Don’t be fooled by the colourless demeanour of this image – it was very sunny, and warm, mid-70s. The rains have come in the couple of days since this sketch though. this blog is fast becoming a Davis weather report. Spoiler alert – there’s very little to report. The storms last night were fun though, but it was just a bit of rain, not like the deluges you’ve been getting back in England. The rain, of course, first item on the local news, with shots of reporters in their yellow raincoats offering such insights as “people struggled to stay dry” while showing locals strolling about calmly without umbrellas, unperturbed. (The news here does make me laugh; second item on the bill was a story about some hay that been stolen. Yes, stolen hay.) Anyway, to sketch this I sat in the shade of Rock Hall (the building from the previous post) to stay out of the warm sun and listened to a podcast about Merlin of all subjects. I haven’t sketched this scene from this angle in about seven years, amazingly. The big tower is the UC Davis Silo, which of course I have sketched many times. This was done in brown uniball signo pen in the Stillman & Birn alpha sketchbook.
Earlier this week I was eating lunch at the Silo, and being a busy day there was only one seat available, right opposite a young lad from Hong Kong who was sketching people. Good on you mate, that’s what I like to see! His name was Ka and he was really good. He did a couple of sketches of me (with my new scraggly stubble-beard) so I sketched him. Below is his sketch of me. I’m honoured!
This is the UC Davis Silo. Why am I telling you, you already know that of course. It’s where I occasionally eat lunch. It also reminds me a great deal of the Everton FC badge. I sketched it on the first page of the new Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook to see how it would hold up. Holds up pretty well, though being thinner paper I can’t go as mad with the watercolours as I usually do. I am having a break from the watercolour moleys, having filled 12 of them, and trying something else out. Nice for the pen, this paper is smoother. It was cheap too, at £4.50 from Cass Arts in London. There’s the rub – if I end up loving them I have to get them from London. It is a nice panoramic format though, slightly bigger dimensions than what I’m used to in a sketchbook, at A5 page size. I wasn’t able to get it all done in a lunchtime (what with eating and all) so I added the colour at home. Jury’s out on this book but it will be fun filling it up.
A quick ten-minute sketch from lunchtime at the Silo, UC Davis. Sometimes when you have little time its best to capture a scene as quickly as you can. Since its remodeling last year, the Silo has these nice comfy armchairs. I never use them myself as I like to eat at a table (I’m very messy otherwise), and prefer drawing from a table too if one exists, but for laptop users and book readers they are perfect and comfy. Sketched in red and black uniball signo um-151 pens.
One from another Monday lunchtime at the Silo. I just stayed indoors, eating a burrito and listening to the new Art Brut album on my iPod. I didn’t want to be outside sketching, the weather is warm but very windy, and my nose is like a pressure cooker. This time of year is pretty bad for allergies here in Davis. This wasn’t a particularly interesting lunchtime, so I will tell you about the weekend. On Saturday it was the 99th annual Picnic Day. I pretty much never sketch at Picnic Day, mostly because of the crowds, but also because I am here on campus every single day, and drawing Picnic Day, when that same campus is ridiculously crowded, just seems a bit odd to me. Plus I always get too hot and tired, wandering from place to place with my son. We did see some nice cure kittens though. I missed the parade in the morning, the best thing about Picnic Day (no, the late night parties are not the best thing, not that I would actually know). I was volunteering for a couple of hours at the Little League’s Snack Shack, which was a great change of scene. I had to sell snow-cones and other strange candies I have never heard of to tiny children (who mostly shared my dislike of grape flavoured sweets). It is funny how different the candies are here to what I had as a kid in Burnt Oak though. I recall in the newsagents on Watling Avenue, and in Toni-Bells too, there was what seemed like thousands of different “penny sweets” (which actually ranged from half a penny to a whopping ten pence). I would spend hours in there with my friends just trying to choose what to buy. This wasn’t you pick’n'mix neither, this was serious sweets business. This was all brought back to me when a kid of about six or seven presented me with a dollar and just said, how many different things can I get for one dollar? Quite a few as it turned out. Back in my day though, that sort of money would have kept you in candy for a month. And I’m not that old.
Yesterday we the sketchers of Davis met at the UC Davis Silo, my usual everyday sketching spot, for the latest ‘Let’s Draw Davis!’ sketchcrawl. There were about thirteen of us all in all, familiar faces and new sketchers also. I love meeting new fellow urban sketchers, but it is especially fun seeing people draw the same things that I sketch on my everyday lunchtimes, in new and different ways. I started by spending a long time drawing this wing of the Silo in brown pen. My son was there sketching with me in the morning; he’s a sketchcrawl veteran now. It was another warm day, so it was nice to sit in the shade. UC Davis is quiet this weekend, but this week thousands of students will return or start their new journeys in Davis, and the craziness begins. I can’t wait of course, being a busy and exciting period of work for me, but at the same time it’s nice to savour the quiet moments when I can.
There’s also a lot of last-minute construction work going on on campus too, it seems. This work machine was parked near the Silo and just begged to be sketched. I drew this in micron pen and coloured it in watercolour. I don’t know what ‘MF’ stands for but I can hazard a guess (it reminded me of “TFU” in the robot wars episode of Spaced).
My last one of the day was a fairly quick one of the back of Hart Hall, and I decided to make it a bit livelier by splattering paint all over the page for a bit of texture. After this we all met in the shade outside Shields Library and looked at each other’s sketchbooks, and talked about pens and paper and methods, which is always fun. The next one will be in October, on the date of the worldwide sketchcrawl; details to come at some point soon!
Sketching has been sporadic lately, but I have been doing a little. Above is a quick lunchtime sketch at the Silo, UC Davis, where I often eat my lunch. On this day I sketched; other days I just eat, read, listen to podcasts, or in the case of yesterday I spent my time writing hilarious captions against photos of hairy pretentious bands in a local free magazine. That was fun. But anyway, this got me thinking about how many times I’ve sketched at the Silo – a LOT, I’ve worked at UCD for six and a half years now, blimey. So here is a selection of sketches of the Silo area from over the years.
(Above Left: March 2008; Above Right: April 2008)
(Above Left: Feb 2007; Above Right: July 2009)
(Above Left: Feb 2010; Above Right: March 2012)
(Above Left: March 2008; Above Right: July 2009)
(Above: Feb 2012)
(Above Left: August 2007; Above Right: Jan 2008)
(Above Left: June 2011; Above Right: May 2011)
(Above Left: March 2009; Above Right: Sept 2007)
(Above Left: Sept 2011; Above Right: Oct 2011)
Thanks for sticking to the end! This isn’t even all of them, and doesn’t include all the South Silo, Bike Barn, Outdoor Adventures ones, the whole Silo Complex. This represents a helluva lot of Grill’d Stuff’d Burritos.
I must admit I am really happy it is raining in Davis. We need it, for sure, but i just like the feel of the rain. It feels comforting, feels like home. Oh, it can bugger off again soon enough for sure (I didn’t move to California to get rained on, I can do that in north London) but it’s nice while it’s here. I did a qucik rainy sketch from the window of the Silo at lunchtime yesterday.
Here is another familiar scene, but drawn in a different way, at lunchtime today. My recycling bin is always bursting at the seams at this time of year, so I like to recycle the nicer brown envelopes for some sketching. I used a different pen, a black Y&C Calligraphy pen from Japan (well, from the University Art store in Sacramento), which was really fun to draw with. I have drawn this same view, of the south Silo from the steps of Bainer Hall, every six months since mid-2007, once in Winter, once in Summer, once with leaves and once without. One way to capture the changing Davis seasons. Here are the others…