I’ve been a bit slow with posting this year. My sketching numbers are down too; but then again, 2016 and 2017 were a little hard to beat for sketch volume! I have a fair number of recent sketches still to scan though, but before we get on with those, here are the two I did on the last Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl, which was on a lovely sunny-after-the-rain morning at the Farmers Market. The trees were painted in exciting colours. We had a good turn-out, I talked a bit about drawing crowds and perspective (remembering all the things James Richards once taught me). These trees are almost all leafless now, as we hit mid-December. There were a lot of locals out this day, gearing up for the festive season. Below, sketched from almost the same spot but looking in a different direction, across C Street to the rear section of Davis Community Church.
Let’s do some sketching! The November ‘Let’s draw Davis!’ sketchcrawl ended up not happening (due to all the unhealthy air) but it’s time for another sketch-crawl meet-up, this time at the colorful Davis Farmer’s Market. Just a short one this time, 10:30-1pm, but enough to get a few bits of sketching in.
We’ll meet up at the benches by the Carousel in Central Park (located between B and C Streets, the Carousel is about in the middle of the park, just past the market), and then do some sketching around the market and the park, before meeting up again at B and 3rd St, at the entrance to the Davis Bicycling Hall of Fame at 1pm (which provides a nice shelter if it rains). At the end we look at each other’s sketchbooks and, if you like, share our sketching methods.
START: 10:30am, Central Park (C St / 4th St) at benches by the Carousel)
FINISH: 1:00pm, B St / 3rd St (outside Bicycling Hall of Fame)
As always the sketchcrawl is FREE and open to anyone who likes to sketch, and meet others who also like urban sketching. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on.
Hope to see you there!!
Event Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/543061586165953/
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.
Hello folks! Sorry about the blogging break! Been very busy lately, settling into the new job, also coaching soccer again, also a little bit of travel (a couple of days in LA helping my friend from England celebrate his 40th birthday), and a slow-down in the sketching (but only a slow-down, not an actual break…never an actual break!) Also I just have had a lot of things piled on top of the scanner and you have to move it to scan things and…excuses, excuses. So I am up super early today watching Tottenham beat Huddersfield (it’s 3-0 at half-time, Harry Kane is giving a masterclass) and it seemed like a good time to start catching up. So, this sketch is of the Davis Farmers Market and I drew it at the August “Let’s Draw Davis” event, which are still going monthly, this one was organized by fellow Davis sketcher Alison Kent. I stood and sketched this among the Wednesday evening ‘Picnic in the Park’ crowd. That’s what the Wednesday evening summer events at the Farmer’s MArket are called, they have music and bounce houses. A few days later I added this sketch to the Pence Gallery’s annual Art Auction, and it sold!! I’m so glad, as I really enjoyed sketching this. The Farmers Market on a Wednesday after work is a nice place to hang out in this town.
I did a couple of other sketches, of the band performing, using one of those multi-coloured pencils for the second sketch.
My final sketches of the evening were at a very important event elsewhere in the park, the Unity Rally, organized in resistance of bigotry and hate, this coming just days after the events in Charlottesville. One of the speakers was US Congressman John Garamendi, who very kindly signed my sketch afterwards! He did look it over to make sure I hadn’t misquoted him; I thanked him for repeating the Nelson Mandela quote a couple of times so I could get it right. The evening ended with a touching candle vigil, of course I’m always nervous about candles all around me (a candle once burned a massive hold in my shirt at a party in east London, leaving me to go all the way across London on the night bus with basically half a shirt on, very embarrassing) so I sidled back with my sketchbook. Another of the speakers was the new UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May, who has now appeared in my sketchbook three times; I’ll post about the other two times soon, but I’m very happy he is our new chancellor (he likes Lego! and Comics! And is obsessed with Star Trek!)Speaking of Lego, one of my latest things is making Lego animations. I’ve made a few this past month, and if ever one gets any good I’ll maybe even post it here…
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.
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.
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).
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!
Recently I went to the Davis Farmers Market on a Wednesday evening to do a bit of sketching. It was a warm evening, as you get around here, and a lot of people were buzzing around getting food from vendors and listening to live music. It’s always tricky figuring out what to sketch; in order to capture the vibrancy of the scene, you need to sketch a bunch of people moving around. I chose a spot near the food vendors and sketched the market information building, which sells t-shirts and baskets and other such stuff, while a queue of people lined up before me for tacos, finding themselves inevitably the foreground subjects of my sketch. I stood holding my big sketchbook (the larger size Stillman and Birn Alpha book rather than my smaller everyday sketchbook) at an unusual angle, I look kinda funny when I sketch like that. Someone came to look at my work, but they were at the wrong angle and probably thought I was holding it up so they couldn’t see, but that’s just how I hold it, close to my chin like a violin. I had time that evening so added the paint on site, sitting down on one of those benches by the tree to do that. I didn’t eat a Naanwich or any other of the market foods, I can’t really eat and sketch.
Anyway this particular sketch (and several others) will be on display and for sale this month at the ‘Art Is Davis’ Co-op on D Street, Davis, as part of the ‘Scene In Davis‘ show. We will be having an artist’s reception in the early evening of Friday June 13th, so if you are in Davis please do come by, look at some of my sketchbooks, and say hello!
It’s a good job my trip to San Francisco at the end of March was only an overnighter, otherwise I may be posting sketches for the next couple of years. Here is another, sketched on the Saturday morning at the Ferry Building market. After the previous day’s sketches of North Beach I had gotten a pretty decent night’s sleep. When I woke up however the heavens had quite literally opened up. Well when I mean quite literally I don’t mean there were angels and harps falling from the sky, but that would have been less torrential than the rain which came down. It was magnificently otherwordly rain, which as you know is not particularly common here (and this epic downpour was more than needed for drought-threatened California). In the half-block from the hotel to the crosswalk I was drenched through. I retreated and reorganized. Now I love the rain, and yes it does make sketching a lot more limiting in terms of where I can stand. I had really wanted to sketch the Farmer’s Market over at the Ferry Building though, and wanted to be outside. No problem of course, I can always find a good spot! Not this time. Everywhere outside was a rainy blur, and every bit of shelter with a decent view seemed to be leaking. And then I remembered – oh yeah, the interior, I’ve never sketched inside the Ferry Building itself, never attempted that lovely roof. I had one of my favourite cannolis from the little cannoli and doughnut stand, and perched up beside a colourful patisserie to sketch the scene. I kept the colour to a minimum as it made it stand out more. I had spent a lot of time rain-dodging, and then searching in vain for the perfect spot, that by the time I drew this and was done it was already the early afternoon. The idea was that I would sketch some more of the City before heading home, but it was so rainy that I just took a bus up to the Haight.
This month’s Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl was a bit different, in that it was on a Wednesday evening, a hot summer evening. We met at Central Park for the Wednesday Farmer’s Market, “Picnic-in-the-Park”. There were a LOT of people out, and downtown Davis was bustling. I spent a good time sketching the panorama aboveThere weren’t many of us sketching, met some new faces, one who joined us was Terry Banderas (below in the red shirt), a local northern CA artist whose ink and watercolour sketches inspired me a lot when I was first doing these types of sketches and posting them online (and continues to do so), so it was great to finally meet him and chat with him. My son sketched with me for a while too, sketching hot-lava-breathing dragons (as you do) before hitting the bouncy houses with all the other local five-year-olds.
I was sketching in the Seawhite sketchbook, which I’m still getting used to. It’s not really the one for the paint that I’m used to laying on, but it’s nice to draw on. The sketchcrawl ended at De Vere’s Irish Pub; it was Davis Beer Week so it seemed appropriate. Here is yet another sketch of De Vere’s (and not my best). I tried a couple of beers, from 21st Amendment in San Francisco (and they weren’t cheap), “Amber Waves” and “Hell or High Watermelon”. Not bad!
On Wednesday after work, which was nice and mild and not at all hot (I wish it would stay like this!), I went to Central Park in Davis for the Wednesday Farmer’s Market / Picnic in the Park. I was off to see Man of Steel that evening (very good movie; should perhaps have been called ‘Man of Who’s-Going-To-Clear-Up-All-This-Mess’). Before then however I wanted to see the local band Frankie & the Fabletones, who were performing their 100th gig. They played a selection of popular oldies (I really liked their version of “Leader of the Pack”) and even had a guest spot from the Mayor of Davis Joe Krovoza, who sang an Al Green song, “Take Me to the River”. One of the group’s lead singers is well-known and much-loved local artist Heidi Bekebrede (if you’ve spent any time in Davis you will have seen her ceramic work), who was also celebrating her birthday the next day. I sketched near the front, where little kids were dancing (not in the picture), along with the lady I sketched with the castanets. I didn’t have space to sketch the whole band, but there were at least a couple more members (some other time!). My wife and son came along for a while; he liked the music, drew a couple of race tracks in his sketchbook and then went off to the bouncy houses. This whole sketch took under an hour start to finish. I forgot my little water jar (again) but thankfully my wife had a little purse-mirror thing & some water, I didn’t want to use the waterbrush again. I always feel I have to sketch quickly when watching bands, as you never know how long they will actually be on (or in a certain position) but thankfully they did let us know. And I LOVE sketching to live music, it really helps the rhythm.
Last weekend we had another Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl at the Davis Farmers Market. It’s always a good place to sketch. Located in Central Park, it’s the centre of our town’s life on a Saturday morning, a bustling colourful meeting place where the local people come together.
As I was sketching the place above, which serves as the information centre for the market, as well as a great place to buy baskets, a woman behind me was on the phone giving very loud directions to a friend who was supposed to be meeting her there. “I’m at the Market. Corner of 3rd and C. Near the Hotdogger. By the Basket Shop. There are Musicians. Near the Indian Food Stall. At the Basket Shop. Yes Near the Entrance. By the Benches. Next to the Basket Shop.” etc. When finally she put the phone down, she had to repeat the entire exchange to her husband, who presumably had learned to zone it all out. “I told her, I said meet me at the Market. Corner of 3rd and C. Near the Hotdogger. By the Basket Shop. There are Musicians. The Basket Shop, I told her.” And so on. Finally her friend arrived, looking ever so lost despite the clear and well-drilled directions, but they were so excited to see each other, that the lady once again said, “Yes well I told you to meet me here, Corner of 3rd and C. Near the Hotdogger. By the Basket Shop. There are Musicians. And Baskets, and Indian Food,” etc etc. You see, it’s great to come to the market and take in all the sights and sounds of everyday folks’ conversation.
My last sketch was made on 4th St. It was much quieter there.