said the hero in the story

hydrant near segundo, uc davis

Coming home from the ARC gym on Friday evening, I spotted this rusting hydrant poking out of the greenery, saying “sketch me! sketch me!” Well I couldn’t not sketch it. It was starting to get dark, it had been a busy week and a fairly stressful one, the hour in the gym helped massively, it must be said. Nothing beats a sketch though for stress relief. Well one or two other things might but I’m pretty good at sketching. This is the first page of a new sketchbook. Seawhite of Brighton (#10, aka landscape sketchbook #33 in the new numbering system). Every sketchbook needs a fire hydrant. Every sketchbook needs a fire hydrant. Every sketchbook needs a fire hydrant.

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the world’s still spinning round we don’t know why

3rd and B May 2019 sm

Rain has returned for a bit, a surprise at this time of year. More is coming. Not too much I hope. Anyway this week I decided to finish off Sketchbook #32 (my numbering of my panoramic sketchbooks brings us to this number) with a two-page spread of the corner of 3rd Street and B Street. I last sketched this corner over a year ago on a rainy March day, stood as I was this day beneath the entrance of the US Bicycling Hall of Fame. I think it will be a restaurant. Another changing corner of Davis. 3rd Street has had quite an upgrade from this corner down to the University, this week getting a bit of a celebration (that I didn’t go to). Click on the image to get a closer view (or just put your eyes really close to the screen).

you know the place where nothing is real

The Barn UCD

It was hot, my allergies were making me tired and irritable, I needed to sketch at lunchtime. So I went outside, where it was still hot, and my allergies were still making me tired and irritable, but at least I got a bit of sketching in. This is The Barn at UC Davis. The rose bush in the foreground looks a bit like ice cream with strawberry flavoured sprinkles on the top, but that’s all I wanted to do, and I quite like that it looks like a massive pile of cold food on an already hot day. As of yesterday though the hot weather has put on the brakes and some rain has come, much needed but I hope it stops because the Davis World Cup is coming next week, and we need the fields to stay open…

sneezes and walker hall

Walker Hall UCD

A couple more sketches of Walker Hall. As you can see from above there are new metal pieces being added to the front. Progress continues apace. I hope there is enough office space for all the staff that will be working in there when it is done. I can’t wait to see what it looks like. I have not been back inside since that one time, I might see if I can go back in once things progress even more, get the hard hat back on. Anyway, the above was my second attempt at sketching, on the first (below) I was beset on all sides by the inequities of the sneezing, and the allergies of sneezy men. Blessed is he who in the name of allergies and good will asks the weak “what are you taking?”, for he is truly his brother’s keeper, and the finder of unasked for allergy remedies. And I will sneeze down upon thee with great vengeance and furious pollen those who attempt to sneeze on my brothers, and you will know my name is ATCHOO! when I lay my tissues upon you. ATCHOO! ATCHOO! ATCHOO! ATCHOO!

Ok, what? Where did that come from? I sneezed a lot. I sneeze a lot at this time of year. When I sneeze a lot it makes me think of Pulp Fiction. I’ve said before I don’t like being blessed when I sneeze, for one thing it doesn’t work, because I just keep on sneezing. “What are you taking?” “Oh nothing, I’m just hoping all the blessing finally works.” Someone actually said to me the other day after saying a couple of “bless-yous”, they said, “oh wait you have allergies, not a cold” like it makes a difference. I take it then that you can only bless someone who has an actual cold, but allergies are beyond magic spiritual faith healing? But maybe instead of saying “Bless-you!” people can instead go into the full “Ezekiel 25-17”. Just say the whole thing when someone sneezes, then they won’t feel bad for sneezing ten times over you. “What are you taking?” “Ezekiel 25-17.”

Walker Hall UC Davis ATCHOO

“Ask your doctor about taking once-daily Ezekiel 25-17. Side effects include constipation, a runny nose, flocks of seagulls, big brains, breaks in concentration, saying “what” again, saying “what” one more goddamn time. In some cases injury and death can occur. If you should notice any of these side-effects, you ain’t got no problem. I’m on the mother****er. Go back in there, and wait for the Wolf, who should be coming directly.”

Palo Alto

Dodge Dart in Palo Alto
We went down to Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley, for a soccer tournament (my son’s team the Davis Dawgs got first place after a thrilling and tight final). It was held at Greer Park, just off the freeway, and I had time between games to get some walking in, and some sketching too. This old car was parked near ours, a Dodge Dart, looking very much like it just skidded in from a 1970s cop show, knocking over a pile of boxes, shouting ‘guv!’ and sliding over the bonnet pointing a shooter at some crooks in a Ford Cortina. Even the headlights and the grille seem to be scowling at the DI who is reprimanding them for kicking in the door of a well-known Tory MP accused of taking backhanders from back-door bad guys, before slamming his badge down on the table, shouting ‘guv’ and heading down to the smoky boozer to growl at the barman, where he overhears a tip from a grass and a lightbulb goes off, and the next scene there is a door being kicked in and a scrawny looking crook caught wide-eyed in the headlights, before hauling him into the DI’s office and slinging him across the desk, earning a raised eyebrow, a shouty word, and his badge back, thanks guv. It totally looks like that, doesn’t it!
Palo alto skate park

On my walk around the park (getting my steps in, guv), I saw this skate park, in which the valleys were filled with colourful graffiti. When I went back to sketch, after our fourth game, there were a group of men in their 20s and 30s with bikes having a day out, barbecuing stuff and taking turns going into the valleys and doing big spinning jumps. I also sketched a fire hydrant. After our team won the final, everyone got an ice cream. I got one too, a massive chocolatey nutty thing, and that was my dinner, diet be damned, guv.
Palo alto hydrant

Sketching Sudwerk

Let's Sketch Sudwerk p2
Last week I was invited to lead a sketching event at the Sudwerk Taproom in Davis. Now I used to go to Sudwerk in its previous incarnation, as a restaurant and beer garden, and I sketched it a few times. The restaurant is closed now, and the current owners operate a popular tap room  with am interesting rotation of beers, but still keeping the old Sudwerk classics like the Marzen, which I always liked. No longer sold in big litre glasses though, but my diet (see previous sketch) probably means I should lay off those anyway. We had a number of other sketchers there with us, it was a nice relaxing evening, I gave some tips on sketching places like this, and I drew a few of the things that I saw about there. It was a nice evening!
Let's Sketch Sudwerk p1