This is a Leap Year. For those of you on other planets, a Leap Year is one where everybody makes rubbish jokes about those who have birthdays on February 29th technically being far younger than they really are. It happens once every four years and apparently we have them to correct our imprecise calendars; if we didn’t then we’d have a situation eventually where the sun would be getting up at lunchtime and something to do with aliens. So we call this extra day ‘Leap Day’ and act as if it is somehow ‘extra’. To make it really ‘extra’, another day in the weekend would have been nice. Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th, Leap Day 29th, Monday 1st, etc. Apparently though we can’t do that because, again, aliens. Anyway I sketched more spring blossom on Leap Day lunchtime, revisiting a scene that I sketched in November when those same trees were flaming with red and orange. That autumnal scene is below. I didn’t sketch them while leafless, you will have to just imagine them naked. Now they are clothed in brilliant white blossom, tinged with pale green. The Chemistry Building looms behind, unchanged and like a rock. I mean literally like a Rock, because the adjoining Rock Hall lecture building is away to the left, off-screen. The trees’ positions look slightly different, due to my slightly different standing location (you go where the shade is on a sunny day). It’s a test of observation. Two seasons in Davis.
It’s Fall. Autumn. So the leaves are all changing. You expect that sort of thing. Hey, you might remember I sketched this scene (from a different angle) only a week or two ago when it was all still green (actually I left the trees white I think, so that doesn’t work), I didn’t even compeltely colour this one in, but it was so peaceful and colourful. The scene below, sketched last week in the Arboretum, was also colourful, but there’s only so much time to colour everything in. It wasn’t that colourful I suppose.
Big rain storms rolled into California today. Late November can be a very colourful time of year, when the trees are bright yellow, fiery orange, deep reds, and leaves flutter down on every breeze. When the storms come it blows everything around, meaning what would otherwise be a grey and dismal day was in fact a beautiful, I mean really beautiful stormy morning. I walked to a meeting mid-morning, and could have walked on all day in the rain. The ground was covered in bright leaves, like a dusting of golden snow. I don’t have a window in my office so I can’t gaze dreamily out at the rain (I have to draw a picture of it on my whiteboard), but I can hear it on the skylight, tap-tap-tap, and by lunchtime it was pounding. I couldn’t wait to get back out, find a sheltered spot, and draw the colourful storm while it lasted. I listened to a history podcast about England’s medieval conquest of Wales and drew in the Moleskine. It’s funny, whenever it rains here people are often, oh no, rain, I don’t want to get my raincoat slightly wet in the brief dash from my car to Target, whereas I’m like, oh it’s just a bit of rain, grrr. So I scribbled down this cartoon in my notepad this afternoon. Thought you might like it.
The final sketches of the Arboretum sketchcrawl, this is the Redwood Grove. These redwoods are only about fifty years old, tiny little things really, I barely noticed them. It’s quite a peaceful place, the redwood grove,, running along the creek. Redwoods grow naturally in the coastal ranges, not in the Central Valley. Ewoks are nowhere to be seen. You may notice, hidden somewhere in the above picture, that there was a photoshoot going on, with a young woman dressed like Alice (of Wonderland fame).
It was nice to see the Arboretum with so many sketchers dotted around, people stopping and watching us, seeing what we were drawing. Personally, when I see others out drawing, I want to draw things myself, so hopefully it had that same effect on people. Hopefully, someone saw us and decided, I like drawing, I’m going to get a sketchbook and go and draw some of my town myself, maybe even go on the next sketchcrawl? Well, the next Worldwide Sketchcrawl is in just over a week – April 16th. I’ll not be organizing a Davis one on that day (I’ll be joining the San Francisco crawl, in the Mission) but that day is also Picnic Day, so a great excuse for you to bring a sketchbook and sketch Davis’s big annual celebration.
Below, the sketchers who remained till the end: Dick, Tom, Jenny and Marlene. They all produced some great work! We had about thirteen sketchers in total that day, and it was a really nice afternoon. thanks to all those who came along – the next Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl will be in May (likely the 14th), at the Farmers Market. See you next time!
Though this was technically done last month (it was last week; February is a short month) this is how Davis looks right now. There is pink blossom appearing on many trees, and Spring in the air. I love it when the blossom arrives, it reminds me of Springs when I was a kid. Burnt Oak may be known for graffiti, litter and the odd burnt-out car, but there are lots of trees that blossom in the Springtime, making the world look nice and pretty, if only for a short while. Davis has such trees too. This was outside the bike barn, over at the Silo, during lunchtime when the sun was out.
Outside the Math Sciences Building. This February weather is nice – cold in the mornings, brisk at lunchtimes, but with lots of sun and long shadows and bare trees to sketch. This pretty much sums up the kind of light we are having, though I wish I could sketch in the early morning, or late afternoon, when the light is a rich golden syrup. This was a lunchtime sketch.
It can get pretty foggy in Davis. After long months of summer, then the odd massive rainstorm, and some cold bright winter days, fog is not exactly the most frequent of visitors, but when it comes it comes. It collects on my top as I cycle down the bike path. It soaks the ground like a rainshower. It hangs around all day, sometimes vanishing in the aftenoon like it never existed, other times – like today – lingering like an army of ghosts. Ok, maybe that’s overdoing it. But it was cold today – I know, it’s freezing brass monkey weather in Britain right now, we can’t complain – and I didn’t much fancy drawing. But I decided to go outside and sketch a tree, my first outside sketch in what feels like ages (the last one was in fact this one, just over a month ago in Burnt Oak), and I’m glad I did, I got some fresh air. Or fresh fog, at least.