Construction work continues on campus. Well, this is not so much building anything as improving the courtyard at the MU in front of Freeborn Hall. I don’t really know what needed improving as they had done it all up just last year and it was fine, but they have had this dug up for the whole summer now blocking entrance into the front of the recently refurbished MU.
Okay, we’re at the halfway mark for Manchester sketches so I thought we’d bring it back to Davis for a bit before resuming the symposium story. This is the current state of the Memorial Union at UC Davis – the shiny new bookstore is now open, but the rest is still under a lot of reconstruction. The UCD Bookstore by the way does stock my book, if you’re interested! the renovated and revamped MU is expected to reopen in December, I can’t wait to see how it finally looks. My son for one is eagerly anticipating the reopening of the bowling alley; he had his birthday there last year and has missed it terribly. Once it’s all done, I will sketch the end result. More change at UC Davis!
There are changes afoot on the UC Davis campus. Oh, there are always changes afoot, things coming down, things going up, it’s been change change change since I’ve been here. Very soon however there will be a major remodeling of the Memorial Union, which is kind of their Student Union buidling and a big hub on campus (including the UC Davis bookstore where I buy a lot of my art supplies). Freeborn Hall on the right has been closed for a while, ready for its remodeling.
January ploughs on. I’m doing some sketching but not much (actually none in more than a week, but I still have a couple of panoramas from Sacramento to finish colouring and then scan in). The first month of the year is always a busy one, and I have been building new Lego sets (my son’s birthday was last weekend) and making birthday banners and what not. The weather’s alright, been kinda warm this week, was a bit chilly on the first day I did this (it was done over a couple of different days). No rain though, a very dry January, which isn’t good for our droughts. Otherwise, a little morning fog but lots of nothing really. Out east they’re having really big blizzards. I hear out east that they have fifty different words for snow, or rather fifty different ways to describe any sort of snowstorm, “Snowmageddon”, “Snowpocalypse”, “Snowgnarok”, “Apocalypse Snow”, “The Towering InferSnow”, “World War Snow”, “Age of Snowtron”, “The Snow Awakens”, “Gone With The Snow”, “The Snowfather” and of course “Snowzen”. Yeah, it’s bad out there. Here in Davis, typically bland winter weather continues. The “Blandocalypse”, weathermen are calling it. “Blandmageddon”. “Blandgarok”. “Apocalypse Bland”, “The Towering InferBland”, “World War Bland”, “Age of Blandtron”, “The Bland Awakens”, “Gone With The Bland”, “The Blandfather” and of course “Blandzen”. Yeah, it’s bad out here.
This is the side of the soon-to-be-remodeled Freeborn Hall at UC Davis, with the Memorial Union building in the background. I sketched this one foggy autumnal lunchtime last week. I only wanted to add in a dash of colour, for the Fall season is in full flow here. Actually I wanted to colour in the whole thing but couldn’t be bothered, so before you applaud my effective limited use of colour, remember you are congratulating my laziness. Only kidding (kind of). With this drawing, I was really attracted to the shapes more than anything so I think it does work with just the lines and a splash of autumn. I am amazed I had never noticed this scene before, despite walking through it a million times. I had gotten off the bus one morning, listening to some music or other (I think it was Pimlico by David Devant) when it just framed itself in front of me, ready-made. Whoah, those angles, that composition, that unmistakable UC Davis look. If I hadn’t been in a hurry to get to the office I would have stopped and sketched it right then and there. The image rattled around in my head for a couple of days like an unbelievably good idea that I had to realize before someone else discovered it, or the building got demolished, until I finally found a lunchtime to cycle over and capture it. It took about a half hour to forty minutes to sketch it. I love how it turned out as well, a good example of how I like a line-only sketch to be.
(Click on the image to see a close-up). This time of year sees a noticeable increase in the number of these wooden sandwich boards that you find all over the UC Davis campus. Most of them advertise fraternities, sororities, clubs, groups, chapters, paragraphs, commas, and other things I do not understand. There’s a sign that simply says ‘Join Alpha Sig’, so I thought, ok board, you told me to so I will. It is probably some kind of Canadian mutant super hero team. And then I thought, actually I had better not, Alpha Sig might be the name of some alien robot (it certainly sounds like it) whose mission is to enslave the earth, and I can’t be getting involved in that sort of nonsense. And then I thought, why would Alpha Sig, with his (I am just assuming he’s a he, thought it’s probably not a question I would ask an alien robot, “oh by the way oh evil one, oh actually nothing it’s none of my business, get back to destroying that city”) advanced alien technology, why use such an antiquarian painted-wooden form of communication, in this age of social media and facebooks and hashtags. By the way, young people of Davis, please don’t say the word “hashtag” in front of other actual words at the end of your sentences, seriously, just don’t. Not out loud. Speaking of which, all the while I sketched this I was forced to listen to a group of young people talking in that way they talk, those ‘conversations’ they insist on having, where one person says something and then another person and so on. I had no headphones to listen to football podcasts because they were broken (where was Alpha Sig and his/her advanced alien technology when I needed it? Painting wooden boards probably). There they were talking about young people things like going to class, partying, and how absolutely awful their one other room-mate who-isn’t-there-right-now is. Almost an hour of whiny nonsense. I know people have this idea that overheard conversations are great catalysts for all sorts of creativity but they’re wrong, because they aren’t, they’re just boring and you should avoid them always. And so there’s all these boards, colourful and inviting, wanting you to JOIN IN and be PART of them, and evidently they work because those frat houses dotted around the outskirts of campus don’t just trash themselves you know.
These boards are up on the north side of the Quad, next to the Memorial Union (and the CoHo, where I get my lovely Thai curry pho). I couldn’t be bothered to draw the rest of it.