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!

university house

University House, UC Davis
This is University House, one of the oldest buildings on the UC Davis campus. It was built in 1907/1908 as the house of the farm director when the campus first opened as University Farm, an agricultural research offshoot of UC Berkeley. You can see the sloping roof of South Hall behind it, one of the first dorms. This is near the Quad. Sketched in the Stillman & Birn “Beta” landscape sketchbook. That is a nice book, I’m almost done with it.

it could have been a brilliant career

tercero dining commons uc davis

It’s a funny shape, this building. It’s Tercero Dining Commons at UC Davis. Sketched while the rain poured down. This is now the wettest season in these parts since I moved here. The shape of this building reminded me of a ship at first, then I realized it’s actually a giant beached parasaurolophus, not sure if it wants to be rescued. Nothing surprises me any more in 2017.

out in the storm

rally at uc davis
The rain is back today. Quite heavy as well. It was even rainier a week ago though, when I went out at lunchtime to sketch the rally at the Quad in support of Muslim students, faculty, postdocs and their families affected by the utter chaos of the recent Executive Order; yes, you know the one. The bursting showers had thinned the crowd a bit, but didn’t stop people coming and sharing their stories beneath the safety of their umbrellas, though it was hard to hear their voices over the heavy pounding from above. I stood beneath a large umbrella and captured what I could, adding the paint quickly. I’m very glad I was able to be there.

from Roessler with love

Roessler Hall UC Davis

This is Roessler Hall, UC Davis. Or at least, part of it. Sketched from just outside the Physics Building. After all the big winter storms, destroying trees and swelling rivers, the sun finally came out. Elsewhere, the Oroville dam threatened to burst and large surrounding areas were evacuated; this has ceded a bit now, but it’s only February and there will be a lot of snowmelt later this Spring, so northern California is in for a bit more flooding I think. Feels a bit like the first winter I was here, over 2005-2006, but after years of drought it’s more of a surprise. It’s a worrying situation for a lot of families and I really hope for the best. I recall the storms and floods of early 2006, followed by the searingly hot summer that year, and being so new to California it was an eye-opener for someone like me, from a huge city like London coming to a small city in a vast agricultural valley, to understand the impact of weather on the land. I watched a lot of KCRA3 News and its Chief Meteorologist Mark Finan (Sorry, “KCRA3 Weather Plus Chief Meteorologist Mark Finan”, you have to say the full title otherwise the weather gods are displeased), who quickly became my favourite figure on Californian TV. He got all the exciting weather, and you knew the weather was not going to be interesting when they let Dirk Verdoorn, the reserve keeper, the Michel Vorm to Finan’s Hugo Lloris if you will, take over the reins. I really like Dirk too actually, but Finan with his long unwieldy official title (my wife and I used to joke that it actually just goes on and on, “…Emperor Beyond The Sea, Supreme Mugwump of the Wizengamot, Lord of the High-Slung Bottoms of Zob…”) became an early on-screen hero of mine in those nascent days as a new Californian. Well anyway, on this day at the end of last week the sun was out, the blossom was about to break through, and though the rain is back now, we’re all ready for a bit of Spring colour in this headache of a 2017.

counting acts and clutching thoughts…

putah creek uc davis

It’s February, the birthday month. I don’t really do a lot to celebrate, I don’t have parties or anything, don’t really have enough of a social circle for the sort of nights out I used to have when I was younger, now it’s more a quiet meal with the family, a pint of beer and some cheesecake. Now this sketch, done on the first day of the month at the UCD Arboretum about a minute from my office, was not meant to be metaphorical of  birthdays but in that great way you can retrospectively attach meaning to anything, this is a bridge, signifying crossing from one time to another. Weak I know. On the far side though is the Robert Mondavi Institute of Food and Wine Sciences, which includes the Beer lab, so I supposed that signifies celebratory tipples in some way. There is a STOP sign, which must mean I need to stop and assess myself, and there is a yellow sign for a roundabout, which of course as we all know signifies the Circle of Life, obviously, that one’s obvious. The path, well part of it falls into shadow which of course means the path is not always clear, and then of course there is the Creek, and that one is easy, it signifies my creaking body as I get older each day. I had no idea there was so much semiotic depth to my sketches! I wonder what all the fire hydrants mean? Actually don’t answer that.

the house of glass

UCD Greenhouse
This greenhouse behind Robbins Hall at UC Davis is one I have wanted to draw for ages. I walk past it some days when coming from the bus stop, and in the mornings it’s got that great glow from the inside. The ground was very wet from all the rain we had recently. As a top agricultural university, UC Davis has a thriving Plant Sciences department, within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. In fact UC Davis is ranked #1 in the world in Plant and Animal Sciences. We really know our stuff. We’re also one of the leading universities studying the effects and causes of climate change (see http://climatechange.ucdavis.edu/), which given the current, ahem, climate, is something to be very proud of. Science, scientific expertise and continued scientific research are of the utmost importance, and worth standing up for.