The Pitzer Center…finally finished!

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After more than a year covering its construction, preceded by several years sketching the old Boiler Building on this spot, then documenting its demolition, the Ann E. Pitzer Center is finally open. This is the new Music Recital Hall for the UC Davis campus, a state-of-the-art performance and teaching facility. This past weekend was the opening weekend of performances, and on Saturday evening I attended the Faculty and Students of UC Davis concert, choosing a seat near the back to not only get as good a view for a long-awaited interior sketch, but also to test the acoustics of this new space. They are very good. I drew most of the room before the performance started, and just added the performers of the first piece once they took to the stage; I spent the rest of the time just sitting taking in the beautiful music. Many of the performances were amazing, and so varied, a lesson in the history of music, but for me this first piece was the best bit. Members of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra played “Crisantemi” (“Chrysanthemums”) by Puccini, and it was just beautiful, haunting, elegant. The music comes right back to me when I look at the sketch. That is the thing about sketching – you can show, and you can even demonstrate your feelings in the lines, but unless you were actually there, you weren’t there, and I wish you could hear the music I still hear when I see it. I enjoyed this event, and the shiny clean newness of the building. I must make an effort to see some more events there.

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I did get an outside sketch of the back of the building before the concert, though it was a little rushed, and the green grass a little forced.

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I did do another one on Monday in pencil, of the view with the tall Sproul Hall behind it. I wanted to get one last sketch of this view, as this was the same view from when I sketched the Boiler Building back in 2011.And for all that I like this new building, and the beautiful music that it will host from here onwards, this view made me a little sad to think about the old Boiler Building, crumbling, idle, full of cobwebs and rust. I loved sketching that old place. Looking at Sproul in the background, though, I think I’m better at perspective now…

Old Boiler Building

Let’s Draw Davis! October 16, 2016

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Join us for another sketchcrawl in downtown Davis, on Sunday October 16th! We will begin at 10:30am, meeting outside the Amtrak Station (2nd Street), and then sketch individually or in groups (as you prefer), before finishing up at 3:30pm at Mansion Square (corner of 2nd and E Streets), to look at each others sketchbooks.

START: 10:30am, Davis Amtrak Station

FINISH: 3:30pm, Mansion square (2nd/E St)

This sketchcrawl will also be a scavenger hunt – I will provide a list of things to look for and sketch, see if you can sketch ’em all!

This is FREE and open to everyone who likes sketching, all ages and levels. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on!

FACEBOOK EVENT

I hope to see you there.
Pete

the scenery of san francisco

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Recently, for our anniversary, my wife and I took a couple of days down in the City. That is San Francisco to you. We stayed at the Fairmont Hotel, which is an old San Francisco spot of legend up on Nob Hill – it was here that Tony Bennett first complained to lost and found about losing a vital organ, through the medium of Croon. I’ve always wondered, is that song supposed to be a metaphor, or did he actually leave his actual heart lying around? And his other city based songs, is Chicago really just a tantrum-throwing two-year-old? I don’t know, Tony. I love San Francisco though, it’s honestly one of my favourite places in the world to be. I did leave a shirt there once, hanging in the closet in the Hyatt. Above, Crissy Field, out near the Presidio. We went to the Walt Disney Family Museum, very interesting.
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Our room had absolutely stunning views over the City. As the sun went down, before getting ready for dinner, I sketched a couple of the views – the peak of the TransAm Pyramid, golden in the sunset light, and Coit Tower, up on top of Telegraph Hill. I wish I were rich, I would just live in San Francisco for ever and ever and ever. It’s a city that is pricing people out though, so I don’t think drawing a few pictures and writing a few books is going to get me to San Francisco. When Tony Bennett sang that song, he was actually talking about having to farm out his own organs just to cover the rent. Ah, perhaps it’s for the best. One of the things I love about San Francisco is getting to visit it – it is so utterly different from Davis in every way, it’s always a nice change of scenery.
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I have sketched this big old church before, Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill. I did their Christmas Concert program a few years ago. Since we were staying so close I wanted to get a Sunday morning sketch of it in. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I drew in my new purple Leuchtturm sketchbook that I got in Manchester.
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After that, we went to ZineFest, and that was kinda fun. Actually probably enjoyed it more in previous years, I found fewer gems this time around, though I still spent on a few zines. I tended to buy some of the really random ones. We got the Muni back down to Union Square for a little bit of shopping; I bought some underpants at Uni-Qlo, I really like their underpants. I realize you don’t need to know that, but I’m just saying for those of you who also wear underpants (a good deal of you, I suspect), that Uni-Qlo do make really comfy ones. While my wife continued shopping, I sketched Tad’s Broiled Steaks outside, an old eatery on Powell Street. Always wanted to sketch this place, though I don’t of course eat steak. And there you are, San Francisco again. I want to go back!

Cruess

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Cruess Hall, UC Davis; this is where the previously aforementioned exhibition of my sketchbooks, “Conversations with the City”, is going on RIGHT NOW, Mondays-Fridays 12-4pm, Sundays 2-4pm, Sept 19 – Nov 13, at the UC Davis Design Museum. I sketched this on Sunday because I needed another sketch of Cruess for a different unrelated project. I haven’t actually had time to go and see the exhibit since it opened; this week has been a touch busy. Hopefully soon, I can’t wait to see what the folks at the UCD Design Museum have done!

Conversations with the City

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Opening next week, I have an exhibition of my sketchbooks at the UC Davis Design Museum titled “Conversations with the City“. The exhibition, curated by UC Davis professors James Housefield and Tim¬†McNeil, will display ten years of my sketchbooks, including every single one of those watercolour Moleskines, plus my fire hydrants (and other metal pipes) book from 2011, plus my recent accordion panorama of UC Davis, plus many more. You won’t be able to flick through the books, however there will be some sort of display where you can look through the digital scans of each book and display them on a screen.This will come with an opening reception with a special talk by myself on Thursday October 6th, from 6pm.

I can hardly believe it’s come around already. Posters have gone up all over campus, including some full-page ones, and above is one of the folded fliers from outside the Design Museum, which is located in Cruess Hall. There have been a couple of nice articles posted, one in the Davis Enterprise and one in UC Davis Dateline (“Our Urban Sketcher”). I’ve been sketching in Davis for over a decade now, and it’s really interesting to see the progression in my books, even just in the past few years. This year at UC Davis is called “Year of the Arts” – the Manetti Shrem will be opening, as well as the Pitzer Center, as you may have gathered from my many sketches of them – and in the posters my show is kicking it off, which is tremendously exciting; it’s actually my first proper exhibition on campus, believe it or not. The title of the exhibit comes from something I always say about sketching not just being about drawing your surroundings, but about interacting with them, having a conversation with your city, listening to it speak through the act of your drawing. Plus, fun fact, I actually talk to fire hydrants.

So if you are in Davis between September 19 and November 13, and would like to see my books on display, come along to the UC Davis Design Museum in Cruess Hall from Monday to Friday, 12-4pm, or on Sundays from 2-4pm. Entry is free. I’ll be in from time to time to have a look at them, so if you see me do say hello, I’ll be happy to ramble on about sketching, I’m never short of things to say on that subject! (Wait, come back! I haven’t told you about curvilinear perspective!”)¬† Or come along to the reception and talk on October 6th, when I will talk about my work, about Urban Sketchers, sketchcrawls, and Why You Should Keep A Sketchbook. I hope to see you there!

Announcement on UC Davis Arts website: http://arts.ucdavis.edu/exhibition/conversations-city-pete-scully-urban-sketcher

“Conversations with the City: Pete Scully, Urban Sketcher”, UC Davis Design Museum, Cruess Hall. September 19 – November 13, 2016, Mon-Fri: 12-4pm, Sun 2-4pm; Free.

 

hattie weber on labor day

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This is the Hattie Weber Museum of Davis on C Street. I have drawn it before, but this one was a request, and I always like drawing this place – it’s a very pleasant spot, especially at this time of year as the leaves start, if not actually changing, then forming groups to make inquiries about the prospect of thinking about changing. Summer is ending fast, Fall is here, and this was sketched on Labor Day, traditional boundary between summer and autumn. Well, in my mind anyway. and when I say tradition, I mean the last ten years. And not really the boundary, because it’s still really hot here, and the university is still in Summer Session. But schools are all in swing, and the Fall AYSO soccer season is now underway – I am coaching again. Busy times ahead!

along hutchison drive

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In July I started a new sketchbook, a long panoramic accordion Moleskine sketchbook, with the intention of doing some very long drawings on the UC Davis campus. As it turned out I managed three scenes, all on the same street (Hutchison Drive), though only in pen with a dab of colour here and there. If you click on the image above, you will see the whole thing in closer detail. Below, I’ve cut the three scenes down – still too long to see, so click on them for a closer view.

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First of all, the new Pitzer Center, still under construction in this sketch, on the left. A good place to start! Then, the Music Building, followed by Wright Hall and the Art Building. Good place to stop.

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Next up, the Silo complex, also under reconstruction. First of all you see Rock Hall, the Chemistry Building’s lecture hall. Next up, the back of the Bike Barn building, this side has been various things since I have been here, and I’ve sketched it many times. This whole area is being rebuilt and improved at present. Next up is the Silo itself, where I often eat lunch. I stopped once the sketch got across the street, where the Silo Bus Terminal is, and drew a tree as a dividing line to the next part.

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Finally, on the other side of the street, Walker Hall, which is currently empty but will eventually be completely renovated and this side rebuilt, when it becomes the Graduate and Professional Students’ Building. I think that is the name. IT’s going to be pretty cool, but I do like this building, and will probably draw it again…

This sketchbook will actually be on display along with many more sketchbooks in my upcoming exhibition, “Conversations with the City“, at the UC Davis Design Museum in Cruess Hall from Sept 19 to Nov 12. If you’re in town, do come by to see it!