January 21, 2014


3rd street Davis panorama

Davis, CA: You know when you have those periods where you don't sketch much, you feel uninspired, the busy-ness of life just gets in the way and you can't seem to derive pleasure from that blank page and that bag of pens? I feel like I've had a bit of that the past few months (ok, as was pointed it out to me, I still draw all the time even when I think I'm not). And then you know when, despite being even busier with work and all the other things you have to do, you suddenly get kickstarted into life again in an unusually energetic way? I've had a bit of that lately. Just before New Year I cycled downtown on a crisp clear sunny day (we get a lot of those in Davis, this is the land that weather forgot) and sketched a two-page spread of some buildings on 3rd Street that I've meant to sketch for a while, buildings painted in a colourful and unusual way. Then a couple of days later I went down to C St, just around the corner on the same block, and sketched the view below, featuring a frat house built on the site of an even older building I had never sketched, and 'Panoramarathon' was born.

C St panorama dec31 2013 sm

I had a bunch of spreads left in this Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook I've been kinda putting up with, but I am determined to finish with a flurry, so each page must be full-on panorama. I like the word panoramarathon, and I invented it so there. It's always more fun when there are so many bare leafless trees to draw as well. I've generally been doing all the ink on site and finishing off the colour at home but I have been going pretty quickly, with gritted-teethed determination.

sophia's bar, davis

Oh, they don't have to be outside; I have at least one interior bar panorama already, the bar at Sophia's, on E St Davis. That was a fun evening, in a place I last sketched in 2012 (and they still remembered me, one bar staff member even had that older sketch on her phone! Or just Googled it, maybe). I really wanted to make sure I had the fishtank in this one.

olson and sproul, uc davis

Above is on the UC Davis campus, the big white blocks of Olson and Sproul Halls. I think Sproul (on the right) is the tallest building in Davis, not counting the water tower. I say I think, like after eight years I wouldn't know, but I don't see myself falling over any other big skyscrapers in this town.

E St Davis panorama

These two (above and below) form a pair, mirrored (look at the signs), as in fact they are on opposing sides of the same block, one on E St and the other on D St. Go through the alleys in the top picture and you will end up coming through the alleys in the bottom picture. Incidentally the bottom one was sketched over two sessions, a Sunday afternoon and a Monday lunchtime. The top one was a Saturday afternoon session, during which an odd person approached me and asked if I was 'pretending to be an artist' (to which I replied 'are you pretending to be funny?'). The next day the same bloke (I think it was the same bloke) spoke over my shoulder while I was in the newsagents buying a Snickers bar, he said something about Snickers being good sh*t and that he survived at the top of a mountain eating only Snickers. Odd fellow, but little did he know I was on a Panoramarathon, not a Panoramasnickers.

D St panorama: PANORAMARATHON continues!

Then there is 1st street, an old building with a Dutch Colonial roof and a Sorority house (Delta Delta Delta) which has, as you can make out, been "tee-peed". Someone has imaginatively redecorated parts of the house in toilet paper (a common prank in the States they just can't wipe out).

1st st panorama, davis CA

Back onto the UC Davis campus below, the rear end of Walker Hall.

panoramarathon: walker hall

Panoramarathon continues! There are more to come. Still a few pages left in this book and then I might collapse in a heap on the floor frothing at the mouth. I hope you are having a Happy 2014.


Les B said...

Nicely done sketches! You really get a lot done too.

My wife and I graduated from UC Davis in 1970. We go back for Picnic Days and to visit friends. You have a great town to sketch in.

Richard Sheppard said...

These drawings are truly amazing Pete! Love them!

Murray Dewhurst said...

Great sketches Pete, pleased you got over your block. I enjoy how you manage to highlight some of the cultural quirks of your adopted country too.

Suhita said...

Wow Pete, if there was ever a sketcher's block, you're back with a bang. These are fantastic.

Andreas Koeniger said...

Full of details, impressive!

Nina Johansson said...

Love these, Pete! It is so great to get a wider view on the scenes you sketch like this. I like that word too, panoramarathon. :)

Maike Bohlen said...

Applause! What a great row of sketches! All this done between New year and now? Go, Panoramarathon!

kumi matsukawa said...

Superb Panoramarathon! I'm always amazed by your keen eye of capturing those trees!
These depiction of nature (both trees themselves and intricate shadows on the ground and as well as on the houses) give the scene special characters of the town.

petescully said...

Thanks everyone! There are so many two-page panoramas on here right now (especially posts immediately below and above!!) that I'm inspired. Can't stop now, until I finish the book (two more spreads left) then I'll put my feet up.

Jeff Durand said...

Pete! Love your sketches as always. I know sketching isnt a race, and people work at different paces. Can you give us a bit of info on how long you spend with each spread? The image in particular that I like is the daily life type sketch from "Then there is 1st street, an old building with a Dutch ...." There is so much going on in that image, I cant imagine sketching that very quickly. Thanks for your inspiring work!

petescully said...

Thanks Jeff; all different paces for these, as some (like the bottom) was done in a lunchtime (except the colour). All the ink sketching's done there and then and as you can see from some of those ones with the trees it sometimes takes bloody ages. The one with the Dutch colonial house was a lunchtime and a half (had to extend it!) but I have sketched that before so the 'thinking time' was taken out. Most time sketching is often spent thinking. The one with the Pence Gallery, that was done over two days - the left side plus some of the right was done in almost two hours one Sunday, and then an hour over a Monday lunchtime for the other half. It's all about observation though, and the observing can take time - I really tried to draw every branch I could see. I did one last Sunday though, sat out there for over three hours scribbling away, and by the end I was driven barmy.

Rolf Schröter said...

love the depth and the good hard light in these

cactus petunia said...

Gorgeous! You've inspired me!

VHein said...

These are really wonderful, Pete! I especially love the clarity of the light in all.

rob carey said...

Glad for the kickstart! Wow. Heaps of details here.