I’m sure factored in the whole Independence thing too, “we’ll finish school when we want!” I’m sure the politically powerful Summer Camp Lobby had a say in matters as well, arguing for longer summers. I’m digressing well off topic here but can I just say, summers off school are very long over here and figuring out what to do with the kids all summer can sometimes be a challenge. We watched the fireworks in Davis from the Green Belt with all the other families in our neighbourhood, all the kids running around in the dark with their glow sticks, it was like a rave for very small tired people. The firework display itself was at Community Park, just opposite, but we avoided the throng of people over there who went to listen to live music and a poetry reading by the Davis Poet Laureate before the big firework s went off, staying in our little Green Belt park. It’s a very family atmosphere. Davis is a very family town.

This was sketched in the Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook #4, all ink done on site and coloured in later when I got home (after going for food and drink at some friends’ house).

*I just need to point out that in fact Independence Day should have been in April, it was signed 7/4/1776 right, which technically should be the 7th of April (think of Oliver Stone’s famous film ‘Born of the Seventh of April’), meaning you could have had fireworks after dinner and then got the kids to bed and still had time to watch a movie, but for some reason it isn’t. That’s fine, I totally prefer July anyway.