how are things in your little world

south silo uc davis
Here’s a view that I used to sketch a lot more, but I got bored of it, as it never really changed much. It’s the South Silo at UC Davis, as viewed from the steps of Bainer Hall. I used to sketch it every six months in fact, once in winter, once in spring, tracking the changes. This past week I noticed however that it had changed quite dramatically – the big wild tree to the left of the leaning one was cut down, as were several other smaller ones near the Bike Barn, as the UC Davis South Silo area undergoes a major redesign. This is going to look pretty different. Here’s an article in The Aggie detailing how it will eventually look – quite a change, I think. More dining locations will be added (hooray!), plus a convenience store (I still miss the little one that used to be the Law Bookshop). It won’t be all done until next year.

While we are waiting, let’s go back in time and see what it used to look like….

heitman and south silo panorama
January 2015

view from bainer uc davis<
July 2011

south silo uc davis
January 2011

the view from bainer, again
June 2010
January 2010

bike barn from bainer
June 2009

January and March 2009

smoky and the bikebarn
June 2008

no leaves for you
January 2008

uc davis trees encore
July 2007

I will miss that tree.

saturday summer sketchcrawl

farmers market panorama july 2016 sm

This is the Davis Farmer’s Market, a sketch that I did while standing up for the best part of two hours, occasionally talking to people. It was busy, though by the time I was finished all the people had gone and the market stalls had all but packed up. This was the longest sketch I did as part of the “Let’s Draw Davis” sketchcrawl on Saturday, the return of the sketching meetups I used to organize monthly for a few years until my weekend days got just too busy. It was really nice to get out there and sketch with others again, see some old familiar faces, and meet some new sketchers too. We started off at Central Park, and I did some quick people-sketching in my Fabriano sketchbook, using pencil and watercolour. There was an even going on speaking up against oil trains, those big hulking freight trains that carry oil dangerously through residential areas (such as Davis). It was interesting to listen to, I support their cause and I sketched some of the speakers.
LDDjuly2016 Speaker 1
LDDjuly2016 Speaker 2
LDDjuly2016 Fireman Guy sm
Look at me sketching people eh. Below, some of the other sketchers. In the first sketch, of Sonja in the purple hat, I showed off my favourite tip for drawing people, draw a massive hat and avoid the face at all costs. No I’m only kidding, but it looks like that’s what I’m doing! I’m quite pleased with this sketch though, I like the way it turned out, full of character, showing the sketcher busy at work. The other sketchers drawn below are Kim, Sam and Peter, three different seated poses, three different angles.
LDDjuly2016 Sonja
LDDjuly2016 Kim
LDDjuly2016 Sam
LDDjuly2016 Peter

I used three sketchbooks on this sketchcrawl because I enjoy carrying loads of stuff around with me. No, Seawhite #4 was at a close (the Farmer’s Market sketch was the last double-page spread, though the penultimate sketch – I actually finished it next day sketching the Euro final). I enjoy the Seawhite of Brighton sketchbooks now, after seeing what other sketchers did with them when out in France last year, and I was pleased to see another sketcher, Peter, also using a Seawhite. I opened a new sketchbook, the Stillman and Birn ‘Alpha’ landscape, my third one of this particular model (though I have a few other sizes of the Alpha, it’s my favourite paper I think). I drew the newspaper boxes outside Peet’s Coffee in E Street, while my legs started to hurt from all the stand-up sketching. I need to use my stool a little bit more (but I do like having the elevated view of standing up).

E Street newspaper boxes

And then the remaining sketchers met up at the end to look at each others sketchbooks, which is always nice. We got a lot of very nice sketches done that day. Here is a photo I took of everyone holding up their books. By the way, we didn’t lay them all out on the floor and stare at them from six feet up like too many sketchcrawls do these days (pick them up! Pass them around!).  Some of the sketchers that didn’t make it to the end did come and find me before they went and I got to see what they had done, and a few others met me at De Vere’s afterwards having not been at the E Street Plaza end point, so overall it was a very nice day full of sketching in Davis. I do plan to restart Let’s Draw Davis on a monthly basis, but not until October, to coincide with my sketchbook exhibit at the UC Davis Design Museum. In the meantime, Davis sketchers, keep up the good sketching work!

Some of the Davis sketchers...

let’s rock

luke's rocks sm
My son really likes geology, and has a decent collection of rocks, minerals and gems. I drew some of them in his book (the “book of his things”), but some of them we couldn’t remember the names of. He does have a little guide but I couldn’t be bothered looking them up. I obviously really love the first one because it looks like the Crystal Shard from one of my favourite movies, the Dark Crystal.

draw your swords!

Swords
Before I plunge into posting Santa Barbara sketches, I thought I might show you some swords. They’re not real swords I hasten to add, that isn’t real metal, that isn’t real gold with blue Chi energy running though it. These were bought in Legoland, which actually isn’t a real land, it’s more like a theme park I suppose. My son has quite an armoury of Lego swords, which are made form a kind of hardened foam and really do take a beating – I should know, I’m usually the one getting beaten. I always need the shield to protect me from the rapid sword blows being rained upon me. I sometimes wear an Iron Man mask to give me some more protection, but unfortunately it doesn’t record, predict and counteract all of my opponent’s moves like the real thing. These are great fun, I must admit. I drew them in the Book of My Son’s Things. We will go back to Legoland, California, this summer, to spend more money, as you do. I love it.

Haha, “draw your swords”, haha, I just got that.

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.

 

what’s it all a boot

adidas soccer shoes
My son’s football boots. Or soccer shoes, if you will; “cleats”, they like to call them here. He has been wearing these since the Fall 2015 season. Prior to this he wore lime green Diadoras. The trend these days as you of course know all too well is for highly colourful football boots, often with crazy psychedelic patterns on them, and sometimes with a different colour shoe on each foot. It was nice therefore that he decided to go for a fairly straightforward black pair, with blue laces. These get a good run out too. Also, he has scored in every single game he has worn them, so far (that’s twelve games in a row now). I am coaching AYSO again, for the fourth time; this season we are the Green Dragons.

Speaking of football, what about Leicester City eh! Yes, I was in the minority hoping they wouldn’t do it, only because my team, Spurs, were the only challengers towards the end, but even then we will end up pretty far behind them, probably in 2nd, but hopefully not in 3rd. I am well happy for them, and despite Spurs having an absolutely vintage season in many ways, we could never catch Leicester, and they won it in style. 5000-1 odds! In April last year they were still bottom, but managed to stay up. Of course, I predicted they’d win it this year ages ago. Actually, no I didn’t, I said, in my blog post about the new kits last August, “How will Leicester do this year? Well, they’ll either stay up (happy Lineker face) or they will go down (sad Lineker face).” Which is close. Villa as predicted were awful, and I got it right that Sunderland would stay up, but I also said Newcastle would as well, and they didn’t.

Coming up are the “Euros”, and if I get my act together I will produce another guide to all the kits, along with predictions. If you don’t really like hearing about football kits, by the way, and follow me on Twitter, especially if you aren’t too into someone getting really passionately annoyed about a group of men wearing red socks with white shorts and white tops (England I am looking at you) I might suggest unfollowing for the whole month of June, and then following again in mid July when I start talking about sketching again. I have some things to say about football kits. And don’t get me started on the fancy fluorescent footwear…

the tall wings of the dark side

kylo ren lego ship

And back to the Lego. This is my son’s Kylo Ren spaceship, from a movie called The Force Awakens. Did you see that? It’s pretty good. It’s about this girl, and there’s this guy, and there’s this other guy who’s really grumpy, and they meet these guys and then all this stuff happens and the force wakes up, and the end. I saw it four times at the movie theater, or rather I saw it twice at the cinema (that is, in England), and twice at the movie theater (ie, in America), and one of those times was at the IMAX. I’ve seen it a couple of times at least on DVD now. So the shiny stormtrooper, if you live in London and go on the Northern Line, her other job is saying “This station is Chalk Farm. This train terminates at Morden, via Bank. Please stand clear of the closing doors.” I recognized the tall hairy bloke as well, I’ve seen him in something. So, I loved the film. I must point out that I am a massive Star Wars fan, I like all the Star Wars, all the wars, they’re great, and then there’s the stars, I love them, love all the different stars. Sirius, the Sun, Rigel, Nigel, Rigella, all the stars.

So there is a fair bit of Star Wars Lego in the house, and this is the tallest. Those wings are collapsible, much to Kylo’s annoyance. He needs those big wings, none of the other dark lords had wings that tall. Vader’s wings were tiny, and Darth Maul’s. You just know General Hux made him get collapsible wings so they would fit in the Star Destroyer. “Do you know how expensive those big bay doors are Ren?” he says. “You should be careful I don’t make your bay doors bigger Hux!” Ren retorts, before they both give each other very embarrassed looks, and Ren says “sorry that came out wrong, I need to go and speak to grandfather’s melted helmet,” before Hux suppresses a giggle and Ren shuffles away. On the back of this ship is a sticker that says “Chewie is my co-pilot” which obviously he put there years ago and forgot was there. That’s the thing, when you turn to the Dark Side do you go back and delete all those Facebook photos of selfies from high school, do all your friends unfriends you because your posts start getting all political, posting all “How to Talk to a Rebel” nonsense and changing your profile picture to a big Imperial flag with all “Proud To Be Imperial” and sharing “First Order First” posts that definitely aren’t racist against wookiees or gungans, but all seem to be stuff like “Who remembers when Coruscant was all Imperial shops, oh them were the days, now when you fly down a Coruscant street it’s all gungan blue energy ball shops, it’s a health hazard.” I bet Kylo gets into all sorts of arguments online, and all his comments are about three pages long full of links to Wikipedia or right-wing pro-first-order news editorials. He seems the type. I imagine being online was very much like that for Kylo, except I bet Facebook made him change his name back to Ben Solo because they have that bloody must-use-your-real-name policy, honestly you would think he would just not use Facebook, he doesn’t even like showing his face. I like how he smashes up his computer when he gets annoyed, that’s one way of getting a new computer. See I think that if Han and Leia didn’t keep getting him new computers every time he smashed one to pieces maybe he would have developed the emotional intelligence not to turn to the Dark Side. Then again I bet they were all like, “You’re not parking that ship in here, not unless you get collapsible wings” and he went out and got the wings made even bigger, just to rebel. Teenagers eh.

I can’t remember where I was going with this. As I said, I like Star Wars a lot. I really enjoyed The Force Awakens, but not in a fashionable smirky-cool “Hate The Prequels” way. No, I actually love the prequels, I love all the prequels. Prequels prequels prequels that’s me, I love them. Right, Lego. So I drew this in the Book of My Son’s Things. It’s a Stillman and Birn Alpha book. This was a fun sketch to do, and a fun ship to build, and play with. Note the little show running along the edge of the scan. I call that the Dark Side. Get it? Do you get it? Dark Side? No?