Still playing catch-up from last summer, here are the rest of the sketches from downtown Davis in summer 2022, including September, which very much is still summer when it’s a hundred million degrees outside. The panorama above though is from the end of August, and is one of our favourite Davis shops, The Paint Chip. They have art supplies and do framing, and when I was doing the sketchcrawls (it has been a while…) they would always put up the flyer in their window. The people outside are actually a painted mural on the side of the building; except for the redhead in front of the window, she was real. The dog behind was not real, that is a painting. Next door, Tibet Nepal, not in the location that I drew it last, it moved from the corner of G Street when they redeveloped that whole quarter. I stood outside the Old City Hall building (now empty) in the shade to draw this.
Speaking of chips, odd incident yesterday evening in Habit Burger in Folsom. It wasn’t busy, but there were four staff members behind the counter, one guy was talking very loudly about British food, not exactly sure why. He kept saying how someone called fries ‘chips’ and he was ‘offended’ at that, and then started going on about fish and chips and other foods, and the other staff were joining in going on about bangers and mash and shepherds pie and spotted dick (basically the Jeopardy category, “What Americans Think We All Eat”), and then – criminally – stating loudly “and they eat beans with tomato sauce, that’s gross!” Knowing how important Baked Beans are to me culturally, my wife raised her eyebrow to me as if to say, “them’s fighting words!”. I said it sounds like he has a fry on his shoulder. The staff were talking a bit unnecessarily loudly about all this stuff and then it became clear they were actually having a go at a previous customer, who had said ‘chips’ (this guy would not let it go) and then when they overheard them making disparaging remarks about it, had told them to ‘shut up’ before leaving. They were saying all sorts of stuff about this customer too, like “she’s probably having a bad day because her husband’s cheating on her!” and “she’s just angry because we say fries”, like pretty immature comments. One of them was making these impressions by saying “shut up!”, and because it was in the direction of the customer seating, my wife actually thought they were saying it to us, so she said, “Excuse me? I haven’t said anything to you.” The eldest of them (manager maybe? Hard to tell) just said oh no, we were talking about someone who said that to us. I mean, it’s a bit rude to be talking so loudly about another customer like that in front of your customers, but mocking British stuff? So we probably won’t be eating at Habit Burger in Folsom again (we go to the one in Woodland anyway). Though if we do got back to Folsom, I will be asking for CHIPS, chips on toast, bangers and chips, spotted chips, chips in the hole, chips tikka masala, baked beans on chips (actually that’s delicious), diet chips with no ice, chips sandwich on a chip bun, etc and so on.
Next up: Black Bear Diner on B St in Davis (and much better customer service). Actually I remember one server we used to talk to there, she always seemed very all-American to me, turns out she was British but had moved over here as a young kid, never became a citizen (neither have I, yet). Black Bear Diner is a fun rustic-style diner place we first discovered in Medford Oregon years ago. We love going there for pancakes. Well, I don’t eat the pancakes, my son does, I usually get the cinnamon roll French toast (or even the bear claw French toast, when they have it). I love their country potatoes and egg scrambles and chicken sausages too. Black Bear is a chain all along the Western US now, but it’s good grub and the sort of thing I’d really crave going to if we ever lived in England again, this is what I’d miss. Even though these days we go like maybe twice a year. It’s always the place I like to go to refill after running the Turkey Trot 5k. This year however I could only manage the 2 mile (foot injury plus increasing lack of fitness and non-existent gym attendance), but I still deserved the cinnamon roll French toast.
This sketch is from 3rd Street, on the way towards campus, Tim’s Hawaiian BBQ. Or “Tim’s Hawaiian” I think it’s just called. Or are they saying Tim’s Hawaiian, that is, Tim is from Hawaii? I don’t know, but I’ve never actually eaten here. I don’t know why I never think of it, because I really like Hawaiian food now. There is this Hawaiian food truck that comes on campus called Jojo’s that I love, although their portions are so massive I often skip dinner if I’ve had that for lunch. In fact I feel so full afterwards that ‘skipping dinner’ is literally the only exercise I can do for at least 24 hours. I should try out Tim’s though, I pass it on my bike enough but always forget about it at lunchtime. You’ll notice I mis-spelled my own name on this as well. That’s because I either cannot type, or because the laptop I was using to edit the scan of this drawing is a little slow on the uptake whenever I have to type words with double letters. To mis-spell my own name though; then again Shakespeare apparently spelled his name sixteen different ways (he was probably trying to rhyme it with something). One funny thing about this sketch, on the right-hand side it feels like it slants off to the right. I feel like I’m standing with my head cocked. Maybe it’s the way it’s scanned, but I don’t think so; the sketch below does it too. I think it’s a consequence of how I hold my sketchbook, and when I get the right side I don’t necessarily draw as straight as on the left. I don’t know; either way, I quite like it. It’s one of those things that makes it more real, less mechanical and more human. You need to put yourself in these sketches, even in subconscious ways.
Next up, what’s this one, oh right this is that house on D Street I have drawn quite a few times, the one in between the Pence Gallery and the Mustard Seed restaurant. In fact I once exhibited some artwork and sketchbooks in there at an event called ‘Scene in Davis’ with some other local artists, back when this was an artist’s center and studio. Before that it was an antiques shop. Then later it became, I can’t remember, a realtors I think. I’ve exhibited in the Pence Gallery too, on several occasions, most recently in the 2022 Art Auction (I sold the drawing of that London pub, the Lamb and Flag). What I didn’t know though is that one of my drawings is on the wall of the Mustard Seed restaurant too. It’s a pretty fancy restaurant, so my wife and I went there for our 18th wedding anniversary, we hadn’t been there in, well it must be about a decade? It’s a nice treat. When we walked in though we had a pleasant surprise, my drawing of the Mustard Seed from 2011 was there on the wall. It was just a print they had bought (I presume; the original is slightly smaller and sold in my solo exhibition at the Pence in 2011) (which by the way, ELEVEN YEARS AGO now, doesn’t seem that long!). Still it was exciting to see it in this fancy place. I remembered too that when it was exhibited back in 2011 I was at the gallery talking to a local woman who had lived in Davis for many years, and she said back in the 60s she used to go to the house which is now the Mustard Seed, her friends lived there and they would stay up late playing cards. The hidden stories in all these places. I have a few of my own now.
A hot mid-September day, after a short period of not-sketching-enough and being-tired-all-the-time, I just had to get out and draw something. I cycled over to the Candy House (that place that sells the delicious little chocolate pyramids/cones I can’t resist), and bought myself a box of those little choccies, because they are the best and I was hungry. I stood outside and drew the second-hand store across the street. Well, as best as I could manage. I was feeling tired. I only got so far. I needed to go home.
A week later, the 24th of September, with the new academic year in swing, I must have had a bit more energy, judging by the colourful picture above. Saturday morning, I cycled down to the Davis Farmer’s Market (voted the Best Farmer’s Market in America) (“by the people of Davis” as I used to add in my Virtual Tour of Davis) to sketch something, walk about, not be inside. I settled on the side of the Hattie Weber Museum of Davis. This building has a history too – it was the first Davis library (it still says ‘Library’ above the door) and was actually in a different place entirely. Ok, not ‘entirely’, it wasn’t on the Wirral or Mount Everest or somewhere, it was still in Davis, but three streets away on F Street. (I had to count in my head there, C, E, D, F; oh actually that’s four streets away) (actually at 117 F Street so probably a few more, if you count going down blocks) (look it was somewhere else and it moved, ok, don’t worry about it). It was named for the first librarian of Davis, Hattie Weber. “Known as Miss Hattie by young and old alike,” the HWMD website says. I love that place too. And yep, they too have some of my drawings on the wall, including another from that 2011 exhibit (a printed copy, the original was sold) of the Museum itself. I remember going in here many years ago with my son when he was about four or five, to do the Easter Egg hunt, and was surprised when he suddenly said “daddy this is what you drawed!” pointing out my sketch of Old City Hall. I was amazed he remembered, I think he was about one when I drew it. I drew this one however while sat in the little Hattie Weber Rose Garden, looking north. The Farmers Market raged behind me. This end of the Market is where you get the people who get to set up their stalls and I don’t know, say any old bollocks. The Flat Earth lot, basically. They seem to be there a lot, with their “Nasa’s lying to you man!” signs and literature about how, I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, how apparently the Earth is flat and not a globe, despite the fact it is demonstrably a globe, because “it’s a conspiracy man!”. Whatever mate, not a rabbit hole I want to go down. There were a lot of people standing around them though (probably new students trying to find out what they are on and where to get it); right next to them were the local Republicans, and nobody was talking to them. So the Flat Earth lot were back there, maybe I’ll sketch them some day, or probably not. It did remind me of when I was at school though, and my friend Terry got in trouble for submitting a one-line history homework, responding to some reference in the homework about the explorers sailing to all four corners of the globe, and he just wrote “globes don’t have corners”. Needless to say, the teacher was not impressed, and I think gave him an F for that. Didn’t matter, we both thought it was funny, and I suppose that’s what is important. Humour makes the world go round.
Still more 2022 sketch catch-up posts to come… Better start catching up with 2023 sketching too.