sing me something new

Institute of Religion, Davis
I do have two exhibitions going on right now, and have even given talks about sketching, organized a sketchcrawl (in the rain), oh and just had a book published a few weeks ago, and I know you all did Inktober and so on, but I gotta say, I didn’t sketch much in October. It was a busy month, working, coaching soccer (Go Quicksilvers!), doing all the art stuff, but for some reason my sketches were few and far between. I did do a few though. This one above, of the building known as the Institute of Religion in Davis, I think its where the Mormons go. It’s on Russell, right opposite campus, I cycle past here every day thinking, oh I should draw that sometime, those triangles are pretty triangular. So I sketched it one lunchtime, when I was in an all-day training for leadership (or something, I’ve done a lot of all-day training workshops lately). Always feels good to be out sketching, listening to the Football Weekly podcast. I have a few more recent sketches to post. I drew another of the Manetti Shrem Museum, and of the construction going on at the South Silo. Spoiler Alert, that’s not finished, but the Manetti Shrem, it’s nearly open! Just another week! I’ll do a retrospective of all my in-progress sketches once it’s all open. I’m very excited.

nice times in pacific grove

Pacific Grove house
Pacific Grove is lovely. We stayed in a beautiful little house not far from the beach, just a few houses up from the place we stayed back in 2010. This isn’t it; this is the view from the window, which I sketched early on the first morning, while my son played on the Wii. All of the buildings around there are so lovely, and I was going to do a panorama, but we had to go to the Aquarium. I could sketch Pacific Grove for ever. The house we rented really was lovely, but I never sketched it from the outside; next time. I did sketch the living room on the second morning, while we all sat around (my son’s on his Wii U again, my wife is on her iPad).
pac grove living room
Here’s another beauty of an old building, around the corner on Lighthouse Avenue. I sketched it from across the street (right after sketching that fire hydrant; see last post). Imagine living in a building like this, old and full of places to explore. Maybe hidden passageways and secret doorways behind bookshelves, and paintings with eyes that follow you around the room. I was going to finish this off with some colour, but we had ordered pizza, so back home I went.
lighthouse ave, pacific grove

where the bard was born

Shakespeares Birthplace Stratford sm
After the day at Warwick Castle, we drove down through the countryside to Stratford-upon-Avon, a place synonymous with William Shakespeare, because all of the signs in this entire section of England say so. Stratford is a lovely place, in a lovely part of the country. When we got to the house in which Shakespeare was born and grew up, I had to sketch it of course. Yes, I’m a tourist and very proud of it. After this, we drove through the Cotswolds, which are lovely, before driving back to London. So now I’ve been somewhere else I’ve never been before!
me with the house Shakespeare was born in

oh you pretty things

18th st, san francisco

I could draw every single house in this neigbourhood, and never get bored. More work from my sketchcrawl day at the Castro, San Francisco. This sloping row of Victorians, had it not been taking quite so long (best part of a couple of hours, and I had to finish the colouring in at home) could have ended up as a very long panorama, all the way down the street, had I not wanted to, you know, sketch some other things and eat something (Thai red curry if you’re interested). But how enjoyable was this to sit and sketch? Immensely! This is right opposite Philz Coffee on 18th St, where the sketchcrawl officially began.  A couple of sketchers were sat on the steps behind me, still sketching when I finally got up and stretched my legs. ..

moby dicks, SF

After some sketching away from 18th St (these sketches are not completely posted in chronological order, rather they are in geographical order), I returned, clock ticking, needing a few more sketches before the meet-up at 4pm. It was getting windy. I sat on the corner of 18th and Hartford, leaning against a fire hydrant. I’m not sure if you can lean against a fire hydrant while sketching (and I don’t really need to know) but surely if anyone should, hello like. This is Moby Dick’s, a popular local bar (I assume; it’s in the locale, and there were people there, so presumably, hello like), and there down 18th you can see the iconic belltower of the Mission School. The rusty hydrant below (which was not the one I leaned against, but looked very similar) (I’m sure you are riveted by this) was a bit closer to the Mission High school tower, on the corner of the very crowded and very windy. The final meetup was nice,  I met quite a few new sketchers and as always was hugely inspired by what I saw; this is my favourite part of these sketchcrawls, seeing other people’s sketchbooks, real and in the flesh, not just online. Very cool.  You can see some other sketchers’ results on the SF sketchcrawl forum, and not just from San Francisco, but also from the rest of the world. Great stuff, world!

hydrant on 18th & church, SF

double dutch colonial

1st st house, davis

I have sketched this building before; I like the shape of the roof. Dutch Colonial Revival Gambrel, I seem to recall someone telling me. It’s on 1st Street, and on thursday lunchtime I got out and sketched it, adding the colour later at home. Drawn on Strathmore hot press watercolour paper, micron pen and watercolours.

Here’s the one I did about a year and a half ago (it was winter time then), from a different angle.

1st street house

how does your garden grow

house in davis
This is a house in Davis that I drew as a commission last month. It was an interesting house to draw, with lots of colourful foliage in the front yard, and so I tried to capture the house’s interesting character without getting lost in the greenery, and I’m quite happy with the result. The image is 7″x5″ and was done with ink and watercolour on watercolour paper.

Looking at this hortuculture again reminded me of a page I kept from my ‘Forgotten English’ calendar (by Jeffrey Kacirk – each day gives you a word no longer used in English. Today’s is “Alfridaria”, which has something to do with the supposed power that planets hold over people). The word was ‘hortyard’, meaning a garden or orchard, and it describes how that and the word ‘orchard’ originate in the Old English ‘ortgeard’, the first element being related to the Latin ‘hortus’ (‘garden’). It’s funny because I’ve been talking about gardens and yards here thinking of the way I use the word back home – when I say I’d like to have a garden, I just mean a back yard, but over here people naturally assume I mean I want to plant flowers and shrubs, and I don’t – I’m not a gardener!

If you would like an original drawing of your house, or of someone you know (would make a nice present), or even of a place in Davis or elsewhere I’d be happy to hear from you! I can draw from photos, and usually draw at 7″x5″ but can go larger. You can also find original drawings and prints to buy on my Etsy store – see the nice button I have added in the right column on this blog, or just click here:

right up your street

jean's house

This is a drawing of the house of a colleague, Jean, which I did last month. Back then, the leaves were not on the trees and long wintery shadows crept across Davis; now the leaves are back, the pollen is in the air and my nose is practising for marathons.

almost there

Anyway, I thought it a good time to tell you again that if you fancy a drawing of your house, or apartment, or shop, etc, let me know! I generally draw at about 5″x7″, ink and watercolour (but I prefer not to draw people). Let’s talk!

I still have some original drawings on my Etsy store, and will be adding more in the coming weeks. I am raising money to go to the 2nd Worldwide Urban Sketching Symposium in Lisbon this summer by selling drawings, and every bit helps! I can even draw trees with leaves on…

the line it is drawn, the curse it is cast

5th & J, Davis

Saturday afternoon, Spring is not only in the air but shining all around; with freshly cut hair I cycled about Davis looking for a perfect building with perfect March afternoon shadows and a decent shaded spot for me to perch without being in the way. I was uninspired however, or overinspired, perhaps they are the same thing. I drew this corner four years ago, interestingly enough, from a little closer up; 5th and J Streets, this cool but kinda scary-looking old house with the enormous telegraph pole towering above it. I rode off and went back to the library after this, to put up a poster about next Saturday’s ‘Let’s Draw Davis’ Sketchcrawl at the Arboretum (See the Flickr group and Facebook event) – if you’re in or around Davis, and like to draw even just a little, come down on Saturday and sketch together with other sketchbookers! If the weather is anything like today, it will be a great afternoon.

‘Spring forward’ tonight folks. Don’t forget to change your clocks. Oh, you already have. Welcome to Summertime…

how does your garden grow

luther burbank gardens, santa rosa

hydrant in santa rosa

While in Santa Rosa at the weekend, I walked down to Luther Burbank Home and Gardens and sketched in the afternoon. It’s a pretty little place, and the old house is very sketchworthy. Burbank was an important botanist and horticulturalist who created/developed  many species of plant and flower, as well as a famous potato. There’s a small chance I may be mistaken about this, but I think he invented Mr Potato Head. The site is in fact California Historical Landmark #234.

I also sketched a fire hydrant, because, you know, I’m collecting sketches of them. This one reminds me of a dalek. Perhaps it needs some Mr Potato Head glasses and moustache to cheer it up.