at the 2018 pence art auction

pence art auction 2018
This year I had two pieces in the Pence Gallery Art Auction, a drawing of St.James Church, Davis, and another of the Turtle House on 2nd St. They didn’t sell this time, but I did get to attend the Gala event. They always have nice food and drink there, and you get to talk to local art people you may or may not have met before, so I went along for  an hour and a half and looked at all the nice artwork, and then did a sketch. It had been a busy day. In the morning our under-12 AYSO team, playing with fewer players than our opponents (who were a really good team), came from behind three times to win, which was exciting and especially nice after I had woken up at 4:30am to watch Tottenham lose to Liverpool. Then I spent the afternoon watching other AYSO games, scouting teams and watching players I used to coach, before we headed to Sacramento for a party thrown by my father-in-law. After that I went to the Pence (see above) and then back home for some rest. I was totally exhausted by this point.

making a song and dance about things

dancers in davis june 2016

A couple of weeks ago I went to the downtown Davis “2nd Friday Art About”, as I had a couple of pieces on display at the Pence Gallery following the Garden Tour (both sold, by the way – hooray!) and so while there was sunlight I stuck around downtown to do a bit of sketching. Inspired by the watercolour sketches of dancers by Kumi Matsukawa from Japan (who wrote chapters in my book Creative Sketching Workshop) I sketched a couple of women dressed in bright Spanish style dresses who were moving from spot to spot, performing a dance to some flamenco style music, and moving on. I also caught them in quick pencil gestures, below. This sort of loose style sketching is useful for people moving quickly, focusing on the gesture and movement rather than going for accurate details. That’s usually how your eye registers things, and your hand works slower than your eye so let it dance with the dancers.

dancers in davis june 2016
I also sketched a band that was playing in the courtyard of the Pence. They moved around a lot less, but my eyesight sketching from a distance made it hard to pick out too many details, but the red of the middle guitarist’s dress really stood out.
musicians in davis june 2016

sketching in a garden

2016 Pence Garden Tour

Last Sunday I once again took part in the Pence Gallery’s annual Garden Tour. I didn’t get to tour the gardens myself, but was a resident artist in one of the gardens, down on 4th street in Davis. The weather has turned hot, and so I stood in what shade I could shelter beneath and drew in a large Stillman and Birn ‘Alpha’ sketchbook. There were quite a lot of garden visitors that day, and I spoke to many about sketching, pens, and so on. Not being a big oil painter with a big easel I stood out a lot less than some other artists but I like to think I bring something different. It was an interesting garden, much less floral than others I have done, and more modern, a very interesting place to entertain; the owners have transformed it into a really pleasant and welcoming space. I sketched the views showing the house front and back, early and late afternoon, totally remodeled and repainted from what it looked like just a few years ago.

2016 Pence Garden Tour

After that, I was very thirsty (the one bottle of water provided for me was very, very warm), so I went to the pub to cool off. It’s nice to spend an afternoon drawing though. Just don’t mention the football. Glossed right past that.

This was the third time I’ve done the Garden Tour; see my previous results from 2014 and 2012. Images will be on display at the Pence Gallery at some point soon.


2014 art auction at the pence

pence art auction 2014
Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Pence Gallery’s annual art Auction, as one of the contributing artists. The wealth of amazing work on display was amazing, as always. The Pence is a great place and they work tirelessly to promote excellence in local art. I met a lot of nice people there, and really enjoyed watching the auction. I sketched at the back, stood next to the dessert table (wow, amazing chocolates!). The auctioneer is very humourous, and very god at getting the crowd to buy art (though every time he said “going once, going twice,” I really wanted to say “c’mon baby don’t be cold as ice…”) This is the third year in a row I’ve sketched it, and I think I’ve captured it now. Below, the view from the patio outside. A very warm night, people talking, art-lovers buying, music playing. One of my favourite spots in Davis. Oh, and both my pieces sold! I honestly hadn’t expected them to this time (I’ve sold my pieces in the previous three years) so I was pretty buoyed, and went home pretty happy. I had been coaching my son’s U7 soccer team (the Red Foxes) that afternoon, it had been a good game, so all in all a pretty nice Saturday. Many thanks to Natalie Nelson and the good people at the Pence for inviting me to take part and attend this very fun event.
pence art auction patio 2014

scene in davis!

Scene In Davis 2014
This Friday will be fun. I am pleased to announce that I will be exhibiting several of my Davis sketches as part of a group show called “Scene in Davis”, on display at the Art-Is-Davis co-op at 222 D Street, downtown Davis. The other featured artists are Dave Webb, Joe Finkleman and Ben Tuason, and we were all selected by the resident artists because our work is devoted to the subject of Davis. The resident artists at Art Is Davis are Dori Marshall, Seana Burke, Marieke de Waard, Jan Castle-Walker and Joanne Andresen; many thanks to Dori for inviting me to participate. There will be a reception starting at 6pm this Friday 13th June, and I plan to show some of my sketchbooks and talk my usual nonsense about uni-ball pens and fire hydrants. If you are in town and would like to say hello and see my Davis sketches, I’d love to meet you!
Scene In DavisThe show will run until July 6th, and the pieces will be for sale; maybe a nice gift for someone graduating from UC Davis, perhaps? I’m excited to see what the other works on show will be! Always enjoy seeing Davis so well represented by artists. You can visit the Art-Is-Davis website at
scene in davis postcardBut of course that isn’t all, as I also have some pieces on display at the Pence Gallery next door as part of the Garden Tour exhibit, in the upstairs conference room. You may recall the post I made about the Garden Tour recently (, and all three of my sketches are up for sale. Here are two of them on the wall:

garden tour sketches at penceNow there was also going to be participation in a third show, the annual ‘Tiny’ Show at the Pence Gallery, which I saw today and has some wonderful pieces (such as an amazing night-time painting of the Varsity). My contribution, drawn and painted onto a 5×7″ piece of canvas board, was of Vesuvio in San Francisco’s North Beach, redrawn from the sketch I did while stood outside there last March. Here it is:

vesuvioHowever…it already sold! I went by today, and the Pence told me a lady from San Francisco, to whom the Vesuvio had special meaning, bought it and wanted to take it with her there and then. So while it won’t be in the Tiny Show, I’m ecstatic that it sold so quickly! I really love that corner of planet Earth myself so I am really happy it touched someone else as well. It was hard work drawing on that canvas board (it ain’t like drawing on paper) but very rewarding.

Anyway, if you happen to be on D Street this Friday evening, come and see some art!

to spend your days in the sunshine

D St panorama: PANORAMARATHON continues!
This latest installment of the Panoramarathon actually took me a couple of days. Sunday afternoon, while my family went on playdates and baby showers, I went downtown with the sketchbook to keep on drawing buildings with nice shadows on them. However it was taking a bit long, so I finished the left side and came back next day at lunchtime for the right side. This is D Street, and keen observers will see the Pence Gallery on the right, and the building to tis left is one I sketched last eyar when it was still Antiques Plus. Alas it is somethign else now, being the home of Art Is Davis, and artist’s co-op. Always nice to see more art in Davis! On the left again is the Mustard Seed, a local restaurant. Now, if you saw the last post, this scene is directly parallel, on the same block, one street over. If you go through the alleys in this sketch, you end up emerging from the alleys in the last sketch. Moreover, a couple more paralels, the parking sign on the left is similar to in the previosu sketch, and the map-post also parallels the one seen last time (which had a yellow flag). Nice to look for those patterns. I might find more of them.

Belows, closer views of each of the pages. The sunshine continues. Davis is sunny in January, blue skies, leafless trees, excellent views of buildings with nice shadows on them. But we really need the rain.
D St Davis: Pence Gallery
D St Davis: Art is Davis Art Co-Op


Pennywise at the Pence Gallery

I have a piece currently on display at the Pence Gallery as part of their “Tiny” show. Each artist submitted a piece no bigger than 5″x7″ (about my usual drawing size!) and were given a piece of canvas board on which to create their masterpiece. I usually draw on paper, but wanted to give it a go on this different material, and it was fun. As you can see below in the step-by-step I actually put the paint on first, and then added the ink details. Normally I draw ink first (colouring-in is an afterthought) but the ink stayed wet on this canvas board so that wasn’t possible, but this way worked really nicely. The ink didn’t get glazed over by the wash, and really popped. Because of the rough nature of this canvas board, scanning was a bit difficult, so hopefully you can get a good idea from these photos.

pennywise step-by-step

Pennywise…that is – or was, I am now told – a shop in Burnt Oak (where I was born and grew up) that was there my entire life, unchanged. I didn’t exactly need to go there often (great place for plastic buckets and sponges) but it was just one of those shops, always there, with that funny little orange symbol. I’d always intended to draw it. I didn’t have time while in London so took a photo. I am glad I did – shortly after drawing this I learnt that Pennywise has now closed and become something else.  “The curse strikes again” I thought. Several things I have drawn have subsequently closed down. I’m not going to list them now but this is why it is important for the urban sketcher to record the world while it is here. This of course is not an on-location urban sketch, being drawn from a photo, but it’s for the same purpose. I wish I could go back and draw all the other landmark Burnt Oak places from my past.

2013 art auction at the pence

pence art auction 2013 patio
A couple of weeks ago I went to the Pence Gallery‘s annual Art Auction as one of the contributing artists. It was the third year in a row that I have been invited to take part, in the auction; this year I submitted my panoramic sketch of the Davis Art Center (and it sold – many thanks Erie!!). I also went along (after a busy and late day at work; lots of those lately, hence lack of energy to post my sketches on time) with my sketching materials, and drew what I could. Last year I had sketched the patio from down below, this year I took the opportunity to sketch from above. The band was playing as the September evening got darker, and on the far wall is a huge mural currently being painted by artist Anthony Padillo, whom I had the fortune to meet while I was actually sketching this very scene.
pence art auction 2013

Soon it was time for the Auction itself, and this year I brought some bigger paper to sketch on. It is a real education in art, going to an art auction. I know that sounds obvious, well it is really, but there were some amazing artists on display, local and otherwise, including work by the celebrated late local ceramicist (and UCD art professor) Bob Arneson, and even an original print by the father of Art Nouveau, Alphonse Mucha. I sketched in a large Canson pad, and had some nice conversations afterwards. Always fun sketching events at the Pence!

i’ll meet you on the stairs

Amid my many recent adventures I have not had time to post about my current mini-show on the stairwell of the Pence Gallery in Davis! I have several framed urban sketches on display, ranging in sizes, including the panorama of 18th Street San Francisco seen below. I’m very excited to be displaying my work there again. 18th st SF
The sketches will be on the stairwell for all of July so please come by and take a look! Most are of locations in Davis, places you may know well. If you have any questions about any of the pieces or of my work, please let me know!

The Pence Gallery is on D Street Davis, and their opening hours can be found on their website at:

Here are some of the originals on display. Come by the gallery to see the rest!

cooper house, may 2013davis city offices
little prague, davismondavi centerthe beat, sacramentoantiques plus

studio lines

in their studio, pence gallery october 2012
I am honoured to be in another group show at the Pence Gallery in Davis (212 D St; website), called “In Their Studio”. This show features the works of many local artists, along with a picture showing them at work in their studio. Well as you know, my studio is out in the street with my sketchbook! The two works I submitted are “A Londoner in Davis” (the double-decker bus drawing, which was recently featured on the cover of the Davis Enterprise), and “Old City Hall“, which I sketched on a very sunny, very windy day in January.

Can you guess where I am in that photo?
in my studio!

The show runs upstairs at the Pence until October 28th. If you are in Davis, pop by and check it out!