bike barn victoire

Bike Barn UC Davis

More from campus. See, what I do is I work, I go out some lunchtimes and sketch, and then I work, then I go home and eat dinner with my family and look at things online and read and chase cats and sleep. I’ve been in Davis for a quarter of my whole life, so naturally I will draw things again that I have drawn before. Many times. Many, many times. Fecking loads of bleedin’ times. I lived in Aix-en-Provence years ago, before I was drawing as regularly as I am now, and I used to joke about Cezanne getting up every day thinking, right, what shall I paint today then? And he wanders about Cours Mirabeau and Rue des Cordeliers and sits himself down with a poulet-frites and an Orangina and goes, oh ok I’ll paint Mont St Victoire again. I’ve only painted it like 500 times already. And sometimes on weekends he will be like, maybe I’ll pop down to Marseille on the bus and paint the Vieux Port, and then he’s like, nah I can’t be bothered, I hate that walk from the bus station down La Canabiere. This is why we have so many St. Victoire paintings; I know the feeling, Paul, I feel ya. I was pretty much always busy when I lived in Aix, well nowhere near as busy as now and I wish that I had drawn more. I did start drawing again there, my flat-mate Mike from Canada and I started a ‘Wall Of Art’ in our kitchen, silly really but it was a fun place of expression. It started when I bought some oil pastels and sketched him having a drink at a cafe. I should find that and post it here, it might be a bit more interesting than my current crop of Davis sketches. Anyway, this is the Bike Barn. I have drawn this building so many times now (see many of them in this tag: /bikebarn). I suppose it’s my St.Victoire, it’s about the same shape (though I have never climbed on the roof, I have climbed to the top of Mont St.Victoire, twice).

You know what I just realized? I’ve never drawn Mont. St.Victoire from life. Maybe I should go back and do that sometime. But ONLY if Paul Cezanne comes here and paints the Bike Barn. It’s only fair.


feeding ducks in the park and wishing you were far away

silo, UC Davis
I eat lunch almost every single day. Sometimes that lunch is eaten at the UC Davis Silo. If you’ve followed this sketchblog foir some time you will alreayd know this and you are probably as bored of the fact as I am, but it is close to the office. The food has changed over the years. Gone is Taco Bell, gone is Carl’s Junior, in are the food trucks, in is the home-brand bicycle-part-themed ‘Spokes’ which serves burgers. The Crepes place is still here but has moved into Taco Bell’s old spot. I never eat there though. Once years ago I got a crepe from their stall at Picnic Day to share with my young son who was about five or six at the time, and I asked for a second plastic fork for him, and they refused, saying I had to buy a whole second crepe to get a second fork. Really dude? They have a Peet’s Coffee in there now instead of the Starbucks, so that people who like standing in long lines for coffee can still do so. There’s a bit more seating now. On these two lunchtimes I was listening to some podcast or other and just needed to sketch away what was left of the lunchtime. These represent a need to sketch more than anything.
silo interior

pneumatic drill and ripped up concrete

MU UC Davis
Construction work continues on campus. Well, this is not so much building anything as improving the courtyard at the MU in front of Freeborn Hall. I don’t really know what needed improving as they had done it all up just last year and it was fine, but they have had this dug up for the whole summer now blocking entrance into the front of the recently refurbished MU.

panoramas and poor air

hart hall panorama UC Davis
At the start of last month I opened a new sketchbook and had a burst of post-symposium “gotta-sketch-it-all”. What I wanted to do were more panoramas, however they take a long time and I wanted to go more quickly. Having been a big fan of Vincent Desplanche‘s work since meeting him at the USk France Rencontre in Strasbourg in 2015, I’ve wanted to try more pencil and watercolour panoramas. I had a bunch of new Palomino pencils my friend Terry sent me from Japan, which I wanted to try out as they are darker and softer than the usual H pencils I use occasionally. So I drew a bunch of panoramas over lunchtimes or after work or weekends, adding the paint on site, and I have to say that it was a quicker than the long pen ones but still felt time-consuming. For one thing, the pencil smudges a bit more, even after being coated with watercolour wash. That said, I really like the pencil and watercolour and it was fun to draw these. Here are three from campus. Above, Hart Hall, one of the more interesting looking buildings on campus. I have drawn it a few times before.

UC Davis MU terminal

One of the other details about this summer is the terrible air in California, brought about by all the huge wild fires. California is hot and dry and the fires have been really bad the past couple of years. This summer the fires made the air thick and smoky for weeks on end, as you can see with the two sketches above and below. The one above was sketched at the Memorial Union Bus Terminal on campus. I had walked across campus to drop something off at the International Center late one afternoon, and was going to catch the bus to go home, so I sketched this at the bus terminal while waiting. The air made me feel so physically sick that I had a huge headache and a nasty sore throat. This was one of the worst air days I’ve experienced here. One thing that often happens here in summer is on the very hot days we have ‘Spare The Air’ days, when riding on buses are free. I think this year we had eighteen spare-the-air days in a row. In the sketch above there is an ironic sign – we are a smoking-free campus (good), and the sign reminds us we are 100% smoke and tobacco free. Well, not so much on this day.

UC Davis Silo food trucks

The one above was sketched on the next day at the Silo. The air was still bad, but felt significantly better. Why go out and sketch in it? I still needed to sketch, and this is where I come to eat. This one was an easier and quicker sketch, not really too much detail, just a fun piece of perspective. The food trucks and the large sloping shade thing were added last year to the redeveloped Silo area. I have a few more of these panoramas to post, sketched in downtown Davis.

metamorphosis of walker hall

walker hall 080218
Some of you may recall that I enjoy drawing the in-progress construction (and deconstruction) of buildings on the UC Davis campus. For example, the construction of the Manetti Shrem (completed 2016), and the long removal of the Boiler Building and replacement with the Pitzer Center (also completed 2016 – see the sketches from that project in this Flickr album). So when I was told a few years ago or so that the empty Walker Hall, a historic E-shaped building in the middle of campus, was going to be completely reconverted to house the new Graduate Center, I was super excited. I’m a big advocate for graduate studies on campus so am pleased they will be getting a modern new space, while still reusing an existing building. I started sketching the renovation already back in May, and drew it quite a few times in its previous dormant state, but this summer the real work began, so when I got back from Portugal I took the sketchbook over and started sketching from the outside.
walker hall 081418
walker hall 081518
As you can see, the whole building is empty now, leaving the shell. It looks like the wings at the rear of the building will be slightly shorter than they originally were, but that is where the largest degree of change will happen, and will be completely modernized – the front however won’t look too different.
walker hall 081518
Above and below, sketched from the side closest to the Shields Library. The Graduate Center will be located in between the Shields Library and the Student Community Center.
walker hall 081618
The most recent sketch I did is below, stood across the street outside Everson. It’s hard to see a lot of the building because of the trees and trailers in the way, but it’s a hive of activity. I’m looking forward to sketching some more as the year goes on. It’s expected to be completed by Spring 2019. You can find out more about the Graduate Center at the Grad Studies website, and also at at the Design & Construction Management site.
walker hall 082918

never mind the lovelocks

arboretum bridge with padlocks
And so August began, and a new sketchbook was opened. I bought a softcover Stillman and Birn Alpha landscape book from the UC Davis bookstore – I do like that paper a lot, and the softcover is slightly smaller than the hardcover making panoramas a little faster – more on those later. However it is a bit more difficult to hold in the way that I hold my sketchbooks, trying to keep them flat and sturdy, but it’s not impossible. The dark red cover is very nice. It was the first day of August, my sketching muscles were twitching, the weather was unbearably hot, my inbox was overflowing. On this particular lunchtime I took myself into the Arboretum and sketched one of the bridges over Putah Creek. This one has a lot of those padlocks attached to it. You know the ones, like on that bridge in Paris, the one which got so overrun with these ‘love-locks’ that they were worried the weight would drag the bridge into the Seine and they were removed. There are a few such love-locked bridges in the Arboretum. So if you are unfamiliar with the concept, what people do is they carve their initials or their names into a padlock, and then attach it to a bridge, so that they can come back some day and say, oh look it’s still there, amazingly. Or they can come back with a future girlfriend/boyfriend and say, “no, that isn’t me, that’s another person with the same name/initial.” Or, more plausibly, they can come back with a future boyfriend/girlfriend and say, “yah, this was probably me, I don’t remember, this one too, and this one, you don’t know them, they went to a different UC” to which the boyfriend/girlfriend can roll their eyes and say “yeah right, you put these here yourself”. You get the picture.

Whenever I see these ‘love-locks’, my inner Severus Snape always comes out, curling his lip, “Hoooow … Romantic. Ten points from Gryffindor.”

more campus vignettes

north hall uc davis
Ok I am pretty caught up with the scanning so here are some more lunchtime campus sketches, packed into one post. Above is one of the oldest buildings on the UC Davis campus – North Hall. It’s 110 years old. This is the side of it, facing South Hall.
BikeBarn and Food Truck May 2018 sm
Here is the Bike Barn, as seen from the South Silo, next to one of the food trucks that frequent the Silo area these days (or during the academic year anyway).

Enology Lab (rear) UCD May 2018 sm
This is the rear of the Enology Lab Building, just off California Avenue. It looks uninteresting but is the sort of thing I like to draw.

arts building tree ucd

This is a tree outside the Arts Building.

heitman center uc davis

The rear of Heitman (formerly the Hog Barn), with the south Silo behind it. I have taken a lot of staff development classes here in Heitman.

UC Davis again
And the view of the Bike Barn from afar, once more. I have sketched this scene so many times over the years, but this time at a slightly different angle. That’s the front of Heitman there, with the South Silo behind it. Right now, at the end of June, the Davis Heat is here again. A hundred degrees and rising, with a hot wind blowing. Onwards with the World Cup knockout stage…