don’t matter what i do

south silo aug 2017

Long hot summer ain’t passing me by, though I’m trying to pass it by. We went over 40 days of 90 degree weather, many of them being in the 100s. I drew this over the course of three lunchtimes, each one where I ate at one of the food trucks at the newly remodeled Silo area. I drew this from the shade of a tree, and you can see the whole area in front of the Bike Barn has been totally renovated and changed, it looks different from the way it did previously (see this post from 2015 which shows sketches back to 2011). Sketching in the heat is something I should be used to in Davis, but more and more it puts me off. Maybe because I have drawn everything in this town and on this campus (maybe not everything, but it feels like it), maybe I have sketched so much this year already that it feels like a chore sometimes (you go through these lulls), maybe I just don’t want to leave the house (I have discovered the joys of creating stop-motion Lego animations, it’s fun). Maybe I have been spending too much time drawing MS Paint illustrations of this year’s football kits (no, NOT ENOUGH time!). Maybe it’s that whole thing where you go to Italy, and nothing else seems quite as interesting afterwards, and you just yearn for more travel, more places. Maybe, I don’t really know. Maybe you’re the same as me, we’ll see things they’ll never see, you and I are gonna live forev-eeeerrrr…


almost ready at the south silo

south silo uc davis
This is the latest at the South Silo, UC Davis. Much of the new expanse with the food trucks and covered area is open now, it looks very nice and I’ll sketch it when it’s done. This however is The Market (I think it’s called) and it’s almost ready, so I took the chance to sketch it in its almost-complete state. Those particular triangles are very popular on this campus.

time may change me but i can’t trace time

south silo panorama mar2017 sm.jpg
Here is another two-page panorama of UC Davis, a scene I have sketched many times but has been undergoing a lot of changes lately. As you can see in the distance there they are building a whole new covered area between the Silo and the Bike Barn which will be for eating and stuff, and as you can see there’s a cement mixer on the side there. In the foreground though by the sign is a small sustainable garden that was planted there last year, it’s quite a nice addition to this area. Click on the image for a closer view.

maybe i don’t really wanna know

south silo construction (cont...)

Construction continues at the UC Davis South Silo area. Here’s what it looked like the last time I sketched it in November (aka “OHGODNOOOO!!!-vember”). That roof is really coming along now. Here is what it looked like last August, almost the same view as this one.Those triangular roofs look like a mountain range, or the crests of a cliff face. This sketch is a bit like one of those “puzzles” people post on Facebook, “how many triangles can you see in this image?” Don’t answer it, there are just loads. Honestly. You like all those puzzles and posts though don’t you, those “Can you see the Math problem? Only one in ten can!” and it’s like 10-5 or something, then you realize the problem is the word “Math” but it’s only a problem if you’re British and a stickler (let me just say, I work in the same building as the Math department whereas I work for “Stats”, amusing observation on usage of plurals in the abbreviated form. Look I’m not going to go on about this, you know I would, but it’s late on a Friday night and I’m tired and a bit hungry.) My favourite ones are the posts that state, I’m honestly not making this up, things like “Try to name a Song which has a colour in the title. It’s harder than you think!!” Um, no, it’s really really fecking easy, there are literally millions of songs. Yet you see the comments afterwards, everyone’s coming up with the same “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon” shite as if they have discovered something unique and obscure, well done you, well done, pat on the back, good job remembering the most basic things. Ok, here I go, they’re too easy a target, stupid Facebook posts, I apologize, it’s late on a Friday. Oh but those other ones I hate, “Do you remember [insert name of chocolate bar here]?” And everyone’s like, “yeah I remember those! God that brings me back. Gawd, eating a [insert chocolate bar here] after school, covered in mud, no such things as video games back then, we had hula hoops if we were lucky, eating a [insert chocolate bar here] after saving up my pennies, gawd didn’t have video games and iPods in those days, made our own entertainment, didn’t have immigrants either, etc etc ad infinitum.” You’ll notice that is less realistic than the real thing, on the real Facebook they reach the inevitable immigrant conclusion of their random journey down fake memory lane much more quickly, at least on the FB memory-sharing groups I have seen and subsequently unfollowed. And the funny thing is, that [insert chocolate bar here] is still bloody available! Still in the shops. Those ones are in the category of “do you remember…” posted by people who are actually goldfish with zero memory of anything. “Do you remember Twix?” “Do you remember the sky?” “Do you remember the concept of time and space?” Sorry, sorry, Facebook is too easy a target. Actually I haven’t posted on my Facebook page (petescullysketcher) in ages. It’s probably FB fatigue, we’re all getting that. Undoubtedly it’s also laziness. It’s also because nobody remembers anything when I post “Do you remember…” posts, nobody remembers any of it, like it’s too obscure. “Do you remember … where I put my gloves?” “Does anyone remember … next Thursday?” I don’t really connect with Facebook any more, I don’t really get it. The Next Big Fad hasn’t arrived yet. Wow, where did this stream of nonsense begin? (Skims backwards through the post) Oh right,”Triangles”. How many triangles in this image? I don’t know, it’s late on a Friday night, I really want a chocolate bar, and I can’t remember where I put it, and I’m not asking Facebook, because they can’t remember anything.

I hope you like the sketch!

as the present now will later be past

South Silo UC Davis
More campus construction. This is the South Silo, which is being totally remade into “the Market” I think, I have seen the images but I will just see it when it’s all done. There used to be a small Law bookshop here which sold snacks, where I would come and buy a Sobe and some mint M&Ms.I’ve been here on campus more than ten years now, which my 30-year-old self would see as a surprise I’m sure. So, it’s nice to track the changes when they happen. Hey look! Clouds! This was a day of fluffy clouds. We had a fair bit of at the end of October, washing Halloween out, and our final AYSO game of the season too. The sun is back now though, but the weather is decidedly cooler and more autumnal. This was the first day of November. With the upcoming presidential election, I prefer to call this month “OHGODNOOOOO!!!!!vember”. Two more months of this bizarre 2016 left, maybe two very long months. Keep on sketchin’…

along hutchison drive


In July I started a new sketchbook, a long panoramic accordion Moleskine sketchbook, with the intention of doing some very long drawings on the UC Davis campus. As it turned out I managed three scenes, all on the same street (Hutchison Drive), though only in pen with a dab of colour here and there. If you click on the image above, you will see the whole thing in closer detail. Below, I’ve cut the three scenes down – still too long to see, so click on them for a closer view.

Hutchison Panorama part1.jpg
First of all, the new Pitzer Center, still under construction in this sketch, on the left. A good place to start! Then, the Music Building, followed by Wright Hall and the Art Building. Good place to stop.

Hutchison Panorama part2.jpg

Next up, the Silo complex, also under reconstruction. First of all you see Rock Hall, the Chemistry Building’s lecture hall. Next up, the back of the Bike Barn building, this side has been various things since I have been here, and I’ve sketched it many times. This whole area is being rebuilt and improved at present. Next up is the Silo itself, where I often eat lunch. I stopped once the sketch got across the street, where the Silo Bus Terminal is, and drew a tree as a dividing line to the next part.

Hutchison Panorama part3.jpg

Finally, on the other side of the street, Walker Hall, which is currently empty but will eventually be completely renovated and this side rebuilt, when it becomes the Graduate and Professional Students’ Building. I think that is the name. IT’s going to be pretty cool, but I do like this building, and will probably draw it again…

This sketchbook will actually be on display along with many more sketchbooks in my upcoming exhibition, “Conversations with the City“, at the UC Davis Design Museum in Cruess Hall from Sept 19 to Nov 12. If you’re in town, do come by to see it!

answers on a postcard

south silo uc davis
Well, what else has been going on on the UC Davis campus this summer? Building work, hot days, Delta breezes, summer sessions classes, and lunchtime drawings in a post-Manchester-symposium sketching-energy spike. Actually more of a pre-UC Davis-Design-Museum-Sketchbook-Exhibition sketching sketching-energy spike. Yes, my sketchbook exhibit is opening next month, it will be called “Conversations with the City” and will run at the Design Museum in Cruess Hall from September 19 to November 13. So exciting! See for more details. I will be displaying sketchbooks ranging from 2006 to 2016. The exhibit is Curated by¬†James Housefield and Tim¬†McNeil of the UC Davis Design Department, and I will also be giving a talk about my urban sketching work (and why you should keep a sketchbook) on Thursday October 6th, from 6-8pm. I will place an announcement in the sidebar on my website, but if you are in Davis then do come by!

In the meantime…here are some recent sketches of UC Davis. Above, the South Silo, undergoing a major refurbishment and upgrade of that whole area. New eateries will be going in, the paths will be widened to create a new vista, already we have seen some big improvements (despite the removal of an old funny-shaped tree, which was kind of in the way – it’s easier to cycle around Bainer now). You can see the oft-sketched Bike Barn there too on the right. It will be fun to see how different it all looks here. Below, part of the same building, still functioning despite the big renovations next door, the UC Davis Craft Center. I drew it one lunchtime before taking a Diversity training class in the building opposite. I added the paint later on.Not a lot of shaded spots to sketch this view from but I stood beneath a small tree.
craft center uc davis
Below is Nelson Hall, which is home to the Della Davidson Performance Studio. It’s on Old Davis Road, next to the Arboretum, and this used to be called the University Club. Last time I was in here was during the UC Davis Centenary celebrations (2008-09); in fact I took my new staff orientation here a decade ago. I’ve been on campus a long time now. I always felt like these little snapshots of Davis were my ‘postcards’ being sent back to those I left in England, so they can see where I live now. After almost eleven years in California there have been a lot of these postcards…
nelson hall uc davis
This building below has been on campus a lot longer: TB9, aka Temporary Building #9. It’s long been an arts studio and home to decades of ceramicists such as Robert Arneson. Fun story, first ever sketchcrawl I did in Davis (Dec 2005) I ended up outside here, sketching sculptures in the back yard area. Recently, TB9 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places – see the news announcement – due to its importance in art history. About time I sketched it properly then huh! It is right next to the Pitzer Center so has cropped up in the background a few times. With the Pitzer Center no longer being a big closed off construction site I was able to get stand off the road and get a better view without being run over by trucks.
TB9 uc davis
Even older still is Wyatt Pavilion Theatre, below, a decent-sized performance hall built in 1907 (that’s right, 1907! Here is some history and info). I came and saw a play here a few years ago, Richard III; I really should go and see more theatre. I do have a degree in Drama you know. Ah that explains a lot I hear you say. Well it was French and Drama if you must know. I actually did a fair bit of foreign language acting when I was at college, though usually in German. Acting in German is way more fun; you get to do Brecht!
Wyatt Pavilion UC Davis

See that blue poster on the wall of the Wyatt? That is actually advertising my exhibition! Among other things, my that is at the top, which is exciting. So anyway, come and see my “Conversations with the City” when it opens, and take a peak at my sketchbooks. I hope you like it.