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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Back onto the UC Davis campus below, the rear end of 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.
On the flag: Johannesburg sketcher Cathy Gatland sketching outside Kippies Jazz Club in Newtown.
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