“At the market. Corner of 3rd and C. Near the Hotdogger. By the basket shop…”

davis farmers market

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.

davis farmers market

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.

4th st, Davis

My last sketch was made on 4th St. It was much quieter there.

celebrate davis 2013

celebrate davis 2013: cochon volant
Last Thursday May 16 was the tenth annual “Celebrate Davis” event, held at Community Park, the big park near my house. There were food stands, live music, bouncy castles for kids, a petting zoo, a big zipline was set up, even a dunk tank where kids can throw balls at a button to send some poor volunteer splashing into a vat of water. Mostly there were stands from various different businesses from Davis, this event being organized by the Chamber of Commerce. I did a little bit of sketching: above is Cochon Volant BBQ (“Flying Pig”), which I sketched with the smell of grilled pork wafting all around. I don’t eat pork any more but I’m sure it was lovely. I also sketched an old police car which was parked nearby, the local police were letting kids get in to take photos. This looks very 70s TV cop show to me. I wonder if it ever drove through big piles of boxes on the sidewalk, like they did in the 70s, on cop shows, on TV.
celebrate davis 2013: old police car
Celebrate Davis 2013 ended with its usual spectacular firework display, which thnaks to out location we can see from the comfort of our bedroom window.

formula 1 on mother’s day

mothers' day
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day in America (two months later than England). We were over in Santa Rosa, and we all had doughnuts on Sunday morning (or ‘donuts’ as they insist on spelling them over here), after which my son and I watched the Formula One, for it was the Spanish Grand Prix, which was won by Spanish driver Fernando Alonso. I sketched the living room in my Moleskine, while family milled about. Sketched with brown uni-ball signo um-151, with a spot of red paint.

Hope you mothers all had a happy mother’s day!

some forever, not for better

former boiler building location
At the end of 2012 I sketched a series about the final days of the old boiler building on the UC Davis campus, as it was being torn down.It has been an empty space ever since, though there are currently odd piles of dirt dotted around like giant molehills that weren’t there before. What will take this place is the Music Recital Hall. You can see if you look really closely something resembling a tiny puddle. Well, not much of one. Last night, for the first time in absolutely ages (three months maybe?), we had rain in Davis. Loud, epic, sweep away your shed rain. Any rain in Davis gets a weather warning it seems (water from the sky is just such a weird concept), this one got a flood warning too. It never rains, quite literally, but it pours. And then it is gone. And people are probably already saying, it rains so much here in spring. A couple of weeks ago with the onset of 90s weather looming I overheard someone say that “we’ve had a week of spring and then it’s summer!” as if it hadn’t been in the 60s and 70s and full of sunshine since January. I also heard someone say that we have had a really long winter this year. That was in mid-January. Seriously, dudes.

The first year I was here, though, we had some proper extreme weather. Rain like I haven’t seen since, for months, with massive floods on New Years Day. I just assumed that it was a permanent lake between here and Sacramento, it was a real surprise to me when I first saw the land part of those wetlands by the Causeway. The rains and snowmelt finally gave way to summer, and what a summer that was. We had two weeks where it didn’t fall below a hundred degrees, even at night, and while I’ve experienced hot summers since, there has been nothing quite like that summer of 2006. Here is a sketch from back then which illustrates it. This Londoner just doesn’t do such heat. Well, summer is coming.

university of beer

university of beer, davis
After a Saturday morning of making pancakes, watching football, playing superheroes, Cars Monopoly and Play-doh, I went downtown to watch Iron Man 3. I have spent a lot of time lately drawing different Iron Man armours for my son to colour in, so was looking forward to watching the movie itself. So was everyone else in Davis it seems; the show I wanted to go to was already full, so I got a ticket for the next one and went off to do some sketching. It was too hot to sit outside (90s; I know, in a couple of months that will sound chilly) so I popped into the University of Beer, a newer bar in Davis devoted to all types of beer, and drew the bar. I should have drawn the wall on he right as well, which is covered in colourful beer signs, but this is all I had time for. I went off for a curry for dinner, and then off to the movie, which was fun, and long.

i look at the world and i notice it’s turning

de vere's davisDe Vere’s Irish Pub, Davis. Click on the image to see it larger and in more detail. It was the end of the week (the weekend usually is), and an evening out at the comic shop followed by some beer and sketching was in order. This is a nice pub. I like drawing pub panoramas in my Moleskine, and this one took only two and a half beers (it’s always something-and-a-half; I like to spend that last half pint looking at the sketch, pencil case away). I have drawn curvilinearly in here before, but now it is time to pull back and see more of the room. I didn’t speak to anyone, just got on with the sketching. It wasn’t very busy on this particular Saturday evening, and it was warm outside. This is an exceptionally warm Spring. We have had some terrible winds, but warm winds, and the weather has been pushing the 90s (actually this week it’s been pushing the mid-90s, it’s like Britpop).

PicxQ2103

If you’re interested, this is how it looks in the sketchbook.

dejeuner encore

silo, uc davis
One from another Monday lunchtime at the Silo. I just stayed indoors, eating a burrito and listening to the new Art Brut album on my iPod. I didn’t want to be outside sketching, the weather is warm but very windy, and my nose is like a pressure cooker. This time of year is pretty bad for allergies here in Davis. This wasn’t a particularly interesting lunchtime, so I will tell you about the weekend.  On Saturday it was the 99th annual Picnic Day. I pretty much never sketch at Picnic Day, mostly because of the crowds, but also because I am here on campus every single day, and drawing Picnic Day, when that same campus is ridiculously crowded, just seems a bit odd to me. Plus I always get too hot and tired, wandering from place to place with my son. We did see some nice cure kittens though. I missed the parade in the morning, the best thing about Picnic Day (no, the late night parties are not the best thing, not that I would actually know). I was volunteering for a couple of hours at the Little League’s Snack Shack, which was a great change of scene. I had to sell snow-cones and other strange candies I have never heard of to tiny children (who mostly shared my dislike of grape flavoured sweets). It is funny how different the candies are here to what I had as a kid in Burnt Oak though. I recall in the newsagents on Watling Avenue, and in Toni-Bells too, there was what seemed like thousands of different “penny sweets” (which actually ranged from half a penny to a whopping ten pence). I would spend hours in there with my friends just trying to choose what to buy. This wasn’t you pick’n’mix neither, this was serious sweets business. This was all brought back to me when a kid of about six or seven presented me with a dollar and just said, how many different things can I get for one dollar? Quite a few as it turned out. Back in my day though, that sort of money would have kept you in candy for a month. And I’m not that old.

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

counting acts and clutching thoughts

2nd st
Ooh what a busy old time April 2013 is. It doesn’t stop, and the old inbox keeps growing regardless. On Wednesday I just had to sketch something, anything. I cycled downtown and just carried on that row of 2nd St I have been sketching. It was a bit of a rushed job. Vehicles were left out. This is yet another real estate office (I wonder if there is such thing as unreal estate, or surreal estate, or atletico estate?). This is the week of course that Maggie died. I will probably draw her on a brown Chinese envelope (oh, is it too soon?). Brown pen in moleskine. Back to work.

hidden in the backseat of my head, someplace i can’t remember where

fremont diner sonoma
In all the years we’ve been living here in CA and passing through the wine country region on the way to Santa Rosa, I’ve always wanted to sketch this old diner with this amazing old truck parked out front. I was never sure exactly where it was on that road we’ve driven down a hundred times, just one more place we pass. On Easter Sunday, on the drive back, my wife suggested that we stop, so I was finally able to add it to my Moleskine. This is the Fremont Diner, on the outskirts of Sonoma, a town I have always loved. It was raining, and the diner was closed, so we sat in the car, my wife read a magazine while I sketched. One day I’d like to eat here. Apparently they do ‘fried pies’. Sketched in dark brown uniball signo um-151 pen with watercolour, in a watercolour Moleskine.